by Katharine McPheeKatharine McPhee


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Once Katharine McPhee's AAA makeover of 2010 didn't catch, she turned her attention elsewhere -- television, to be specific. Of all the American Idol finalists, she was the only one savvy enough to realize much of her appeal rested upon the television aspect of her on-camera charm, so she turned to TV after Unbroken faded, first gaining traction on the gleefully trashy music-melodrama Smash, then establishing her dramatic bona fides in the 2014 thriller Scorpion. These two series were enough to sustain her stardom, perhaps even elevate it, and open the door for a pop comeback in the form of Hysteria, an album delivered half a decade after Unbroken. Much fizzier and fresher than its predecessor, even with the occasional ballads taken into consideration, Hysteria nevertheless never comes close to mirroring the exuberance of its title. Frivolity isn't McPhee's thing. Even when she's having fun, she's composed, which is why she fares better on Hysteria than she does on her post-Idol 2007 debut, a record that wanted to paint her as a carefree diva. Hysteria doesn't make the same mistake. Everybody involved in its production -- Isabella Summers, a key collaborator for Florence + the Machine, and Smith Carlson are the executive producers, collaborating with McPhee and finding space for Ryan Tedder and Drew Pearson, among others -- is aware Kat's powerhouse vocals aren't necessarily malleable, so her singing is channeled into tracks that either resemble a Florence without art, an Adele without soul, or a Leona Lewis with grit. This formula usually works best when tempos are sprightly -- the Luther Vandross-sampling "Lick My Lips" is a neo-disco delight, "Only One" also conjures a bit of yacht-soul flair, while melodramas like "Love Strikes" drag -- but even when Hysteria flirts with the middlebrow, there's a sense that McPhee and her team understand the middle of the road is where she belongs. She's not a trendsetter, she's not an innovator, she surfs the waves of the mainstream and on Hysteria, she does so with grace.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/18/2015
Label: Ent. One Music
UPC: 0099923949725
catalogNumber: 9497
Rank: 51153


  1. Hysteria
  2. Feather
  3. Burn
  4. Stranger Than Fiction
  5. Lick My Lips
  6. Break
  7. Appetite
  8. Love Strikes
  9. Round Your Little Finger
  10. Only One
  11. Damage Control
  12. Don't Need Love

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Katharine McPhee   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Luther Vandross   Composer
Marcus Miller   Composer
Kuk Harrell   Vocal Producer
John Levine   Composer
Sia Furler   Composer
Tim Fagan   Composer
Rob Wells   Composer,Producer
Andrew McMahon   Composer
Ryan Tedder   Composer
Katharine McPhee   Composer
Sam Sparro   Composer,Additional Production
Aaron Joseph   Composer,Producer
Isabella Summers   Composer,Producer
Stephen Wrabel   Composer
Drew Pearson   Composer
Andrew Kelley   Art Direction
Smith Carlson   Composer,Producer
Kelly Sheehan   Composer
Jon Castelli   Composer,Producer,Additional Production
Christopher Braide   Composer,Producer
Ali Tamposi   Composer
Chris Loco   Composer
Jon Bellion   Composer
Sophia Black   Composer
Slaptop   Producer
Luke Atlas   Composer,Producer
Lindsey Lee Taylor   Composer
Matthew Martson   Composer
Ginny Blackburn   Composer

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