Friday, August 04, 2006

Clay Aiken's new CD

Clay Aiken's new look - crop and photoshop by Brandilyne. The thing I find most interesting about my - er - little obsession with Clay Aiken is that his taste in music is probably about as far as I could get from my own.

I was a punk the first time around, people!

I was rubbing soap in my hair and wearing old grandad shirts, jeans so tight you had to lie down to get into them and 3 belts (and a few safety pins) and pogoing around in the mosh pit to The Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and The Jam from 1977 onwards... I consider The Velvet Underground to be the greatest band ever, and Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker are amongst my favourite vocalists of all time.

And then there's Clay.

Entertainment Tonight - exclusive album photoshoot. I sometimes think Clay is so completely uncool he's come full circle and is cool again. Certainly I could potentially have lost every cool point I ever possessed by becoming a Clay fan - but I have discovered that I may actually have retained those points because I freely admit that I lurve Clay - and I don't care what anyone else thinks.

My love of Clay began with the VOX. It's a voice that knocks my socks off, and that can reduce me to tears with its total beauty and utter purity. Remember this is a girl who generally loves scratchy, strange, emotive voices like Tom, Lou, Janis, and Joe - none of which could be described - even by their mothers - as pure and beautiful.

I have tried on many occasions to analyse just what it is about his voice that does this to me - and what it is that I love so much - and it's very hard to put into words. I think that's because, in the end, what I feel in response to his voice is so visceral, so involuntary, and so primal - that it can't be expressed in words. It just is. If you get it, you get it, and if you don't, then you never will. And that's fine.

Entertainment Tonight - Clay's album photoshoot exclusive. I happen to think that a voice as good as Clay's comes along only once in a generation - but it doesn't bother me if you can't stand the guy, or if you think he is the cheesiest cheese that ever cheesed. In fact, I might sometimes agree with you (about the cheese levels). The fact is, being a fan of Clay Aiken makes me happy, and that's what matters to me.

So, today on Clay's Offical Fan Club there's a press release about Clay's new CD A Thousand Different Ways.

The trackisting looks like this:

Originally recorded by: Richard Marx
Written by: Richard Marx / Produced by: John Fields

Originally recorded by: John Waite
Written by: Diane Warren / Produced by: John Fields

Originally recorded by: Badfinger and then Harry Nilsson
Written by: William Collings, Thomas Evans, Michael Gibbins, Peter Ham, & J.C. Molland
Produced by: John Fields

LONELY NO MORE (new song)
Written by: Andreas Carlsson, Samuel Waermo, Mimmi Waermo & Clay Aiken
Produced by: Andreas Carlsson and Samuel Waermo

Originally recorded by: Elton John
Written by: Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Producer by: Per Magnusson & David Kreuger

Originally recorded by: Paul Young
Written by: Daryl Hall
Produced by: Adam Anders

Originally recorded by: Bryan Adams
Written by: Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen & Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Produced by: John Fields

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS - guest vocals by Suzie McNeil
Originally recorded by: Foreigner
Written by: Michael Jones
Produced by: Russ Irwin, Marti Frederiksen & Charlton Pettus

THESE OPEN ARMS (new song)
Written by: Jon Bon Jovi & Desmond Childs
Produced by: John Fields

Originally recorded by: Celine Dion
Written by: Diane Warren
Produced by: Eman

Originally recorded by: Dolly Parton
Written by: Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil

EVERYTHING I HAVE - featuring William Joseph on piano (new song)
Written by: Jeremy Bose
Arranged by: Jeremy Lubbock

A THOUSAND DAYS (new song)
Written by: Christian Leuzzi, Aldo Nova & Emanuel Olsson
Produced by: John Fields

Originally recorded by: Mr. Mister
Written by: Richard Page, John Lang & Steve George
Produced by: Eman

You'll notice that there are 10 covers and 4 new songs, and that Clay shares writing credits on one of the new songs, Lonely No More. Jon Bon Jovi also has co-writing credits on new song These Open Arms.

From the press release:

"This is an album of love songs," he [Clay] explains, "but they are about all different kinds of love. Romantic love, Friendship, Unconditional love. There are a thousand different kinds of love; a thousand different ways to tell someone you love them. And, on top of that, since so many of these songs are covers, it's realistic to say that many of them have been or could be sung a thousand different ways."

In fact, Aiken has put his own spin on some of the well-known songs he has recorded for his new album. "These are songs I heard growing up. I loved them then and I still love them today, but we decided to do them a little differently. They have new arrangements and we put our own style on some of them."

