Date: Dec 05, 2002
Submitted By: Janet Valdez
Usually, when we think of a debut album we imagine an artist who is trying to find their place in the world; an album who might not tell us a lot about the artist, but rather be a commercial attempt to make itself a big hit. This, however, is not the case when we listen to Nick Carter's solo debut album entitled "Now or Never." A well known singer already, Nick Carter has earned his fame as being the youngest, teen heartthrob member of the ever famous vocal harmony group, the Backstreet Boys. Taking a break from his fellow group mates, Carter decided to explore his own artistic mind by compiling his thoughts and releasing his own album. There has never been a debut album that led us deep into the world of an artist such as this one.
The first track off the album is ever familiar "Help Me." This lightly mixed rock song with a hint of pop was the first single off this album. It beautifully opens the door into the world that is Nick Carter, one that is set far from the traditional Backstreet Boys' sound. This new Carter sound is continued with the next track entitle "My Confession." Co-written by Carter himself, he expresses a confusing relationship in which he confesses his true love and feelings What appears to be another simple, light rock/ pop combination is brilliantly sprinkled with well used vocal effects, overdubs, and reverbs. Carter continues to express his creativity with the following song entitle "I Stand For You." In this song, Carter writes rebellious lyrics accompanied by a strong guitar based rock music. Once again, Carter manages to enhance simple songs with effects that make each and every song seem different.
Just when you thought you had his style figured out, Carter throws us a musical curve ball. Beginning with a soft, simple piano, Carter writes and sings about the heartaches of love in "Do I Have To Cry For You." We begin to understand his influences, being that this song is reminiscent of the Bryan Adams and Journey sound Carter was brought up by. In this powerful ballad, we feel the emotional stress that occurs in a relationship, brilliantly portrayed in the hurtful tone we hear in his voice.
We then quickly segway from serious and sentimental to uplifting and fun with "Girls in the USA." In this reggae and rock mix with a hint of metal, the fun side of carter is explored. The heavy drum beat and edgy bass allows Carter to sing about "his girls" in a non demeaning way that is sure to get your foot taping and head banging.
Known for their work in previous Backstreet Boys' albums, Max Martin and Rami team up to write "I Got You." With the help of a steady dance beat, Carter sings about his gratitude for having a mutual relationship of love. These very touching lyrics can make anyone be thankful for the love their relationship gives.
Without even looking at the credits, any true fan would know that Carter had something to do with the composition of "Is It Saturday Yet?" This is by far the most fun song in the whole album. Filled with fun phrases such as "My Nintendo's on the floor," "I was raised by the television," and "Aaron Carter was my brother," assures us that Carter had a great part in the making of this song. This track has a lot going on, yet it is brilliantly produced so that it's not overdone. Reverd and overdubs are used to make it sound as if multiple people are singing, yet also to differentiate between verse, bridge, and chorus. By far, a truly brilliant track.
We then see a change of theme into the sensual part of this album. First we see Martin and Rami team up yet again, this time with Par Aldheim to bring us "Blow Your Mind." In this song we have Carter signing about the pros and cons of having a materialistic girlfriend. Accompanied with an 80s based techno like dance beat, we are sure to find ourselves wanting to dance. A nice use of dynamic contrast help us feel the confusion Carter must be feeling. The bass heavy "Miss America" is a sure shock to any Carter fan. With it's erotic and intoxicating lyrics, we hear a more sexual sound never before heard from Carter. The bridge line "Take it off, take it off. Let's get it on, get it on" can make any listen swoon to this tune. Carter adds to this effect by making us feel his lust for this woman with his sexy, breathy voice.
In keeping with the sensual theme, the Martin/Rami/Aldheim team join forces once more and bring us "I Just Wanna Take You Home." Contrary to "Miss America," Carter sings about his lustful intentions in a more uplifting, rock/pop song. Also unlike "Miss America," we don't quite know what his lustful intentions are. He makes this song vague by singing "I just wanna take you home, we can make a story of our own, please don't get me wrong, I just wanna," followed by a drum rift. This allows the listener to fill in the blank about what his intentions really are. Once again, another fun track further enhanced by well used vocal effects.
Much like in "Do I Have to Cry for you," we turn back to a more serious tone with "Heart Without a Home (I'll Be Yours)." This powerful and sentimental ballad talks about how Carter will be there for his hurtful loved one. Carter manages to once again portray his heartfelt feelings with his powerful voice. It seems as if though you can feel his commitment through each and every lyric, so much it can send chills up your spine.
Carter brilliantly ends his album with the simple and heartfelt "Who Needs the World." In this song we get intimate with Carter in that we hear the simplicity of his beautiful voice with a very simple musical track. Composed of simple guitar, light percussion, and minimal keyboard, we seen to close of on a personal note with Carter. We seen to believe the heartfelt lyrics of true love and devotion being sung to us.
Overall, Nick Carter proves to the listener he is a true musician. With fifty percent of the lyrics written by Cater himself, we start to see the growth that has matured him into a passionate, dedicated, and overall talented artist. The diversity of his debut album is sure to have something for everyone to enjoy. Carter may have had a hard time disconnecting himself from the "pop heartthrob" he grown to be known as. However, if he keep releasing albums like this, there is no doubt in my mind that one day Carter's true identity and talent with the rightly showcased. This was just a preview of what he is capable of achieving. There is still more left to explore in the Nick Carter world and the door is still open; it's a relief to know he is not done yet.