CD Review of Constantine by Constantine

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starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Sixth Place
Released: 2007
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If you’ve followed the American Idol franchise over the last few years, you know that plenty of contestants have broken out huge (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry). And then there are others who have somewhat flopped (Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks). But there are so many more that have taken their top-10 finalist status and, without the help of a major label, gone out and made a record that THEY want to make. Such is the case with Constantine Maroulis, a.k.a. Constantine, who has just released his debut album on Sixth Place Records.

Constantine was the dude you wanted to hate on the fourth season of the show. He was always playing to the cameras and acting just a bit full of himself, and at times it seemed like he really didn’t belong there because he flat out couldn’t sing as well as the other finalists. But here he is, two years later, with a release that is surprisingly well put-together – even, at times, downright electrifying. Dude has found his voice, and it’s much stronger than a certain reality show might have led you to believe.

Aside from the opening track, “Girl Like You,” which sounds almost Ricky Martin-ish, this album pretty much rocks from the second track on. “Several Thousand” has a bluesy pop feel with some really great hooks, and “Everybody Loves” as well as “Heaven Help the Lonely” are pure pop bliss. And oh yeah, it’s clear from the first few tracks that Constantine can really sing his ass off. He takes things to another level on rockers like “Child, You’re the Revolution” and “Right to My Head,” which both sound like Bon Jovi meets Aerosmith, complete with some really nice guitar work. And on “So Long,” Constantine stretches out his vocal cords on a really heartfelt acoustic number.

Before you go putting a label on Constantine, do yourself a favor and listen to the product. Dude enlisted some great songwriters on this debut and even co-wrote many of the tracks, and it’s easily going to exceed lots of expectations. Whether or not Constantine can keep it up over the long haul remains to be seen, but he’s earned the benefit of the doubt with a solid debut effort.

~Mike Farley