Reality Rocks - Archive

Allison Iraheta: The Album-Preview Interview, Pt. 1

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

As the season 8 American Idols prepare to release their ultra-hyped debut records, much of the ensuing press focus is on Kris Allen and Adam Lambert--whose albums, issued only six days apart in November, will be the subject of a media-created AmIdol "rematch" of sorts. But don't be surprised if while everyone is still making a fuss over who sold more, Kris or Adam, 17-year-old fourth runner-up Allison Iraheta comes along with Just Like You on December 1 and steals some thunder from the big boys.

Just Like You is a righteously rockin' record, starting with its fun 'n' feisty opener, "Friday I'll Be Over U" (arguably the best debut single by an Idol ever, for realzzzz). And then there's the propulsive and very awesomely titled "Robot Love," with its fist-pumping sample from the Gary Glitter sports-stadium anthem "Rock & Rock Part 2"; the soaringly mid-period Kelly Clarkson-ish title track; the hot Pinkish "Scars" and "Don't Waste The Pretty" and the actual Pink co-write with Kara DioGuardi, "No One Else"; the deliciously dark, superheroically themed "D Is For Dangerous" (co-penned by an ex-member of Color Me Badd, no lie!); the glam-rock stomper "Holiday" (a cover of a song by Rock Star: Supernova runner-up Dilana, one of Allison's fave tunes, and one of my personal fave Just Like You tracks); the mature-beyond-her-years, five-hanky power ballad "Trouble Is"; another one of my favorites, the remix-ready Kevin Rudolf party-starter "Beat Me Up"; and even one track co-composed by young Allison with songwriting powerhouses like Mitch Allan and David Hodges, "You Don't Know Me."

And the subject matter on the album is surprisingly deep and dark for such a seemingly rosy-dispositioned, rosy-haired teen, dealing with romantic revenge (there's an Allison ex out there who must feel very, very stupid right now), emotional scars, boyfriends with appalling cellphone etiquette, and other real issues that will surely resonate with teens much more strongly than the cutesy cookie-cutter fare emanating from the Radio Disney camp. This is real music by a real teen, for real teens...but it's substantial enough for grown-ups to really dig into it, too.

Oh, shnappppsssss. Kradam's got some serious competition here.

In part 1 of my epic interview with Allison, she's as real as it gets, frankly discussing the track-by-track making of Just Like You (including a life-changing trip to record in Sweden and feast on "reindeer salad"), the inspiration behind her heart-on-leather-sleeve lyrics, and her up-and-down Idol journey that led up to all this.


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