Javier Colon - Come Through For You (2011)

Javier Colon
Javier Colon Come Through For You.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

Javier Colon could write a book about the life of a struggling singer/songwriter. He’s had a level of career highs and lows that few thirty-three year olds can claim.  He was the “next big thing” when he issued his Capitol Records debut album in 2003 under the artist name Javier.  His first single, “Crazy,” was an irresistible pop confection and the accompanying album was an enjoyable, highly produced escapade in the Brian McKnight vein.  Unfortunately, the follow-up album, Left of Center, was a major step backward, sounding like it was put together by a bunch of chart-watching producers with Colon simply there as a guest singer. Its lack of authenticity was palpable, and it both died a quick death and led to Colon’s dismissal by Capitol.

Javier Colon could write a book about the life of a struggling singer/songwriter. He’s had a level of career highs and lows that few thirty-three year olds can claim.  He was the “next big thing” when he issued his Capitol Records debut album in 2003 under the artist name Javier.  His first single, “Crazy,” was an irresistible pop confection and the accompanying album was an enjoyable, highly produced escapade in the Brian McKnight vein.  Unfortunately, the follow-up album, Left of Center, was a major step backward, sounding like it was put together by a bunch of chart-watching producers with Colon simply there as a guest singer. Its lack of authenticity was palpable, and it both died a quick death and led to Colon’s dismissal by Capitol.

In the five years since Left of Center, Colon rediscovered, or maybe discovered for the first time, his voice as an artist. He’s a talented, bright-voiced singer and a deceptively insightful lyricist, and he developed more comfort in the pop singer/songwriter mold than in the R&B loverman vein that Capitol appeared to want.  His self-released 2010 EP The Truth found Colon using his acoustic guitar as his principal instrument and his perceptive lyrical approach as the real draw. At a time when modern R&B was pushing sexed-up narcissism or sheer nonsense, Colon was focusing lyrically on the challenges of a young father and husband, fighting the daily fights of balancing his musical career with his role as a dad and mate.

Artists rarely get a second chance at the gold ring, but Colon’s shot arrived again with his victory on the debut season of television’s The Voice. It provided an impressive showcase for Colon’s great voice as well as a new talent network through television mentor Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) to create his “comeback” album, Come Through For You, on Universal Republic Records. Working with such notable producers as Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Tommy Sims and David Hodges (Evanescence), Colon has produced an album that satisfies radio’s desire for pre-made hits and his own desire to have his voice as a songwriter heard.

The lead single, “As Long As We Got Love,” (featuring Natasha Bedingfield) has Top 40 written all over it, and is as infectious as “Crazy” was nearly a decade ago. And there are a number of other glossy, well written, upbeat cuts, such as “Life Is Getting Better,” “Happy Singer” and “Raise Your Hand” that should appeal to young listeners without alienating those fans who have stood by Colon through his decade of commercial ups and downs.

But while the songs that the album’s producers brought with them are uniformly solid, Colon’s place as an artist is most obvious on his three acoustic rock compositions, all of which are tailor-made for his live shows. He continues the dialogue he started on The Truth with “Echo,” “OK, Here’s the Truth” and the title cut. Deep down, Colon is a storyteller, and nowhere is that more evident than on “OK, Here’s the Truth,” where the story of a dishonest spouse is told with poetic angst by her husband :

She’s good with the lies, so good that you wonder
If the rabbit-in-the-hat trick's for real.
She turns water into wine and I’d almost believe her
If her eyes just for once could keep still.

It is a mesmerizing song that takes a shocking lyrical twist at the end. It is also part of this trio of tracks that give a clear indication of where Colon is likely headed with his music going forward.

Javier Colon is both wiser and better attuned to his own impressive talents than he was when he first arrived a decade ago as a kid from Connecticut. And whether or not Come Through for You brings him high enough sales to warrant a sophomore Universal album, it is a welcome rebirth for an artist who deserved a second shot.  Colon has taken advantage of his chance and has created a uniformly enjoyable disc that should be the launching pad for a much longer, successful career on his own musical terms. Highly Recommended.

By Chris Rizik

 

Leave a comment!