Melanie Amaro has done many things in her mere 19 years on earth: she’s survived a neglectful childhood which sent her to the Caribbean to be raised by her grandmother, persevered over bullies who mocked her Virgin Islands accent when she moved back to the States.
Life spun even faster this past year with her appearance on the first season of the U.S. edition of Simon Cowell's X Factor competition. She got sent home during the Judge’s House round on The X Factor and after Cowell went back to fetch her, she eventually won the entire competition over Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik. Within days of her win, she also gave a smug, phony performance in a conference call with journalists. After all those struggles and triumphs, Melanie can add “released crappy, abomination of a classic song” to her resume.
The Otis Redding-penned song was sung by him and released in 1965, then switched up to being about female empowerment in 1967, the title was changed to “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and with Aretha Franklin’s vocals was turned into one of the most recognizable and fun to sing songs we’ve ever heard. Yes, I’m speaking for the group of us, now. With all the comparisons to the huge voices of Mariah and Whitney, I’m not at all surprised Melanie’s team lead her the way of an Aretha song; I even applaud that thinking. What I won’t and cannot applaud is the decision to make Melanie into someone who sings dance songs. Did we really need a techno version of “Respect”? Let me speak for the group again when I assure you we did not.
While the beats are solid, groove infectious and the overlays are lush – the overall result is Amaro doing her best Aretha Franklin impersonation while the producers spliced and over-produced the song and vocals to all hell. I get that it’s for her Super Bowl Pepsi commercial that was part of her winning The X Factor and that high energy is key but I don’t get how amateurish and silly the finished result is. it really sounds like a parody of a great song and it’s absolutely a shame. If this song had to be given the club mix treatment, I just wish they’d left well enough alone and done it to the Aretha version, but alas, they didn’t ask me.
No word on when Melanie’s debut album will be out except that we should expect it sometime in 2012, and not many details about style or direction of the album except that she’s working officially with the Epic label (under Sony) and LA Reid.
Have a listen for yourself here:
And for shits n’ giggles I’ve even included a sneak peak video clip of Elton John and Melanie shooting her Super Bowl Pepsi commercial: