The Deal: Former singer for 8084 releases solo debut Bittersweet.
The Good: Randy Smith's solo album is definitely a showcase of his vocals -- after all, it's his name on the CD. The album opens up with "Learning 2 Live," an upbeat rock tune with the Mint Hill resident's Steve-Perry like vocals at the front. It's easy to tell that his voice would sound good over a bit heavier rock groove. He hits the right tones many times on verses, but sometimes sounds a bit over-the-top on choruses. This was toned down on "Can't Stop" and "Cold Outside."
The Bad: He's got vocal strength though the tone can be an awkward fit with the music at times. On "Bleed," his voice is a perfect fit to start. Then he has moments of trying to show some vocal power and, over the acoustic pop tune, it sounds a bit out of place. If you've read previous reviews of mine or blog entries, you know I'm no fan of vibrato in vocals ... enough said.
The Verdict: Too often, it sounds like an '80s singer trying to modernize his sound without letting go of the sound he had in the past. Picture someone like Bret Michaels or Janie Lane trying to record a solo album that is modern, but doesn't lose the character of who they are. It doesn't sound dated, but it can sound a bit stuck between the past and future.