The First Album
From The Voice Winner Karise Eden
Channel Nine’s extremely successful reality show/singing competition The Voice was won by “the girl who swallowed Janis Joplin” Karise Eden. That was just a week before the album My Journey was released. So, as you can imagine, most of the tracks were already recorded. Over half of them are credited as ‘The Voice Performance’, another is the winners song and was billed as her first single, which she performed on the show immediately after winning. This version comes without the nervous giggle.
So there are only five “new” tracks here, all of which are covers of standards. Including a Janis Joplin cover, there really had to be one.
The producers have really stuck to their theme of My Journey, with the tracks appearing in the same sequence that Karise performed them on The Voice.
The album opens with James Brown’s It’s a Man’s World, which was Karise’s blind audition that made all four judges turn around in their chairs almost immediately and Keith Urban say “You’ve swallowed Janis Joplin”. There’s not much more that needs to be said really, it is still worth turning around for, even when she is not in the room.
Back to Black was Karise’s ‘Battle’ song with Paula Parore, but there is no sign of Paula on this version, so I am not sure how this is The Voice Performance. Maybe they just took Paula out in the mix.
Nothing’s Real but Love is a very pleasant song, but I find it a little weird when people cover songs in a TV singing show that were originally recorded by another singer from a TV singing show. This was originally released by Rebecca Ferguson who was runner up in the British version of The X Factor. They are both good versions of the song and Karise’s features some nice acoustic guitar.
Landslide is the most restrained track on the album, it sort of feels a bit like filler, but it is still a nice tune.
When I saw Hallelujah on the track listing, once again I thought ‘do we really need another cover of Hallelujah?’, which is exactly what I thought when I saw that she was going to sing it on The Voice. Then I played it. It is just a superb performance. Just Karise and her acoustic guitar and it is just wonderful.
Stay With Me Baby is another great performance of a soul classic. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that no other white woman since Janis Joplin has sung like this.
I Was Your Girl is the only Karise Eden original song on the album and it is quite a mature song for someone so young. It is written about her mother, who we know from the show, Karise has rarely lived with. But she did show up on the final of The Voice.
You Won’t Let Me is the ‘Winners Song’ and was written for her. Although it is a new song it sounds very familiar. According to the indicator on iTunes it is the most popular track, that’s probably partly due to the promotion and partly because it is very accessible.
I was surprised to see Hound Dog on the track listing, but this version owes little to the famous Elvis Presley rock & roll standard and probably more to Tony Joe White. It is very much a swamp rock adaptation and the band cuts loose here. Karise’s contribution is significant and she jams along with them.
The Dock of the Bay seems to be slower than the Otis Reading original and on an initial listen lacks much of its charm. Not my favourite track on the album, although Otis Reading’s version is a favourite song.
I was also surprised to see The Weight listed here; this version seems to owe more to the Aretha Franklin interpretation than The Band’s. Initially I was not taken with the track, but once Karise got into it I was suitably impressed.
I first heard Karise sing I’d Rather Go Blind on a clip that she made for YouTube and I said at the time if she ever does this on The Voice then the competition is over. This version is more polished and very well played and sung, but to me lacks a little from that first version that I heard. So I have included that clip here for you.
Somehow this clip seems to be reversed, unless Karise is even more talented than we knew and can play guitar both left and right handed.
The last track is the inevitable Janis Joplin cover. Karise, or the producers, chose Move Over. Although this is well sung and played, it lacks something of the earthy rawness of Janis’s original. So I am going to give you a little of the girl that Karise Eden swallowed.
There is no doubting the talent and vocal abilities of Karise Eden and they can all be heard here. But this album sounds a little like the greatest hits or covers album that an artist releases after they have been around a few years. That said, it is an album worth buying, because Karise is a rare talent and there are some great vocal performances here. But I would not describe it as a great album and I am pretty sure Karise will make one of those eventually.
Karise Eden – My Journey – Track Listing
1 It’s a Man’s World (The Voice Performance)
2 Back to Black (Explicit) (The Voice Performance)
3 Nothing’s Real But Love (The Voice Performance)
4 Landslide (The Voice Performance)
5 Hallelujah (The Voice Performance)
6 Stay With Me Baby (The Voice Performance)
7 I Was Your Girl (The Voice Performance)
8 You Won’t Let Me
9 Hound Dog
10 The Dock of the Bay
11 The Weight
12 I’d Rather Go Blind
13 Move Over
By Max Power