James Durbin, the 4th runner up on season 10 of American Idol, has put his best foot forward with his 80s rock inspired debut album. Durbin was known for bringing rock onto the American Idol stage during his season, separating him from the pop-artist contestants. Durbin has been diagnosed with both Aspberger’s Syndrome and Tourette’s Syndrome, but he doesn’t allow either of those to affect his music or live performances, as seen on American Idol. With Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, Durbin has made it clear what kind of music he loves the most and what music he wants to be known for.
The first track on the album, “Higher Than Heaven”, is about overcoming obstacles and finding love. I would love to hear this song performed live. I think that it’s a great track to open the album with because it’s the rock sound that we would expect from James Durbin, plus some. When I listen to this song, it makes me want to be rocking out at one of his concerts. This track is a great lead in to track number two, “All I Want”. “All I Want” has a similar rock sound and is about living the life you want and loving the person you want to love. It’s incredibly catchy and will get stuck in your head the first time you listen to it.
Track number three, “Love in Ruins” continues the songs-about-love trend that Durbin seems to have going on. This song is a little slower than the first two, but still stays true to Durbin’s style. This song seems to be about overcoming problems in a relationship. It’s about not letting small problems get to you and ruin the love between the couple. The next track, “Right Behind You”, begins acoustically and then gets into a harder rock sound as the song goes on. This is the song that I want to listen to over and over on this album. The lyrics “right behind you” refer to closing your eyes and falling backwards and having someone there to catch you. It’s about knowing someone so well and trusting them so much that you can rely on them completely.
“Love Me Bad”, the fifth track, is about missing a love that you used to have. It’s incredibly relatable and sentimental. I really like Durbin’s voice in the verses in this song, it sounds very refined and clean and he puts a lot of power into the chorus. When I hear this song, I want to be blasting it in my car, singing along. The sixth track, “Deeper”, has a great beat and you feel like you should clap along during the entire song. It’s definitely a more “hard rock” sounding song on the album.
“May”, track seven, is the ballad on the album. It’s about the first love and losing that love unexpectedly. The combination of the piano and Durbin’s voice is beautiful. I’m in love with this song, not only for the sound, but for the lyrics. I think it’s the most sentimental songs on the album, and you can tell that it truly means something to Durbin by the way he sings it.
The eighth track, “Screaming”, jumps back to a similar rock sound of the first two songs. This song is Durbin’s attack on bullying. He sings about “screaming for the losers” and that you shouldn’t give up when you get bullied, you should stand up for yourself and take your own life into your hands. “Screaming” is a great lead in to “Outcast”, which features Mick Mars. “Outcast” is about knowing that you’re unique and “one of a kind” when others think you’re weird or different. It’s about a light being at the end of the tunnel and there is always hope.
“Everything Burns”, track ten, is mostly acoustic. It sounds broken down and raw compared to some of the rock songs on the album, but it’s refreshing. It’s about a girl forgetting about all of the pain and hate, or “letting it burn down”. It’s about letting go. The last song, “Stand Up”, is a powerful rock song seems to be about performing live and seeing the fans in the audience sing the song back to him. I can definitely see and hear this song being performed live, and it’s a great song to end the album with. It seems to be Durbin’s way of saying that he’s ready to take on the world and wants everyone to hear his music and what he has to say.
Durbin has put a lot of effort into this album and it definitely paid off. Overall, I think that some of the songs sound a little too similar but that Durbin has made it clear what genre he wants to be a part of. Songs sounding similar is to be expected with a first album, and Durbin did a great job with putting a ballad and some acoustic sounding songs on the album to mix it up. I think that his American Idol fans will be very pleased and he will pick up many new fans as well.