Review - Chris Rene - I'm Right Here
While he may not have won the X Factor US (he ended up coming in third), the show made Chris Rene a name. Before the show he was a garbageman, and he was struggling to raise his son. He had fought drugs and alcohol, but he had gotten everything together and was focused on his music.
From the minute he started performing, it was clear that Rene had something very special to him. He mixed pop, R&B and hip-hop in an effortless and seamless way that was just made for the mainstream. Right after he was kicked off the show LA Reid snapped him up with a record deal, as well he should have.
‘I’m Right Here’ is a collection of such songs – a mix of genres, with pop taking the forefront. Inoffensive and easy-going, ‘I’m Right Here’ is not what you’d expect from the tattooed ex-druggie, but it is wonderful to hear from someone who has been through so much. The album (really an EP – it is only eight songs long) opens with “Chains”, which has Rene crying out about casting off the chains of his addiction and running forward into the light.
“Trouble” was released as the second single behind “Young Homie”, a song that Chris auditioned for X Factor with and wrote and produced himself. While ‘I’m Right Here’ has a who’s-who of producers and songwriters (including Claude Kelly, busbee, and JR Rotem), his own production is easily the best on the album. It will probably always be his standout song as well.
Sadly, ‘I’m Right Here’ won’t spawn any big singles, and it isn’t Chris’ big break. As much as I would love to see someone like him make it, I just don’t hear it. I enjoyed the EP very much, and if people give it a chance I believe they will as well, but not enough people will catch on. His sound is accessible, but past its prime. Perhaps if this album had been released a decade ago, Rene might have a different career on his hands.
I think there might be a way to make this work – if it is sent to all the right radio stations and he is marketed correctly. It’s going to be tough though; Rene isn’t right for top 40, but does he fit into the adult pop/contemporary world? Where do you put this? On your iPod is a good start.
Listen to: “Chains”, “Trouble”, “Young Homie”