James Durbin was a contestant on the tenth season of American Idol. With an inspiring story of overcoming childhood diagnoses of both Asperger and Tourette syndromes, Durbin finished in fourth place.
His debut album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, is a little less inspired, consisting entirely of standard rock fare. Nothing stands out on the first play, and the whole album seems like an attempt to market Durbin to the legions of teenage girls who voted for him on Idol.
It takes multiple listens to appreciate anything on the album. Durbin channels a little Axl Rose on "Love in Ruins," and it works to his benefit. "Deeper" rollicks along impressively and has a compelling chorus.
Among the duds is the aptly titled "Outcast," which reminds us that, yes, James Durbin is, in fact, an outcast. "May" is an unfortunately half-baked attempt at a ballad about a lost love, topped off with the obtuse refrain of "she was like the way she was."
Durbin is a great singer- his vocals are solid throughout the entire album- and yet Memories of a Beautiful Disaster leaves listeners wanting. Perhaps it's the mundane collection of songs, or maybe it's because this album is little more than a combination of things that have already been seen so many times from rock artists over the years.
Memories of a Beautiful Disaster isn't necessarily a bad album, but it blends together to create an entirely forgettable experience.