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.