Phillip Phillips: The World From The Side of the Moon

Posted November 23, 2012 by in



2.5/ 5


Genre: Folk, folk rock, Americana
Producer: Drew Pearson, Gregg Wattenberg
Label: Interscope, 19
Format: Cd, digital download
Time: 57:
Release Date: 19 November 2012
Spin This: Home, Gone Gone Gone, Can't Go Wrong


Mumford & Sons fans will something else to cheer on


PP's original compositions are hardly impressive

Side of the Moon is the kind of album PP is expected to pull off, but still needs tweaking

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Side of the Moon is the kind of album PP is expected to pull off, but still needs tweaking

Those eerie Dave Matthews comparisons have got to be a bit bothersome for Phillip Phillip’s PR folk. On one hand, it serves as a compliment to the Idol victor’s singer-songwriter regimen. On the other end, it creates the kind of qualms that come with these premature exaggerations – and to some degree, a burdensome limitation on creative risks. But for his debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon, PP has to settle with the Dave Matthews lapel pin, even if his new album sounds more like a Mumford & Sons trade-off.

The folksy hit single, “Home,” feels like the bread and butter to the disc, despite its high order of commercial licensing (American Idol, Summer Olympics, American Family Insurance). The Drew Pearson/Greg Holden track blends Fleet Foxes comfort with Coldplay chorals, easily becoming one of American Idol’s greatest coronation anthems. For the most part, Side of the Moon acts as an outsider of the Top 40 aesthetic – which is a bit of an anomaly in the Idol canon. Despite penning half of the album on his own, Phillips is in relatively good hands with Gregg Wattenberg (Train, Daughtry) on production and with other John Mayer-esque writers in place. “Gone Gone Gone” is a delightful singer-songwriter’s sing-a-long, while “Can’t Go Wrong” delivers a hearty banjo-driven chorus – both pieces sharing Pearson’s co-writing.

PP has proven with his time on the small screen that he’s a man who knows what kind of music best compliments him, but when he tries to assemble his own compositions, the album hits a few speedbumps. Aside from PP’s John Legend-ish vocal antics and the fluttery string enhancements, “Hold On,” “A Fool’s Dance” and “Tell Me a Story” feel like unfinished indie-folk experiments. “Where We Came From” brings a few musical improvements, while interweaving bluesy undertones and more intergalactic tapestry: “But don’t let it go, don’t give up the ghost/While staring at the moon and the sun/Just trying to remember where we came from.” So does “Drive Me,” which sounds like a quasi-Maroon 5 jam – the type of groove that’s hardly entertained and explored within PP’s songcraft. More of those affairs, more fine tuning from the indie rock gods and a little less of the safe rural ballads would’ve given PP the advantage he needed to rise above the threshold of Great Plains state fair merry making.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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