What Once Was (Album Review) – Lee Dewyze

After winning American Idol’s 9th season, Lee Dewyze struggled to find his sound in a music industry that creates a niche for artists and traps them in it. With his newest offering, What Once Was, Dewyze is going back to basics – literally. This album is a collection of recordings that he had finished prior to his participation in American Idol, between 2006 and 2010.

The album was independently recorded with WuLi records prior to Lee’s participation in American Idol and until recently, the songs were unheard of. But that is no longer the case.

What Once Was isn’t produced by a major label and as such, it is unpolished and organic and rough. This feel clearly translates to song. But it works to a certain extent, giving the album a somewhat refreshing feel.

On “Snaps,” the collection’s opening song, Lee bemuses “come with me and I’ll take away to a place where only flowers and the children play. You’re alone but it feels so right. You can bathe in the sun or dance in the moonlight….” Snaps is also the album’s most interesting and engaging song. The finger snaps in the background help to that effect of it being the catchiest song on this record.

On “Fallen,” Dewyze croons the heartfelt chorus before shaking it up with a rocking sound on “Princess Reprise.

When She Dances” features an exotic, latin feel as Dewyze sings about how infatuated he is by the girl in question.

Overall, What Once Was is a collection of songs that showcase Dewyze as a credible songwriter and performer. Fans of the American Idol will find something in the 9 songs EP for their taste. Overall, however, the EP feels like it’s lacking an extra punch, after a successful start with “Snaps.”

Perhaps that is why Lee had a hard time finding a record label prior to American Idol – the overall feel of the songs is amateurish at some points. However, the sound conveyed through the songs is promising. It will be interesting to see which sound Lee Dewyze adopts for his upcoming full feature album, after being released from his contract with RCA.

Either way, he is a talented young man and this EP sure proves that.

6.5/10

The full track-listing:

1 – Snaps

2 – Never There

3 – Maybe I Might

4 – Fallen

5 – Princess Reprise

6 – When She Dances

7 – Green With Me

8 – Worth Waiting

9 – Bridge Burns