It’s unfortunate but true: I did watch two full seasons of American Idol, and that would be seasons 2 and 3. After that I lost interest when I realized how similar each season was. Sure, it’s funny to watch people make complete fools of themselves, but then it gets pointless. Out of those who have won and/or became runner-up’s, many have moved on to bigger and better. Jordin Sparks is someone who has the voice and the looks, and after a successful debut release, she has returned with Battlefield (Jive).
I want to get this out of the way. Some critics have called her an R&B songstress, and yet most of her music is pop with little to no R&B/soul qualities. Are people saying this because the press releases are saying this, or because she’s black, and black = R&B? Anyway, the songs that do have some R&B qualities, “Emergency (911)” and “Postcard”, are still neck-deep in pop that there’s no doubt she’s playing it safe. But one can arguably say “why does R&B have to be unsafe?” That’snot what I’m saying, but when you hear these songs, there’s nothing that stands out as being soulful, other than her voice, and she has a great one.
I just think her producers are trying to mold her or maybe a better way to describe it is they’re trying to keep her as an American Idol winner, someone who is accessible to the general public. But her people are also assuming the general public only wants to hear pop. What I do hear are formulas that have been successful by Nicole Scherzinger, Fergie, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Katy Perry, but Sparks is playing it extremely safe. I’m not talking lyrically, I would love to hear her take more risks in the music department. Get her to do some tight dance music, someone hook her up with someone from Jazzanova or something. I also think she needs to take more risks in the vocal department, but the lady is (as of this writing) only 19, she needs more time and experiences to develop more warmth and depth that is more than just emulation. The voice is great as is, but in a few years she will truly shine. The songs aren’t awful, but it sounds very pre-school compared to the collegiate sounds she could be recording without it being too risque (see Keke Palmer for references.) In “Walking On Snow” she sings about how she is so “unaffected”, but it’s almost as if she’s flaunting this, and by doing this isn’t she technically “affected”? She sings it without hesitation, as if she is complete unaware of the circumstances, something that Scherzinger mentioned in The Pussycat Dolls in “When I Grow Up” when she cautiously says “be careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it”. Maybe in the future, Sparks will have more direct input in what she sings.
In truth, a decent album but I await the album she’ll release once she turns 21.