Gary Beals The Rebirth Of...

As the runner-up on the debut season of Canadian Idol, Gary Beals should be yesterday's news, if not a mere musical footnote. His self-titled 2004 debut was nothing more than well-crafted pop soul — pleasant but not particularly memorable. While not a genuine revelation, The Rebirth Of… exhibits some impressive stylistic nuances and maturity that should establish Beals in the commercial R&B game. "I Know You're Out There" and dancehall banger "Jump Off" are balmy summertime confections sure to be blaring out of car windows near you. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for slow jams like "Still Be Yours," a cloying Chris Brown clone that reeks of smarminess, not sensitive vulnerability. As long as the beats are mid- to up-tempo, Beals' clean vocals captivate. This isn't exactly a "rebirth" but it does offer promise. If Beals can shake the slickness so synonymous with the Idol franchise, he just might be around for a while. (Liberated Entertainment)