Ok, first of all, I haven't watched an episode of American Idol since its first season. This might be because I personally feel the show is everything that most quality music stands against... or it might just be that it sucks. But, there are obviously many who feel quite the opposite from me, since the show has continued to garner large audiences for four whole seasons.
Just recently I ran across the name of an up-and-coming New York City band that goes by the name Pray for the Soul of Betty. Through my curiosity of this unusual name, I searched out a couple tracks by them, and quickly learned that the band is fronted by a singer named Constantine Maroulis. If that name sounds familiar, it is because Constantine was recently a top 6 finalist on the fourth season of American Idol. A little surprised (and disheartened), I reconsidered whether I really wanted to listen to the band. However, upon reading that the band was established prior to Constantine's appearance on 'Idol' and already had a large underground following, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and checked out a couple tracks.
The first I wasn't all that impressed by, but the second track struck a definite chord with me. Titled "Suicide", the song takes a build-up approach and mixes modern alternative/hard rock with classic rock roots. It's a track that I could definitely see getting some commercial success - and now that Constantine has captured the attention of millions, I wouldn't rule anything out just yet. I may not have witnessed Constantine's praise-worthy performances on 'Idol', but I wouldn't say his vocal work with 'Betty' is anything particularly outstanding. His vocals provide an appropriate level of balance to the music, and the songwriting is strong enough that "Suicide" is quite painless. I admit to feeling a little guilty recommending music from an American Idol contestant, but the music is really quite disconnected from what you would come to expect from someone like Clay Aiken. Plus, I've listened to this track a half-dozen times in the last couple hours, so I figured it was worth writing about.
Pray for the Soul of Betty just released their self-titled album May 10. To check out more and hear audio clips(unfortunately not including "Suicide"), go to Pray for the Soul of Betty