Album Review: Chuck Wicks – Starting Now

Brady Vercher | January 22nd, 2008

Chuck Wicks - Starting Now Entirely forgettable. Those two words pretty much sum up the debut release, Starting Now, from Chuck Wicks. With the marketing push and the glitz of his first video, you know RCA has some cool cash riding on Wicks, but will it be enough to guarantee that the heavily pop/contemporary leaning album becomes a success?

The album kicks off with “All I Ever Wanted,” an uptempo cliche backed by music. “All I ever really wanted was you.” Really? After a brief pause, the song starts back up with a different title–”Good Time Comin’ On” sounds like an extension of the lead track. “I feel a good time comin’ on.” Seriously?

The lead single, “Stealing Cinderella,” is sitting at number thirteen on the charts, but it seems more and more like a gimmick meant to break a new artist, which worked due to it cornering the wedding market perfectly. The song isn’t bad and I actually gave it a positive review when it came out, but I ended the review pondering the status of Heartland and that question seems even more valid now than it did then.

The pared back production of “When You’re Single,” a couple songs later, creates the first interesting combination on the album, although the organ sounds out of place. While the arrangement is more pleasant than most of the previous tracks, there isn’t anything compelling about the lyric which is a self pity number about being single and longing for love. “Man of the House” closes the album with a new and different perspective of a ten year old boy becoming the man of the house while his father is off to war. The sentimentalism is almost overly gratuitous, but it may be the only other track on the album that has any success at radio.

Wicks’ sound comes across as a blend of Rascal Flatts and Ty Herndon, which isn’t entirely suprising considering Dann Huff co-produced the ablum (he’s produced albums for Rascal Flatts). Wicks is technically proficient, although nothing less should be expected from a major label, but unfortunately, whether you consider the vocal performance or songwriting, nothing stands out as especially compelling. It’s your average, generic fluff meant to capitalize on the successful pop formula of Rascal Flatts.

2 Stars

2 Pings

  1. [...] Chuck Wicks - Starting Now Wicks' sound comes across as a blend of Rascal Flatts and Ty Herndon, which isn't entirely suprising considering Dann Huff co-produced the ablum (he's produced albums for Rascal Flatts). Wicks is technically proficient, although nothing less should be expected from a major label, but unfortunately, whether you consider the vocal performance or songwriting, nothing stands out as especially compelling. It's your average, generic fluff meant to capitalize on the successful pop formula of Rascal Flatts. — Brady Vercher [...]
  2. [...] Chuck Wicks "All I Ever Wanted" Reviews What I love about this single is that it brings out the more entertaining part of Chuck and introduces him as a true stage presence in the ears of radio listeners. It a perfect summer time song that is a breath of fresh air to country radio today. - Country Central The album kicks off with “All I Ever Wanted,” an uptempo cliche backed by music. “All I ever really wanted was you.” Really? After a brief pause, the song starts back up with a different title–”Good Time Comin’ On” sounds like an extension of the lead track. “I feel a good time comin’ on.” Seriously? - The 9513 [...]
  1. Buzz Jackson
    January 22, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Go back and listen to “Man Of The House.” Great song.

  2. Chris N.
    January 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I’d like to heartily second every word of this review.

  3. SW
    January 23, 2008 at 5:52 am

    How can anyone disagree with this review? “When You’re Single” reminded me Catherine Britt’s “Upside of Being Down,” which I liked better.

  4. Pierce
    January 23, 2008 at 8:08 am

    I agree with everything said… however, I was not let down, because I really didn’t expect anything more.

    Remember that Chuck Wick’s was originally supposed to be the “star” of the Fox show, Nashville. He better hope that his career turns out better than that show.

  5. Krista
    January 24, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Are you kidding me!! This has been my favorite album in a long time. Definitely one of my top ten albums of ALL-TIME!!! Have you heard, The Easy Part, All I Ever Wanted, Starting Now… the list goes on. He is my favorite new artist of the past few years!! You guys totally got the review 100% WRONG!!

  6. Krista
    January 24, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    And by the way, Rascal Flatts are not POP! They are country. I hate when people say that!!! I “second” Buzz Jackson, however, you might want to listen to the entire album again!!!

  7. Cryssi
    January 24, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I definitely agree with Krista, in the next few years, he is going to become huge…definitely the next Keith or Dierks!!!

  8. katy
    January 24, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    You are off the mark here – next single which could be – “What if You Stay” – and you did not even mention – I predict will go higher on the charts than Cinderella.
    Saw him in concert with Brad last night. HE
    totally captured the crowd – yes – more women than men – but hey – we buy the albums = sales = more air time= more fans= big star!!! The line to meet him was at least 400 people -all buying his album while they waited. Lucky guy to get on tour with Brad and Rodney. By the way – Brad knows how to pick who he wants on tour!! I think he sees a future star.

