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Thousand Different Ways

A Thousand Different Ways

by Clay Aiken

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Clay Aiken may be sporting a fashionable shag haircut these days, but on his third studio album, he sticks with his now-familiar -- and endearing -- earnest and squeaky-clean sound. In keeping with his image as a romantic crooner, the American Idol runner-up is in full ballad mode -- 8 of the album's 14 songs are covers of seminal love songs from the past few


Clay Aiken may be sporting a fashionable shag haircut these days, but on his third studio album, he sticks with his now-familiar -- and endearing -- earnest and squeaky-clean sound. In keeping with his image as a romantic crooner, the American Idol runner-up is in full ballad mode -- 8 of the album's 14 songs are covers of seminal love songs from the past few decades. Aiken turns in an impassioned vocal on a lushly orchestrated version of the Bad English smash "When I See You Smile," gently rocks his way through Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting," and delivers an emotive interpretation of Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," spiced up with electric sitar nuances. Elsewhere, Aiken shows his vulnerability via a strings-soaked reading of Dolly Parton's country-pop nugget "Here You Come Again" and an ethereal rendition of the Mr. Mister hit "Broken Wings," featuring spoken-word vocals by poet Erin Taylor. Equally notable is a duet with vocalist Suzie McNeil on an uplifting reading of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," sans gospel choir. The album's newer material also impresses, from Aiken's collaboration with David Foster acolyte William Joseph on the beautiful, piano-driven "Everything I Have" to "These Open Arms," an epic Jon Bon Jovi/Desmond Child-penned cut that packs the punch of a Bon Jovi power ballad. This unlikely heartthrob continues to march to the beat of his own MOR drummer, making wholesome, tastefully presented pop that nostalgic moms can enjoy alongside their tween daughters.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The endlessly delayed A Thousand Different Ways, Clay Aiken's second proper album, was long-awaited, at least by the hoards of fans enthusiastically calling themselves Claymates, of which there are many. There were enough Claymates to make the American Idol season two runner-up one of the two biggest stars the show has produced to date -- the other, of course, being Kelly Clarkson -- propelling his debut album, Measure of a Man, to number one upon its 2003 release. Chart success means a lot, particularly for an American Idol, and it would seem that blockbuster success would embolden a pop star. That certainly was the case with Kelly Clarkson, who came on strong with her second album, forever banishing the specter of AmIdol as she swaggered through the irresistible "Since U Been Gone." Given Kelly's example, it would seem that Clay could have come out swinging with A Thousand Different Ways and do something interesting, but A Thousand Different Ways isn't risky: it's an album made directly for fans and makes Measure of a Man seem daring. This record has a couple of new made-to-order tunes for Clay, but for the most part it consists of songs you know by heart, equal parts popular standards and adult contemporary. Clay sings Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting," Badfinger's "Without You," Hall & Oates' "Every Time You Go Away," Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)," Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," and Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings." He does a really nice job with Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again" (the closest thing to a genuine surprise here), rivals Celine Dion on "Because You Loved Me," and naturally does a pretty good job with Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word." The cumulative effect of all these covers plus the new songs is like a season of American Idol in microcosm: it's uncannily like listening to outtakes from the show. And it's the first album from any American Idol contestant to sound exactly how they did on the show. Justin Guarini, George Huff, Josh Gracin, and even William Hung sound different on record than they did on the show -- but not Clay, one of the few genuine American Idol superstars. He sounds exactly how you remember him from TV, which means that A Thousand Different Ways will particularly satisfy the Claymates -- but the truth is, they probably would have stuck with him under any circumstances.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Clay Aiken   Primary Artist
Russ Irwin   Guitar,Keyboards
Tommy Barbarella   Keyboards
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
Gregg Bissonette   Drums
Michael Bland   Drums
Marshall P. Coid   Violin,Concert Master
Larry Corbett   Cello
John Fields   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Erik Friedlander   Cello
Dean Parks   Guitar
Shawn Pelton   Drums
Charlton Pettus   Bass,Guitar
Doug Petty   Hammond Organ
Carol Pool   Violin
Jason Scheff   Background Vocals
Phil Solem   Background Vocals
Nikki Hassman   Background Vocals
Dorothy Lawson   Cello
Owsley   Guitar
Yuri Vodovoz   Violin
Ken Chastain   Percussion
Jimi Englund   Percussion,Drums
Emanuel Kiriakou   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Esbjörn Öhrwall   Electric Guitar
Rob Shaw   Violin
Greg Suran   Guitar
Tom Leonard   Background Vocals
Stephen Lu   Piano,Conductor,Keyboards
Dorian Crozier   Drums
Per Magnusson   Keyboards
Adam Anders   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Andreas Carlsson   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Cornelius Dufallo   Violin
Ralph Farris   Viola
Mats Berntoft   Acoustic Guitar
Jonathan Dinklage   Violin
Sebastian Nylund   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
David Gold   Viola
Samuel Waermo   Percussion
Johannes Nyberg   Electric Sitar
Morgan Grace   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Emil Heiling   Background Vocals
Rebecca Walker   Background Vocals
William Joseph   Piano
Lara Lynne Hickes   Viola
Quiana Parler   Background Vocals
Michele Richards   Violin
Thomas Bundberg   Bass
Mairi Dorman Phaneuf   Cello
Peter Ijung   Piano
Brian Krinke   Violin
Frederik Larsson   Piano
Cliff Lin   Electric Guitar
Henrik Nordenback   Percussion,Drums
Owsley Suran   Guitar
Matthew Funes   Viola
Ryan Brown   Drums

Technical Credits

Jeremy Lubbock   String Arrangements
Russ Irwin   Programming,Producer,Engineer
David Foster   String Arrangements
Ed Ackerson   Engineer
Tommy Barbarella   String Arrangements
Jeff Bova   String Arrangements
Jules Chaiken   String Conductor
Tom Durack   Engineer
John Fields   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Marti Frederiksen   Producer,Engineer
Humberto Gatica   Producer
Ross Hogarth   Engineer
Henrik Janson   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Charlton Pettus   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Steven Miller   Engineer
Nikki Hassman   Vocal Producer
Dorothy Lawson   Principal
Suzie Katayama   String Conductor
David Krueger   Arranger,Programming,Producer
David Channing   Engineer
Emanuel Kiriakou   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Brent Paschke   Programming,Engineer
Stephen Lu   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Chris Brooke   Engineer
Brett Kilroe   Art Direction
Per Magnusson   Arranger,Producer
Adam Anders   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production,Vocal Producer
Andreas Carlsson   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Audio Production
Ralph Farris   Orchestra Leader
Alex Anders   Engineer
Vivian Ng   Art Direction
Bo Reimer   Drum Engineering
Supaflyas   Arranger
Samuel Waermo   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Rasmus Billie Bähncke   String Arrangements
Ian Schreier   Engineer
René Tromberg   drum programming
Jonas Groning   String Arrangements
Cliff Lin   drum programming
Brian Paderalsky   Engineer
Fredrik Andersson   Engineer
Jochem van der Saag   Programming,Engineer
Uli Janson   String Arrangements,String Conductor

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