James Durbin is one of my favorite contestants that ever came from American Idol (2002 – 2016 and 2018 – present) because of his story, he took risks when he performed on stage, and his love for heavy metal. He wasn’t just a heavy metal singer though, and this American Idol Season 10 Highlights: James Durbin EP proves it! I decided to do a review of this EP because I have an excuse to listen to it again over 10 years later (man, I’m getting old). It seems like it was yesterday, I was voting as many times as I could to keep Durbin in the competition and screaming, “THE POWER OF JAMES DURBIN!!!” while watching him perform on TV. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!
This EP contains full versions of four songs that Durbin performed on Idol, and one song he didn’t perform on the show. Up first is “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, which he performed during the top 6 round. First of all, the studio version sounds much more relaxed compared to the live version, probably because Durbin was able to do multiple takes in the studio. But, the song is so beautiful, I love the lyrics, and it was awesome hearing Durbin sing without the heavy metal craziness. We know he can hit those high notes, but I loved hearing him tone down his performance and show a more sensitive side to him.
Next up is “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney, which Durbin performed during the top 13 round. I remember watching the top 13 performance episode on TV when it first aired and was surprised when he said that McCartney was his personal idol (the theme for that week was songs from their personal idols). Since Durbin was a rock and metal guy, I thought he was going to say Rob Halford or someone more extreme.
But yeah, I prefer the live version over the studio version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” because the live version is short. I’m sure I liked the studio version more as a kid, but now that I finally read the lyrics to the song, I was disappointed to find out that the lyrics repeat themselves. It’s just the same verses and chorus over and over again. Durbin sounded great and I loved the arrangement as it’s very modern, but man, I’ll never look at “Maybe I’m Amazed” the same way again.
Then, we have “Uprising” written by Matt Bellamy from Muse, which Durbin performed during the top 7 round. First of all, his performance that round was epic! He had this black outfit that made him look like a boss and a drumline (like marching band drummers) backing him up for visual effects. What was cool about the studio version was that the drum intro was longer, so I liked that a lot. “Uprising” is an empowering rock song, it has a nice bass line, and I liked that Durbin showed off his lower register in the verses.
I got some of the lyrics wrong as a kid. I knew he was singing about a fat cat having a heart attack, but there was one line where I thought he was singing, “They will not pour sauce.” But instead, he was singing, “They will not force us!” Oops!
The second to the last track is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” written by George Harrison from the Beatles. I kind of like the live version better because it was more laid-back with the violins and it created a moody atmosphere. But, I liked the arrangement for the studio version too; it was interesting hearing the drums come in so early in the song. Durbin’s arrangement for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is modern rock, while Harrison’s version is very old-fashioned, almost sleepy too. I loved the bluesy guitar playing and bravo to Durbin for that high note at the end! Like his performance of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” he showed emotion and proved that he was a good singer.
The last track on the EP is “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” written by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. I remember being disappointed because the song was so short (like two and a half minutes). But now that I’m older, I’m fine with the length because some songs are meant to be short. I loved that Durbin lowered the key to fit his voice and I think his voice sounds awesome with an acoustic guitar. According to Wikipedia, Armstrong wrote “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” about a girlfriend who moved away, leaving their memories behind.
But anyways, I think this song suited Durbin. It was also featured on Glee: The Music, The Graduation Album (2012), so I also think of graduation every time I hear “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” I mean, with the lyrics, it makes sense: “It’s something unpredictable / But in the end, it’s right / I hope you had the time of your life.”
So I enjoyed 4.5 (“Maybe I’m Amazed” got a half point) out of the 5 songs, which is about 90 percent. With that in mind, I’ll give this American Idol Season 10 Highlights: James Durbin EP a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. I would’ve replaced “Maybe I’m Amazed” with “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” by Elton John, which Durbin performed during the second week of the top 11 round. It was more energetic and rocking compared to “Maybe I’m Amazed,” it’s one of my favorite performances of Durbin’s from the show, and it’s my favorite Elton John song. But the EP is good for what it is, I love it for the nostalgia, and Durbin’s voice is amazing!
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