Guy Sebastian – Like It Like That (Sony) – CD review –
Great soul music is still out there, you just gotta hunt for it. In this case, that means going halfway around the world. Don’t let his Australian Idol credentials fool you (he won the inaugural season in 2003), Guy Sebastian is the real deal. What sets him apart from his American Idol counterparts is that he not only can sing, he does it with real SOUL.
His last offering in his native land was the great “Memphis Album,” which featured Sebastian, backed by old soul guys like Steve Cropper. Now, with his first Stateside release, Like It Like That, he’s proven that he can actually write great soul songs on his own. “All To Myself” and “Attention” both have that classic Motown stompin’ feel that makes you move your feet, while “Bring Yourself” has conversational lyrics akin to Stevie Wonder’s best work. Sebastian had a hand in composing the entire album, and he doesn’t just re-write classic soul songs. He’s obviously immersed himself in the genre and can truly add to it. And, since the US Top 40-buying public wouldn’t know good soul music if it hit them over the head, there’s a handful of straight-ahead pop tunes as well.
“Like it Like That” and “Art of Love” (featuring Idol winner Jordin Sparks) both show that Sebastian can hang with what’s on the charts. “Never Hold You Down” is perhaps the best mix of both worlds; soulful with an incredibly catchy chorus. A far cry from cookie-cutter, Like it Like That shows that Guy Sebastian should be taken seriously. — Tony Peters