"Those who have come to expect Aiken to belt out a song won't be disappointed. The album shows off Aiken's vocals in a big way with songs like the Bad English hit When I See You Smile and Harry Nillsson's Without You. But Aiken will surprise fans by singing in a more relaxed style on some tracks than they have heard before, showing a different, sexier side."

Clay Aiken's new look - ET photoshoot exclusive. What's interesting to me is that there are some songs on this CD which I probably wouldn't be that into if anyone else but Clay were singing them - but which, by the pure power of his voice, he will make me fall in love with.

The ClayNation has discovered clips of three of the songs on Promosquad over the last couple of days - A Thousand Days, I Want To Know What Love Is and Without You.

So far I'm a bit meh on A Thousand Days, but I can definitely see the potential of I Want To Know What Love Is. I'm wildly impressed that this is a duet with Sweet Suzie McNeil from last years's Rock Star: INXS - she's FAB - the girl can rock! And she has a great voice, too. Hey! Suzie has a nose-ring. Suzie's singing a duet with Clay. I have a nose-ring. EEEEE! Clay and I have a! Ha!

ET - album cover shoot. The third song, Without You has simply kilt me dead. BEAUTIFUL. This is a true singer's song. You have to have a fantastic voice just to be able to attempt it, because there's such a huge range to cover - and yet Clay sings it so effortlessly. You know the glory note when it gets to "I can't liiiiiiiive" - oh my Lordy Lord. I was practically in a heap on the floor when he sang that bit. Just fantastic. I can't wait to hear Without You in its entirety - and I can't wait to hear the rest of the album either.

There are a couple of songs I wish were on there, but aren't - Back for More was an original song that was a huge hit on Clay's Jukebox Tour last year - as was Clay's rendition of I Can't Make You Love Me - which reduced every member of the audience to a weeping mess, and is probably my favourite ClaySong ever - but you can't have everything, and I do have those fantastic live preformances to look back on instead.

One day I hope Clay releases a live album, because he is utterly compelling live (and very very funny in between songs!) - but until then I have A Thousand Different Ways to look forward to - and hopefully to hear many times in concert. The album is released on 19 September. I can't wait! Yaaay!


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lakecat said...

Although I have never been cool I am a big fan of Clay's (trust me he is a lot cooler thatn I ever was). And I think that he is cool just by the fact that he doesn't care if you think he is cool. He just goes on doing what he does.

I have never been fond of the description cheese. To me it is all in the listener's mind. Cheese to one is caviar to another. So I really try to avoid classifying things with my subjectiveness.

I expect this cd to be immensely popular.

webweaver said...

I hear what you are saying lakecat - and, like you, I love it that Clay doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. It's a sign of maturity I think. And quiet self-confidence.

I disagree with you on the cheese comment though. Some people do think he's cheesy! And so do I sometimes! Isn't all music appreciation subjective by its very nature? You and I may not always like the same things - doesn't mean either of us is wrong - but it does mean we are being subjective in our likes and dislikes - and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

I'm sure you are right and that this CD will be immensely popular. I'm also sure that I'll skip some songs and listen to others on continuous loop - just like I do with many of my other CDs.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said, webweaver.
I also loved BFM and ICMYLM, the latter making me slide off my chair (literally)in Cary. I had my fingers crossed that it would be included,but alas!

As for Clay being cool or the music "elite's" cup of tea, it speaks volumes for him that he lets it roll off his back and doesn't care. He, by example, is teaching me to do the same - for him and myself!

Enjoyed your blog...hope to read more in the future.

Kathy Pitt said...

I love this CD and would love to know who is that amazing voice on Broken wings with him?? It is awesome!

webweaver said...

Hi Kathy,

I love the CD too - in fact I like it more and more, the longer I listen to it. It's truly gorgeous! Now about the poem on "Broken Wings"...

From an interview with Clay on the LiveDaily website:

For "Broken Wings," Aiken includes an original poem spoken by Erin Taylor. He said he did so because he wanted "to do something ethereal with one of the songs."

"'Broken Wings' lent itself to that type of production more than anything else. I was going to simply have a friend of mine read the lyrics to the song in the background. But she was in the studio with us while we were recording and came up with this amazing poem that really related the message of the song in a whole new way, so we decided to use it."

More info here: Clay Aiken Talks About "A Thousand Different Ways" and Clay Aiken reflects on 'A Thousand Different Ways'