20 Songs, 1 Hour 11 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Kris Allen’s self-titled debut doesn’t play with the flash and frenzy of your usual Idol victor. If anything, his first album resonates with the conservative comfort of a state fair’s blue ribbon winner. But herein lies a more endearing kind of charm that will work its way into your musical heart with repeated listens. Allen even had a hand in writing most of the songs here, save for the opening insta-hit “Live Like We’re Dying” which grooves on the cool of a deliberately stuttered beat before the catchy chorus clicks in perfectly like a golden metronome. His knack for crafting soaring feel-good choruses shines bright on the inspirational “Before We Come Undone” and especially on the sultrier “Can’t Stay Away,” which struts with an old-school Janet Jackson-flavored sass in the verses. The Peter Frampton co-penned “Written All Over My Face” is another hit-worthy gem with dance beats and singalong refrains, but it’s “Lifetime” that truly shows his prowess as a balladeer. Allen’s songs have the staying power.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Kris Allen’s self-titled debut doesn’t play with the flash and frenzy of your usual Idol victor. If anything, his first album resonates with the conservative comfort of a state fair’s blue ribbon winner. But herein lies a more endearing kind of charm that will work its way into your musical heart with repeated listens. Allen even had a hand in writing most of the songs here, save for the opening insta-hit “Live Like We’re Dying” which grooves on the cool of a deliberately stuttered beat before the catchy chorus clicks in perfectly like a golden metronome. His knack for crafting soaring feel-good choruses shines bright on the inspirational “Before We Come Undone” and especially on the sultrier “Can’t Stay Away,” which struts with an old-school Janet Jackson-flavored sass in the verses. The Peter Frampton co-penned “Written All Over My Face” is another hit-worthy gem with dance beats and singalong refrains, but it’s “Lifetime” that truly shows his prowess as a balladeer. Allen’s songs have the staying power.

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