From the Vault...


Clay Aiken
"Measure Of A Man"

© RCA Records

Year of Release: 2003

track listing
  • Invisible
  • I Will Carry You
  • The Way
  • When You Say
    You Love Me
  • No More Sad Songs
  • Run To Me
  • Shine
  • I Survived You
  • This Is The Night
  • Perfect Day
  • Measure Of A Man
  • Touch

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    Clay Aiken
    "Measure Of A Man"

    Clay Aiken -- Truly a man with a gifted voice. He was the runner-up on Season 2 of American Idol. I had missed the first season with Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. Many have said that Season 1 was the best season of all. Others (like myself) agree for Season 2, with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. Another great season was Season 4, with Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice. (After Season 4, it was really a hit or miss with the winners and runner-ups. Mostly misses.) American Idol has gone downhill on some seasons, especially with the most recent Season 11. I had watched Seasons 2 through 10, and I didn't watch any of Season 11. After hearing Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips (what a name), I sincerely see a downfall of Idol in the next year: Both Steven Tyle and Jennifer Lopez left the show. Randy Jackson quit, and has now rejoined as judge, with newest judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. Season 12 is ready to go, but will it be as popular? Highly unlikely.

    Getting back to Season 2: This was the season I really enjoyed. Every finalist were great singers. It's a shame the entire American Idol series is not on DVD. I understand there's alot of copyright involement for all the songs. But you would think for the songwriters would get a great royalty check, if all the seasons were available on DVD. (Of course, the same can be said for the original music used on the TV show WKRP In Cincinnati.)

    Season One winner Kelly Clarkson reached #1 with her first single. When both Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken released their first singles after Idol, it was expected that Ruben would reach #1, as Kelly did. This did not happen. In fact, Clay Aiken was the one who did the impossible, compared to Ruben Studdard: Not only was his first single a #1 song, his first album, Measure Of A Man also reached #1. True, Kelly Clarkson did the same with her first single and first album, reaching #1. Ruben did not reach #1 at all. (Other winners information: Season 3 winner Fantasia: first single reached #1, her debut album did not. Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood was obvious: her first single reached #1, and her debut album was a huge hit at #1 on the Country Album chart. Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks' first single reached #1, his album did not. Season 6 through Season 11 winners all did not reach #1 with the first singles. However, Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery did reach #1 with his first album on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Country album charts. Also to mention other finalists: Season 2 finalist Josh Gracin reached #1 on the Country singles chart. Season 5 finalist Chris Daughtry reached #1 on the album chart with his first two albums, but no #1 singles.

    As for the WSVNRadio Album Pick of the Week: The following Idol finalists have been selected: Ruben Studdard (I Need An Angel; 2000), Justin Guarini (Justin Guarini; 2009), and now, Clay Aiken -- Measure Of A Man; 2012.

    What was so inspriring about Season 2 of Idol, was the fact that both Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken did not fit the "rock star image." Ruben has an incredible soulful voice, being compared to the likes of a Luther Vandross. Clay Aiken, when first seen and heard, Randy Jackson's comment was said best: "Wow, it's Howdy Doody with a voice!" Indeed, truer words could never be spoken. When Clay sang, his voice just simply sounded like an angel.

    His first album starts out with a song that became his first hit single from Measure Of A Man, "Invisible." The next song is "I Will Carry You" -- At first it doesn't sound like Clay, until he hit the solid notes and choruses. "The Way" would become his second hit single from the album, as it reminds me of the sound of Savage Garden. A very good song. "When You Say You Love Me" is also another good song. "No More Sad Songs" definitely shows how great Clay Aiken can sing. You can hear lots of feeling in his voice on this one. Likewise, his angelic voice shines on "Run To Me."

    With a song title such as the next track, "Shine," Clay Aiken could definitely record an all-Christian album. Again, "Shine" (like other tunes) shines well. "I Survive You" once again showcases his truly great voice.

    The CD version I have of Measure Of A Man contains his #1 hit song, "This Is The Night." This song was considered a bonus track, where other releases of this album contained his version of the Neil Sedaka song, "Solitaire." This Sedaka tune was a favorite, as Clay performed this song during Season 2 of American Idol.

    "Perfect Day" has more of a Rock feel, compared to the "Soft Rock" sound of previous songs, and speaking of Soft Rock, this easily classifies the title track. The last song, "Touch" is a cool tune, with some cool guitar licks.

    Measure Of A Man is a great debut for Clay Aiken. His next album would be a Christmas album, Merry Christmas With Love. Before his third album, he announced that he was gay. His appearance on the finale of American Idol Season 5 was unique. As "Clay Aiken impersonator" Michael Sandecki was performing, the backstage opened, and the REAL Clay Aiken appeared. Clay definitely looked different than he normally did, especially with his hairstyle. It was obvious, the new look marked a new image for his life. Many thought this would break his career, but it actually didn't. Clay has since then released more albums, has been on Broadway, and has been touring. He became (another) runner-up to Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice Season 5 in 2012, losing to Arsenio Hall.

    As many musical artists who announce their sexual identities, they are no different. Like Liberace, Elton John, Johnny Mathis, Melissa Etheridge, (fill in a name here) -- Their music is what's important. Elton John still writes and performs great songs. And so does Clay Aiken. Aiken has done charity work as well. Not only for his charity work for the Celebrity Apprentice, but also his charitable work with AIDS Benefits Autism, and UNICEF. Like him or not, Clay Aiken is an entertainer. Clay Aiken is a singer. It's bad enough we see music artists try and sing, and in the end they really can't. (I'm curious on how Season 11 Idol winner Phillip Phillips does -- I was playing his song from the Season 11 CD, and I had to turn the song off while it was playing. It's amazing he honestly admitted that he is not a great singer.) If you want to be a winner of American Idol, it's best to prove that you CAN sing, and that you will be known as someone who CAN sing, as other people can say that. Clay Aiken can definitely sing, and is truly one of the many few of Idol contestants who would stand out as being an incredible singer. I'm sure if there was a show in which the winners and runner-ups of Idol were to battle it out, Clay would be up there in the Top 3.

    Clay Aiken's latest release is entitled Steadfast, the follow up to his 2009 release, Tried And True.

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