Album Review

Allison Iraheta, 'Just Like You'

November 30, 2009

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Allison Iraheta Just Like You
19 Recordings/Jive
ESSENTIAL “Don’t Waste the Pretty’’

The boys got most of the attention on “American Idol’’ last season, but fourth-place finisher Allison Iraheta has the last laugh with the most consistent debut album thus far. Instead of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, the 17-year-old Los Angeleno and her phalanx of producers stick to what suits her raw and rocking pipes. The result is a fresh and sassy debut mixing catchy girl-power pop with rock flourishes, perfect for Top 40 radio. Tunes like the defiant strutter “Holiday,’’ the funky “D Is for Dangerous,’’ and the anthemic “No One Else’’ come on like a blend of Kelly Clarkson, Paramore, ’80s-era Heart, and Pink, who co-wrote that last track. “Don’t Waste the Pretty,’’ with an instantly singable chorus, is the kind of sweet girlfriend counsel most women can relate to. While the songs are uniformly tuneful, there are a couple of lyrical duds - including the musically arresting but cringe-inducing “Robot Love,’’ a rant against a boyfriend’s technology addiction. The only thing the album lacks is one polish-free, all-out rocker or acoustic number of the kind that Iraheta excelled at on “Idol.’’ But if radio gives the hits-in-waiting a shot, there’ll be plenty of time for that. (Out tomorrow) -- SARAH RODMAN