Kris Allen Thank You Camellia on LP
On his 2012 album Thank You Camellia, Kris Allen delivered on everything his fans love him for and more. The album is a showcase for the easy, lived-in richness of Kris’ voice as well as his knack for crafting hook-filled pop melodies and writing heartfelt lyrics that explore the ups and downs of love. These talents were very much on display on Kris’ 2009 self-titled debut album, which featured the 1.7 million-selling hit single “Live Like We’re Dying” and was released a few months after the Arkansas native won the eighth season of American Idol. For Thank You Camellia, Kris has cranked everything up a notch by co-writing every song and being heavily involved throughout each stage of the writing, recording, and production process.
“There's a lot of heart in the album,” Kris says. “I spent a lot of time on these songs; my blood, sweat, and tears went into making them work. I feel like it is the best representation of who I am as an artist sonically, musically, and lyrically. It was a big deal for me to co-write every song. I wanted to let people know what I have to say. As a singer-songwriter, that’s important to the fans. I wanted them to know exactly what’s going on in my head and how I feel about the things I go through, whether they’re good or bad.”
With the subject of love as his starting point, Kris dug deep to traverse the emotional terrain of his relationships and emerged with a batch of songs that felt true to his experience. “Out Alive,” “My Weakness,” and “Better With You” celebrate the spirit of fighting for what is good, while “Teach Me How Love Goes” and “Leave You Alone” find him sorting through the wreckage when it’s not.
“Love is the one thing that I know and the one thing I don't know,” he says. “I know how to love. I know how to love my family, I know how to love my wife, I know how to love my fans. But I'm also still trying to learn how to do those things well. I’m still not where I want to be. So there are positive, uplifting songs like ‘Out Alive’ and ‘Better With You,’ and others that are about the struggles. ‘Teach Me How Love Goes’ is definitely about feeling that you don’t know what you’re doing and wanting a guidebook on how to make it work,’ while ‘Leave You Alone’ is about getting into a fight and saying, ‘I’ve done everything I can do. I know that I’m wrong, but I’m too stubborn to admit it.’ I think a lot of people can relate to that. I want people to hear the songs and think, ‘I’ve been through that. Kris is like me.’ Because I am.”
On the face of it, the album’s first single, “The Vision of Love,” sounded like a straightforward love song, but it’s actually an inspirational tune about helping others that Kris says is a powerful reflection of how he feels about giving back. “If we see someone going through something terrible, whether it’s a friend or a kid in another country with no food, do we do something? Are we going to do help our neighbor who can’t put food on the table? We can’t just sit around and do nothing,” says Kris.
Helping those sentiments go down easy is Thank You Camellia’s big pop-rock sound, which he achieved with the help of his producers, former Sugarcult singer Tim Pagnotta (who has also worked with Neon Trees); Curt Schneider (Augustana, Five for Fighting); and Nasri & Adam Messinger, known as The Messengers (Justin Bieber, Chris Brown). “I think we go to a lot of different places sonically,” Kris says. “’Out Alive’ sounds really huge to me, ‘My Weakness’ has a reggae feel. There are some airy guitars, some cool percussive sounds, and poppy background vocals that were really fun to do. It’s an upbeat record, but it also makes you think a little.”