The Real Thing

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
The Real Thing Music Poster Image
American Idol sings light rock songs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Bo goes out of his way to be a good guy.


Just the tiniest bit of "take me home tonight" -- mostly about romantic longing and relationships.


Obvious American Idol TV tie-in.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this American Idol runner-up plays it very safe, even if he is "the real thing." There's nothing to worry about, content-wise.

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What's the story?

Bo (aka Harold Elwin Bice Jr.) emerged from season four of American Idol as a runner-up, but a runner-up with millions of fans pulling for him. His give-'em-all-you-got vocals and pensive good looks didn't hurt one bit, nor did the fact that this young man grew up in a family of professional musicians (his mom was in a group that performed at the Grand Ole Opry) and was a seasoned pro himself long before American Idol. It's because of Bo's musical credentials that THE REAL THING is a cut above most Idols' debut offerings. The sure-handed, consistent production values, hook-heavy power ballads, excellent (if not all that imaginative) musicianship, and emotion-packed vocals combine beautifully to deliver a slick and skillfully constructed album.

Is it any good?

Big-gun co-producers and co-song-writers help the hooks keep on coming, and Bo does them justice with one full-tilt performance after another. The songs are well written and solid, if a little on the saccharine side for fans who long to hear more rootsy Southern rock from Bo. He's got the dusky vocal power to put himself across without the studio sweetening evident here, and it would be interesting to hear him try some simpler, funkier instrumental arrangements. Lyrics don't have that much to say, but some hook lines are catchy, like "Tell me what we got, tell me it's a lot, tell me it's the real thing...that keeps me hanging on." It's clear that Bo is the real thing -- a pro with a debut album that does him proud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Bo's background as a professional musician and producer, and whether or not all his experience makes for a better CD.

Music details

  • Artist: Bo Bice
  • Release date: December 13, 2005
  • Label: RCA
  • Genre: Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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