Let’s be honest: artists tend to write and release more love songs when they’re in a relationship or married, and it looks like season 10 American Idol alum James Durbin has joined the ranks of rock star husbands who really really love their wives (or I guess he did in 2011). But when you go from a hard rock/punk-influenced gritty and raw debut like Memories of a Beautiful Disaster to a ridiculously over-the-top cutesy love song like the title track for his sophomore album, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed with “Celebrate”.
Good God, the music for “Celebrate” sounds exactly like something you would hear while you do karaoke (you know, that buzzy, really crappy instrumental version that makes it easier to get past copyright laws?). Or it can pass off as a weird, overly pop version of Queen‘s “Somebody to Love” mixed with their iconic sports anthem “We Are the Champions”. Its unoriginal electronic/robot-like feel really throws off the awesomeness of his obvious blues/rock voice that he sadly tones down A LOT in this track but works with the cookie-cut love song lyrics.
The lyrics of “Celebrate”, paired with its music, make it just another overly cheesy love song that will most likely be playing at wedding receptions everywhere. It begins its ‘I-love-love’ anthem with the lines “some say that love is just a matter of time/ you’ve gotta search high and low or you never could find” and from then it continues to feed the listeners gag-worthy lyrics like “I’m thankful every day for the love of my life” and “I wanna celebrate/celebrate my life with you.” Look, we get that you’re happy being married and all but you can still sing those edgy rock songs you were singing before.
“Celebrate” is a huge disappointment and I guess I should’ve seen the signs coming when he released the album’s previous single, “Parachute”. Durbin did a complete 180 on us and went from singing about heartbreak and less-than-ideal life experiences to singing about a love in the cheesiest, most cliche ways ever. It looks like he’s following in the footsteps of other AI rockers Daughtry and David Cook and going in a more pop direction, but at least the latter two still keep their rock elements in their vocals and lyrics. Sorry Durbin. Hope the rest of your album has more to offer because “Celebrate” definitely isn’t worth celebrating.