Eight seasons into American Idol, most contestants tend to recall an earlier one. Danny Gokey is the 2009 model of Elliott Yamin, who finished third three years ago and has gone on to have a respectable recording career as an R&B-pop artist. On his new album, the likable Yamin largely eschews the old-school soul of 2007's self-titled debut for a more contemporary sound. Cuts like the title-track single and the Stargate-produced "Don't Be Afraid" find him smoothly moving in on Ne-Yo. But the songs—seven of which Yamin cowrote—are not quite in Ne-Yo's league, and the slow-to-midtempo grooves start to blend together after a while.
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