In May 2008, America crowned their 8th winner of American Idol, Kris Allen. Allison Iraheta, on the other hand, was eliminated in a respectable fourth place, albeit deserving at least a spot in the final. The irony of the “rock princess” being eliminated in Rock Week was a little too much to bear, especially as Danny Gokey’s performance of Dream On by Aerosmith, appropriately nicknamed “Scream On”, was so poor, that he should have been eliminated on the spot right there and then. But, alas, it was never meant to be and fourth place was where Allison finished. Fast forward 7 months and Iraheta’s debut album is released, with 11 different producers for her 13 tracks, you would automatically assume that a 17-year-old wouldn’t be capable of making an album with any depth whatsoever.

Starting with a riff, into an “Oh yeah!” Friday I’ll Be Over U begins the album, also chosen as the lead single. Although I completely understand why this song was chosen as the first single, with its radio-friendly vibe and pop/rock-slash-dance-beat infusions and a sing-along chant of “Friday I’ll be over you”, it’s a different kind of Allison that we heard on Idol. I must admit when I first heard this song, I wasn’t overly impressed as it sounded like it could be just “another one of those songs”. The ones that don’t stand out at all. I did know, however, that I would grow to love it, as Allison’s voice can overshadow the genre of the song as a whole. Robot Love, being the second track in, gives you that rock sound that Iraheta brought on Idol, albeit having a pop feel to it. The song is perfect for a seventeen-year-old girl, singing about technology stealing her boyfriend. The verses, the bridge, the chorus, everything about this song is brilliant. The guitars moulding in so well with Allison’s “Ooh, give me my, give me my baby back” just showcase the whole reason why she reached the top 4 on American Idol. Now, for one of the stand-out tracks on the album, Just Like You. Immediately sounding like a hit for the radio to me. A slower tempo this time, bringing out the softness and the harsh tones in her voice with make for a perfect ballad. Next, Don’t Waste The Pretty, a decent song, but not one that stands out in your memory when looking back over the album. The second single, Scars, follows, bringing a tender ballad to the album, which is welcomed with open arms. This song is also one of the best on the album, no question about it. And although I’m not sure if it makes the perfect single choice, as something from a teenager needs an upbeat feel to it, the song really showcases her full range of capability. Pieces has the job of living up to the previous song, of course it doesn’t quite do that, as Scars is one of the best songs on the album. Having said that, this song is a solid addition to the album. Now when I first heard D Is For Dangerous, I wasn’t really sure of the song. By that, I mean I didn’t really remember it. It didn’t make an impression on me. But as you give the album a few more plays, the genius of the song is apparent. After all, she is seventeen. Listing various things about a relationship in alphabetical order actually really works during the song. Holiday, originally recorded by a woman called Dilana, who finished runner-up on an American reality show called Rock Star: Supernova. Allison’s rock roots come out in this song, raspy moments in her vocals, mixed with her upper range. Just perfect for this song. Still Breathing is next, and a track also well-suited for radio, in my opinion. Pop/Rock is what Allison does best, and this is exactly that. The chorus here is simple, but brilliant. One of Iraheta’s best vocals on the album, I think. Bringing the album down to a slow tempo again, Trouble Is has a wonderful piano ballad feel to its verses, before breaking out into a drum/guitar second half, producing a powerful ending to the song. Next, a song written by none-other than P!nk and Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, No One Else has all the potential to be a stand-out on the album. And even though I feel Allison’s vocals are amazing throughout,  the chorus’ second half doesn’t quite match the first – meaning the ‘Simply no one else’ part. Beat Me Up brings the album back up with a bang. With a backing riff that will definitely make you want to move, and repetitive lyrical verses, everything about this song just has a huge tick all over it. One of my favourites from the album. But last – and by no means least – You Don’t Know Me, the only song that was co-written by Iraheta. And it’s probably my favourite from the album. It belongs on the radio, it belongs on your iPod. It just belongs. This song is a real gem. A perfect way to finish the album. Its verses are kind of low-key, leading onto a soaring belter of a chorus. This kind of song is what Iraheta is best at. Stretching her vocals to the limit, but in a way that sounds effortless.

Regardless of its commercial success in America, or lack of it as the case may be, this is definitely an album Allison Iraheta should be proud of. Only finishing 4th on American Idol and still making it into the Billboard 200 albums at #35 is a real achievement. I’m interested to see what Allison will be doing for her second album, because I have no doubt there will be a second record. And I’m excited about what she’ll bring to the table. 9/10