Clay Aikens new way with oldies
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - December 4, 2006 - 12:00am
Judging from the media coverage he continues to get and the controversy regarding his sexuality (Is he gay or not?), Clay Aiken is indeed one successful runner-up. Maybe this is because there are still many who believe that he and not Ruben Studdard, should have won the title in the second season of American Idol. Then maybe, it is simply because a lot of people do find his choir boy tenor appealing.

Aiken puts those vocals to very good use in his latest album entitled A Thousand Different Ways. His second release after his sensational debut with the Platinum selling Measure of a Man, it has 10 pop classics and four originals. I see it as a very brave effort because Aiken chose to cover old tunes that have not only been recorded several times before but which also boast of outstanding versions. This means that no artist in his right mind will usually put these songs together in an album with the belief that he or she can do better than Bad English or Bryan Adams or even Dolly Parton. Those are hard acts to follow but the intrepid Aiken did.

Aiken’s strong point is that his singing can be very expressive. He reminds me of Barry Manilow but with a better voice spiced with rock chops. And I believe that is the reason why the entirety of A Thousand Different Ways works very well. Most of the songs in the album are pop with a rock bent and what Aiken has done is get rid of the rough edges, fine-tune the songs and make them acceptable to the mainstream listeners.

Best of the lot are Right Here Waiting originally by Richard Marx, Every Time You Go Away by Paul Young and These Open Arms, a new song composed by Jon Bon Jovi. Other cuts are Lonely No More a new song that Aiken co-wrote, Without You by Nilsson, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word by Elton John, When I See You Smile by Bad English, A Thousand Days, a new original, Everything I Do (I Do It for You) by Bryan Adams, Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion, I Want to Know What Love is with Suzie McNeil by Foreigner, Here You Come Again by Dolly Parton, Everything I Have, another new song featuring William Joseph on the piano and Broken Wings by Mr. Mister.
Christmas gift suggestions
Some suggestions for the Christmas shopping cart: Speaking of Bon Jovi, you might want to check out the band’s Crossroad, the Best of Bon Jovi compilation for your Christmas list. If you are not sure about what new albums to give away as presents, then the "best of" collections are your best bets. Every cut is a hit everyone is sure to like and they cost less and occupy less space than having to get an artist’s every album for the diehard fan. Here are some of the best ones available:

by Bon Jovi includes Livin’ on a Prayer, Keep the Faith, Someday I’ll be Saturday Night, Always, Wanted Dead or Alive, Lay Your Hands on Me, You Give Love a Bad Name, Bed of Roses, Blaze of Glory, In these Arms, Bad Medicine, I’ll be There for You, In & Out of Love, Runaway and Never Say Goodbye.

I Am Going to Tell You a Secret
by Madonna. This is the Material Girl’s first hit compilation in several years. It contains The Beast Within, Vogue, Nobody Knows Me, American Life, Hollywood, Die Another Day, Lament, Like a Prayer, Mother and Father, Imagine, Susan MacLeod/Into the Groove, Music, Holiday and the rock version of I Love New York. Sure to gladden the Madonna fan is the bonus DVD which contains a docu that chronicles Madonna during her reinvention world tour, plus bonus features including never-before-seen footage and more.

Love Songs
by the Bee Gees. Because we will never hear this wonderful trio sing a new song together again, you might also want to get the CD for yourself. It has the most romantic Bee Gees songs from the early years like To Love Somebody, Words, First of May, Lonely Days, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart up to the later stuff, How Deep is Your Love, More Than a Woman, (Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away, Emotion, Too Much Heaven, Heartbreaker, Islands in the Stream, Juliet, Secret Love, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Closer Than Close, I Could Not Love You More and Wedding Day.

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