Urban Contemporary, 2004
Tamyra Gray can sing on the first season of American Idol. The infamous “Tamyra effect” is now used to describe a situation where a talented contestant on that show is booted instead of a dud contestant. But after listening to The Dreamer, I wonder where that Tamyra disappeared to. Maybe in between the long period of those people sitting on her contract until they unceremoniously dump her, her far from spectacular success in acting, and her countless embarrassing performances on later American Idol seasons that turned her into a laughingstock, the real Tamyra Gray quit and they have to create a robot in her place.
In search of credibility (that or she has wised up and decides to hog songwriting credits to get the biggest royalty checks she can get her hands on), Ms Gray shares songwriting credits on twelve out of the thirteen tracks on her debut CD. Unfortunately, her writing ability is more appropriate for My Little Pony scripts than on songs because if I come across one more “rainbow”, I will puke all over the shiny CD case.
Musically, this CD is filled with safe excursions into pop, R&B, rock, and even disco at times, but there is nothing truly innovative here. Star is a pleasant R&B uptempo song that just drifts by over my head. Faces has Ms Gray rocking it out, but it’s an awkward attempt that doesn’t quite work. The songs here run gamut from pleasant to embarrassing, but nothing stands out as that knock-out track that will make this CD worth getting.
What this CD has in abundance is Ms Gray’s feel-good messages. There’s no cliché that she doesn’t like, it seems, because they are all here in The Dreamer. Predictably, she insists that we are all superstars if we are strong enough to overcome adversity. This CD is soaked with cleansing raindrops, courageous thunderstorms, trembling flowers of strength blooming after the said thunderstorms, journeys on rainbows, and blazing flames lighting up the pathway of one young woman’s journey from nobody to somebody.
Can Ms Gray sing? Yes, she can. But the songs in The Dreamer do nothing to bring out the best from her. Perhaps she is singing songs that she genuinely believes in, which somewhat worries me because she’s way beyond the age of describing hope and dreams in terms of butterflies and rainbows, but these songs are doing her no favors. The songs float by without capturing my attention, but when they do, it’s just for me to shake my head at the inanity-laden song words.