December 23, 2005 12:03 AM by Joe Blackmon
Bo Bice’s "The Real Thing" CD has now been out in stores for over a week and has been getting mixed reviews from critics. E! Online called the CD “real dull,” while the Philadelphia Inquirer says it “ranks right behind Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway as the best CD to date by an Idol alum.” My advice to hard core Bo Bice fans is don’t even think about buying the CD. Instead buy the Dual Disc. The Dual Disc is worth the extra money a thousand times over.
The CD has eleven songs, ten of which have a decidedly pop feel to them. The pop nature is a big part of why some critics, who were probably expecting Southern Rock Bo, aren’t thrilled with the album. However, Bo Bice has a very versatile singing style and is capable of pulling off songs in virtually any genre. If critics would look past that this CD might not be the Southern Rock they were expecting, then they will find a very good Pop/Rock album.
The title song “The Real Thing” is one of those songs that grows on you more each time you listen to it. It’s got a catchy tune that hangs in your memory. It will probably be the song that gets the most mainstream radio airplay.
Another catchy song is “You’re Everything,” and it’s actually my second favorite song from the CD. The lyrics are interesting and flow smoothly, and Bo really gets into the song. “You’re Everything” would make a great love song on a movie sound track. I could see John Cusack playing this song for some girl that has broken up with him. The song is strong enough that it would definitely succeed in winning the girl back for him.
“U Make Me Better” and “Nothing Without You” are the two weakest songs on the CD in my opinion. They aren’t bad songs, but they aren’t great songs either. Fortunately, things improve quickly with “My World.” “My World” has the potential to become a popular concert song. “Remember Me” is also a fairly good song, but it sounds like a lot of other songs out there, so it’s not one to remember. “Hold On To Me” is catchy and like the title track I found that it hangs in the memory.
“It’s My Life” also stood out as another one of my favorites from the CD. I mean this as a compliment, but the song reminds me of something that you might hear as a theme song for a network sitcom. By this I mean, the song tells a story, is inspirational, and can stand up to multiple listens without becoming irritating. Basically, every thing that you find in your traditional TV show theme song is in this song. The song also is probably a fairly good representation of Bo’s journey since becoming a household name on American Idol.
“Willing to Try” is a good song, but again it sounds similar to a lot of other stuff already out there. One reason that “Willing to Try” didn’t stick with me is that it had the misfortune of being the song preceding the hands down best song on the CD.
Yes, Bo saves his best for the last track. “Valley Of Angels,” which is written by Bo, is unlike any other song on the CD. This song really shows Bo’s versatility as it has a gospel flavor to it. In fact, RCA needs to make this song a single and send it to both gospel and country radio stations, where I’m betting it would get a ton of airplay.
The Dual Disc contains three bonus songs written by Bo Bice. All three songs are better than any of the songs on the CD (with the exception of “Valley of Angels” which is still my overall favorite). Of the three bonus songs, “Sinner Without A Sin” is by far the best. The song will probably become a signature concert song for Bo. It’s kind of reminiscent of a really good Jimmy Buffet song. “Whiskey, Women, & Time” has a Southern Rock/Country flair. If “Sinner Without A Sin” is like a really good Jimmy Buffet song, “Whiskey, Women, & Time” is like a really good Travis Tritt song. I can’t think of any other singer that “Cinnamon & Novocaine” reminds me of. It is just a fun and unique Bo Bice original. The video “A Day In The Life” is also exceptionally well done. It is an absolute must watch for Bo Bice fans, and another reason that the Dual Disc is the way to go.
Overall, I think Bo Bice delivered an excellent album for his first outing. The one complaint I have about the CD is that it needs more original Bo Bice songs. I know RCA is pouring a lot of money into promoting the CD so they probably felt they had to play it safe and bring in experienced, professional writers. However, the three original Bo Bice songs on the Dual Disc outshine most of the songs on the CD. Maybe, it was a good idea to play it safe on the debut album to ensure radio airplay, but I’m hoping on the next CD they turn Bo loose and let him sing all originals.
Fans can listen to a track of "The Real Thing" by clicking on the following Fanscape link http://www2.fanscape.com/bobice/audio/realthing_ram_hi.aspx