RYAN MALCOLM Home (ViK/BMG) Rating: NN
The debut disc by the metrosexual Canadian Idol winner points out a mega-difference between our version of the insta-pop-star program and that of our pals down below the 49th parallel. While Ruben always knew he was a big ol' R&B/soul belter, and sissy Clay lives to sing show tunes, Ryan Malcolm is devoid of a musical personality. The tunes on Home are as watered-down, radio-friendly and lyrically vapid as you'd expect, but they're all over the musical map, jumping from whiny soul-lite to wannabe Loverboy 80s rawk to Simple Plan-worthy punk-pop. It's like marketers implanted demographic breakdowns in the brains of a bunch of monkeys with guitars and told them to appeal to as many as simianly possible. There's even a Neil Finn cover thrown in for good measure, which just accentuates how shabby the rest of the writing is. Sigh. I wish they'd decide to transform Malcolm into an emo kid, since he's already got the Weezer glasses and hair.