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Phillip Phillips: The World From the Side of the Moon

The American Idol winner shows his strengths but also sacrifices his personality for some streamlined tunes.

Phillip Phillips
The World From the Side of the Moon

Eleven seasons in, the American Idol juggernaut showed signs of staleness. Hence the revamp in the judges' chair with the divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj signing up to give the old dog some life.

Despite the high-voltage judges, the show continues to rely on the talent entering the competitions. The season 11 winner Phillip Phillips was a standout with an effortless charm, and his debut, The World From the Side of the Moon, confirms the strengths and weakness of the Georgia singer-songwriter.

His southern roots are brought to the fore with the jaunty Hold On and the smooth Wanted is Love. Gone Gone Gone builds from Jason Mraz-type finger picking to an elegant power ballad.

The album flags when Phillips sacrifices that personality for something more streamlined. Tell Me A Story sounds uninspired, while Where We Came From is a pale Dave Matthews Band imitation. Phillips is most at home with, well, the hit single Home, where his ace guitar skills create Mumford and Sons-type comfort.

There are probably enough hits here to warrant another album for Phillips; perhaps it will be a fuller representation of his talent

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