released Nov 17th
from the album - Live Like We're Dying
Although previous contestants played their own instruments on American Idol, few benefited so greatly from the experience as Kris Allen, whose classic singer/songwriter vibe earned him a first place finish in 2009. Pitted against powerhouse vocalist Adam Lambert at the show's conclusion, Allen wisely emphasized his wide-ranging abilities as a musician, playing piano during a soulful rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine" and strumming the guitar for an acoustic take on Kanye West's "Heartless." The instrumental accompaniment paid off, as Allen was crowned the show's victor on May 20, 2009.
Born in 1985 in Jacksonville, AK, Kristopher Neil Allen embraced music at an early age. He took up the viola during middle school, earning a spot in Arkansas' all-state orchestra before teaching himself to play guitar several years later. While studying business at the University of Central Arkansas, he delved into songwriting and recorded an EP, Brand New Shoes, with the help of two classmates. The EP's material showed traces of Jason Mraz's soulful, folk-influenced pop; moreover, it gave Allen enough confidence to audition for American Idol in 2008.
Hailed as the dark horse of the competition, Allen slowly amassed a TV following with performances of the Swell Season's "Falling Slowly," Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time," and Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money." Although he shared a room with Adam Lambert throughout the season, Allen proved to be the stylistic opposite of his contender, whose theatrical performances and octave-spanning vocals often contrasted with Allen's unassuming demeanor and laid-back, guitar-driven arrangements. Such differences contributed to Allen's first place victory, and the singer hit the road shortly thereafter on the annual American Idol tour. He also prepped his debut album for release in late 2009, working with songwriters and producers including Eg White, Chris Daughtry, and David Hodges. The album's first single, "Live Like We're Dying," was released in September and peaked at number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Kris Allen was released that November.
If you didn’t pay close attention to American Idol Season 8, you can be forgiven for thinking that Kris Allen came in second to Adam Lambert. After all, Lambert is the one who grabbed all the headlines and magazine covers, while Allen plugged along as the cute, safe alternative to the self-styled glamazon, which was enough for him to take the crown, if not enough to create much excitement. Then again, Kris Allen isn’t about excitement, he’s about comfort, something that’s plainly evident on his immaculate eponymous debut, an album every bit as unexpected as his name. Allen possess an easy touch, makign already pleasant surroundings a touch friendlier. Kris pens almost all of the 12 songs here (the exceptions being “Live Like We’re Dying,” “Written All Over My Face,” “The Truth” ), which unifies the album. Unhip it may be by design, but at least Kris Allen delivers the goods: it’s tuneful and likeable, melodic enough to merit a close listen
1 Live Like We're Dying Frampton, Kipner, O'Donoghue ... 3:32
2 Before We Come Undone Allen, Kurstin, Robbins 3:31
3 Can't Stay Away Allen, Elizondo, Robbins 3:21
4 The Truth Gad, Monahan 4:41
5 Written All Over My Face Frampton, Kipner, O'Donoghue ... 3:34
6 Bring It Back Allen, White 3:42
7 Red Guitar Allen 4:27
8 Is It Over Allen, Elizondo, Mills 3:34
9 Let It Rain Allen, Karlsson 3:29
10 Alright with Me Allen, King 3:08
11 Lifetime Allen, Elizondo, Foreman 3:38
12 I Need to Know Allen, Gad, Robbins 3:38
13 Heartless [*] Bhasker ... 3:42