With dozens of chart-topping hits from American Idol alumni like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood , Idol’s latest champ Jordin Sparks has some serious shoes to fill. But Sparks’ highly anticipated and self-titled debut, which transitions nicely between R&B and teenybopper pop, reminds fans why she took the season six title in the first place.
The youngest Idol winner yet, 17-year-old Sparks has a voice beyond her years as exemplified on most of the album’s 13 tracks. Thankfully though, Sparks doesn’t make an attempt at being a grown-up diva like many of her contemporaries, opting for age-appropriate songs that ooze self-confidence and young love rather than sex appeal and promiscuity.
While few of the tracks have as much hit potential as the first single “Tattoo”, “No Air”, a soulful duet with fellow Jive records artist Chris Brown, boasts an undeniably catchy chorus, while pop ballads “Next To You” and “Permanent Monday” reveal the depth and versatility of Sparks’ natural vocal ability.
As the album winds down, however, the tracks become increasingly uninspiring and the lyrics excessively clichéd. The up-beat Britney-esqe “Young and In Love” tries way too hard with its’ synthesized and computerized vocals, and “God Loves Ugly” is an awkward attempt at an ego boost that would probably only appeal to the teenyboppers it speaks to directly.
Holistically though, Sparks’ first effort proves loud and clear that her Idol status is well deserved. If she’s anything like the divas she’s been compared to, it’s a guarantee that what’s next for Sparks will be a surefire success.