DeWyze triumphed as king of the dullards on what was roundly panned as "Idol's" dullest season. (Can't imagine Steven Tyler, set to debut as a judge on the 2011 season, ever giving this guy a pass.) On "Live It Up," he applies his perfectly pleasant singing voice -- a dead ringer for all that is occasionally good about Dave Matthews -- to a set of colorless tunes and remarkably hackneyed lyrics. Check the chorus of "Sweet Serendipity": "I'm always landing on my feet / in the knick of time / by the skin of my teeth." Or the title track: "One life to live / I'm gonna give it everything I've got." The Lee DeWyze Drinking Game, gulping a shot for every cliché, could induce alcohol poisoning by track five.
DeWyze, 24, used to sell paint in the 'burbs; for "Live It Up," he chose institutional beige. Of course, an "Idol" winner doesn't exactly make a lot of his or her own choices, and one could argue that DeWyze was programmed for blandness by the music machine's mass marketers. But this is DeWyze's third album -- "So I'm Told" (2007) and "Slumberland" (2010), his pre-"Idol" outings, are now more widely available -- and its lack of personality is not exactly a detour. These songs glide right by, imitating a half dozen other, better middle-of-the-road strummers (Jack Johnson on "It's Gotta Be Love," maybe fellow "Idol" winner David Cook on the one song with any teeth, "Me and My Jealousy"). It's superb background music -- just beware the conversation's lull.