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posted: 2/19/2014 1:00 PM

Glover shows promise on post-'Idol' debut

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  • "Music Speaks" is the debut album from "American Idol" winner Candice Glover.

    "Music Speaks" is the debut album from "American Idol" winner Candice Glover.

By Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press

Candice Glover, "Music Speaks" (Interscope/19 Recordings)

Candice Glover originally planned to release her debut two months after she won "American Idol" last May. She postponed it -- twice.

Time is definitely on her side though: "Music Speaks" is one of the better "Idol" debuts.

Glover, to no one's surprise, is a vocal powerhouse on the 12-track set, which is full of pop ballads and R&B numbers that fit together nicely. Most post-"Idol" albums, and those from other TV talent contestants, lack personality and a sense of cohesiveness. But Glover paints an intriguing portrait of a woman lost in love, and all the emotional highs and lows that come with that condition.

She kicks off the album with the top-notch "Cried," co-written by one of her contemporary influences, Jazmine Sullivan. "Die Without You" echoes Brandy -- but with stronger vocals -- while "Same Kind of Man" and the powerful "Forever That Man" mirror Fantasia.

The 24-year-old hasn't found her voice entirely, and all of the songs aren't complete winners (like the Mike WiLL Made-It-produced "Passenger"), but Glover demonstrates promise as she shows she's more than a balladeer: She coos beautifully on "Kiss Me," which sounds like a future radio hit; she shines on the beat-driven, Southern hip-hop-flavored "Coulda Been Me," co-written by Ester Dean; and "In the Middle" surprisingly interpolates Shabba Ranks' "Ting-A-Ling" in a good way.

On the piano-tune "Damn," she nails the song when she sings of falling in love with another woman's lover in a calm tone.

Glover stole the show on "Idol" when she adapted her voice to a wide-range of songs, from Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" to the Cure's "Lovesong," which she includes on the new album. Her debut is similar -- it proves just how much potential she has.

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