Music review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Unbroken Music Poster Image
OK for young Idol fans but lacks kid appeal.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Many of the songs discuss taking responsibility for life choices and trying to move on from them. "Why did I let it go away, when I had it all."

Positive Role Models & Representations

McPhee presents a female image that isn't too vulnerable or weak. "Acting like it's my fault, but you're the one to blame, makes me happy to use you a little."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's nothing objectionable on this album: no sex, violence, or bad language. However, the general angst and emotional drama might not appeal to kids and may be hard for them to understand. Plus, the overall slow pace will keep this release reserved for more mature listeners who aren't just looking for songs to dance to.

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What's the story?

Kat McPhee has come a long way from the days when she was named runner-up to Taylor Hicks in the fifth season of American Idol. But, the singer/model/TV personality hasn't been heard belting out songs much lately. That is, until her recent sophomore album UNBROKEN was released. It marks her debut with a new record label, a new bombshell blonde look, and a re-invented sound that is much less dance pop than her previous album. This time around, McPhee focuses on ballads and emotion-driven tunes, rather than rhythm-heavy club tracks.

Is it any good?

Listen to a few of the tracks off McPhee's new album, and it's easy to hear a vocal pattern appear that falls into a standard crescendo theme: McPhee's vocals start out subtle and brooding and then burst out with a shot of emotion that leads into a chorus. It's not a revolutionary concept, and neither is this album. Generalized sorrow and emotional confusion don't help the release stand out any, and it's only thanks to a few tracks that break free of this mold, like the Calypso-sounding "Brand New Key" and honky-tonk "Last Letter," that earn this album a listen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Katharine McPhee's changing image. Why does a female singer need to focus on presenting an alluring, eye-catching image? Why do you think McPhee appears as a glamorous blonde on her new album cover as opposed to the more everyday look she sported a few years back? What message does this send to girls about how to attract attention and popularity?

  • How does McPhee compare to other American Idol singers? Why do you think only some of the top finalists have gone on to successful music careers and others have faded away from the limelight?

  • Talk about different musical styles. Do you think an artist can easily change from one style to another and still retain credibility? Or, might such a change be a marketing strategy to attract new listeners?

Music details

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