  9. Madison
    January 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I had the opportunity to meet Chuck at a small venue in Nashville before Christmas, and let me say, wow. What a genuine, humble guy. And not to mention the fact that his vocals were impecable. Needless to say, I am already a huge fan. Chuck is going to be a big star, and “What if You Stay” & “Man of the House” will certainly get him there.

  10. Ruthann Upchurch
    January 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    you are probably a Garth Brooks, keith urban or big and rich fan they aren’t county get with the program

  11. katy
    February 1, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Wow – Chuck Wicks’ album came in 7th in sales for
    this weeks Billboard Countdown on the country charts and 24th in the top 200 albums of the week!!
    Please take a second look – I have been playing the cd a lot this week and there are more hits on that album! Track 6 is my favorite at the moment.

  12. Lucas
    February 2, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    The guy has talent (always my disclaimer, isn’t it?) with that being said…

    Quick somebody help me, it seems somebody has dropped a pop album in my country collection!

  13. Mike W.
    February 3, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    “Stealing Cinderella” was the totally wrong single to lead off with, at least for me. Being 21, when I heard that song on the radio, I turned it off and havent given Chuck a second look since. Look, I get Country Radio wants to appeal to 30 year old women, but that doesnt mean the way to launch a new artist is by making other groups of the genre, young, single people, turn off their radio because the song is SO obviously aimed at someone who isnt married or about to be married.

    Furthermore, could we PLEASE get some GRIT to Country lyrics these days. Jeez, I’m sorry, but Stealing Cinderella is SO soaked in sweetness, that just by listening to it, you increase your chance of diabetes by 90%. I’m not asking for much, just start putting out songs that people can RELATE to!! I just have a hard time seeing a lot of guys saying this, I know I cant see myself ever saying I am “cinderella”. And if I do, someone, take my man card away ;)

  14. Lucas
    February 3, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Amen Mike W, AMEN!

  15. Mark
    February 6, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    I wouldn’t have given him a chance if I hadn’t seen him in concert with Brad Paisley. He has an amazing voice that few in country can match. Based off of that I bought the album and I am very impressed. Yes it pop driven, no steal guitar or fiddle to be heard, but that is okay with me. Some artists try to squize them into a song just so they can say they use them. Even the worst song on the album is better than “Shift Work” by Kenny Chesney which is racing up the charts because of his name, and the use George doesn’t hurt either.

  16. Kelly
    February 28, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    OK… girls above, listen up… Rascal Flatts are NOT COUNTRY!!!! They are POP! Boy band POP to be exact. I don’t know who told you they are country but please please PLEASE don’t post something like that, it makes you sound unconversant and uninformed… OK now I get that you love him, but let’s call an “ace” an “ace” here. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck, right?

  17. Chris N.
    February 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    It could be a well-disguised goose.

  18. Brady Vercher
    February 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    That lays golden eggs…

  19. Hollerin' Ben
    February 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    well aren’t you guys a cute bunch.

  20. NPR
    March 9, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    To the above 3 comments: HA! That’s GREAT!!! He’s stinky-poo and just not that interesting…

  21. Heidi
    May 15, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Okay, a little late to the conversation here but I want to add my two bits. I just listened to this cd. I had low expectations…and even I was disappointed. “Entirely foregettable” is an excellent summation. The only song that even slightly caught my ear (aside from the over played “Stealing Cinderella”) was “She’s Going to Hurt Someone” but only because of the production. The lyrics aren’t that exciting.

    I don’t claim to be a very discerning Country Music listener. I don’t demand a lot from the artists I listen to but I expect more than this.

  22. Funk
    May 15, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I don’t claim to be a very discerning Country Music listener. I don’t demand a lot from the artists I listen to but I expect more than this.

    Gawd. That’s gotta hurt. Kinda like saying, “I don’t mind eating crap. In fact, I like crap. But this is some bad crap.”

  23. DA Jack
    July 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    It’s easy (and pretty accurate) to dismiss a major label debut such as this as “fluff.” It’s the way the old-guard record business works. You take someone of obvious talent and pair them with one or more of Nashville’s most successful songwriters (Rivers Rutherford in the case of “Stealing Cinderella”) and producers (i.e. Dan Huff), and push it to radio. All I can say is Chuck Wicks is a lot deeper as an artist and entertainer than his debut disc might imply. But hey, Tim McGraw was “shallow,” a “product” and “couldn’t sing” when he rolled out. He has proved to be a substantive talent…and a mega-star. As many of these posts mention, you won’t truly get the star power of Chuck Wicks until you see him live. And with crappier and crappier and fluffier records being forced upon us by the labels and American Idol, that’s really the ultimate test…can they deliver live. Chuck Wicks will write better and better songs and make better and better records…and his career may just eclipse that of McGraw or the lesser talents, Rascal Flatts. He is a multi-media star…watch.

  24. Peter
    September 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I like Chuck better when his name was Richie MacDonald

  25. jack
    December 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Pop. Not country but pop.

    It seems all his biggest supporters are women. Wonder why? Hmmm..are they all thirteen as well?

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