If you had any doubt that Stanford MS&E major James Harak would be the next Kelly Clarkson, doubt no longer. Yesterday, after presenting my press pass at the front door of his residence at Xanadu, I was able to secure a spot in the shower stall next to his while the budding artist recorded his first EP, “Showajamz”. Admittedly, I was at first skeptical that a live, stripped-down performance recorded in his shower was a strong way to enter the world of music. However, after listening in, there is no question that on a scale of one to 10, this album is incredible.
The EP begins with a brilliant, brazen cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” People who are gaga for Gaga will not be disappointed, since Harak’s version has all of the glitzy gusto of the original. However, the sounds of water pattering on the shower walls around Harak really add a new element to the music that makes his version of the song into a truly unique entity.
Next is “The Sound of Soaping,” a Harak original. The lyrics of this track truly show his talent as a lyricist, delving into the deep themes of catharsis and redemption. “The Sound of Soaping” is followed by “The Shampoo Shuffle,” a jazzy number celebrating the joys of clean hair. Although from my vantage point I could not see Harak, sources tell me that the music video of “The Shampoo Shuffle” will involve a dance more popular than Soulja Boy’s “Crank That,” and from the way my feet were moving as he sang, I am certain that this will be true.
The fourth and final track is yet another cover–Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.” His energy while singing this one was so strong that the shower shook with his dancing. The enthusiasm with which he sang was the icing on the proverbial cake that convinced me that Harak’s fresh, clean sounds will certainly make the top of the charts.