The Way I Am
Listening to Colton Ford's latest CD, "The Way I Am" (his third full-length album), there is no doubt the ex-porn star can sing. He displays his range and diverse musical stylings on this eclectic album, which is now available on iTunes.
Ford hits and holds some high notes starting with the opening track "First in Line (Shadow of the Night)." He closes his album by exposing his soulful side on "All My Love" and "Alone" (both co-written with his childhood friend Ron Schrader). These two jazz-y compositions that sound like adult contemporary R&B songs, and may even prompt listeners to close their eyes and fantasize about Ford. In between, the singer focuses on his strong suit - dance and electronica - tracks that will likely prompt folks to head to the dance floor.
The best tunes on The Way I Am are the ear candy ones. Listeners will feel the energy and enjoyment Ford projects in his upbeat songs. When he asks the musical question, "Can You Feel It," it is hard not to answer a resounding Yes! And "Realize," arguably the best song on the CD, is an infectious tune that features a catchy "yeah, yeah, yeah" in the background and an especially throbbing backbeat.
The single "Let Me Live Again" and the track "Look My Way" are terrific dance anthems that should get extended play at the next White Party. "Look My Way" in particular, features a driving drum and bass and layered lyrics. Ford's voice just soars when he sings, "Because there's nowhere to run/You'll be falling in love / With just one look / I can give you everything that you desire." It's irresistibly seductive.
Not surprisingly, several tracks seem engineered specifically for the dance floor. Ford invites listeners to groove along to "Get To You," (featuring Ultra Naté), "Change (You're Gonna Have To)" and "The Music Always Gets You Back." These songs show Ford has rhythm (as if there was any doubt), and he matches his phrasing to the syncopated beats to juice the words and give them an extra pulse.
What comes across most on "The Way I Am" is that Ford likes to play with his instrument - that is, his voice. He shifts his register in songs like "Let Me Live Again," and "Look My Way," among other tracks, but he may be best when he sings in deeper tones. Both "The Music Always Gets You Back," and "Alone" -
the album's longest song - benefit from Ford maintaining a consistent vocal range, even when the dance tune changes up its melody.
Curiously, two songs that switch things up are perhaps the weakest tracks on the album. The aforementioned ballad "All My Love" and his title track, "Just the Way I Am" suggest Ford is trying too hard, and struggling to find his groove. "All My Love" sounds cheesy when it bridges, and "Just the Way I Am" mixes a disco beat with something like an accordion? Both songs sound too busy and overproduced.
But these misfires fail to detract much from an otherwise worthwhile album. With The Way I Am Ford is putting himself out there in every track. His intent may be to show (or perhaps prove?) his musical chops and ability to mix musical genres. The diversity is welcome, and there is much to admire on this album. Ford manages his versatility well, even if his strategy suggests he is trying to please all his fans. As a result, this may have the unintended effect of listeners testing the whole album and purchasing just the tracks they desire.