With the occasional lite-funk riff to support his bouncy piano melodies and with the overuse of his shrill falsetto, the self-titled debut from Daniel Powter sounds exactly the way Maroon 5 would sound were Adam Levine not scoring so much A-list ass. Buoyed by the success of the #1 single (and American Idol kiss-off tune) “Bad Day,” Daniel Powter looks to update ‘70s-era Elton John-style pop, ignoring the fact that Scissor Sisters already have that market cornered and relying on a production job from Mitchell Froom (the man behind AAA acts like Crowded House and Suzanne Vega) that never sounds less than calculated for mass consumption. Like Gavin DeGraw with a more conventional voice, a less smug Jason Mraz, or a Jack Johnson or James Blunt without a backstory, Powter never asserts himself as having much of an artistic persona beyond his admittedly catchy hooks (“Free Loop” should guarantee him at least a second radio hit), making him a reminder that “adult” pop can be every bit as vapid and formulaic as its teenage counterparts.
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