Clay Aiken dragged his feet on his sophomore effort but took little time to deliver his third, On My Way Here. By the time this appeared in stores in May 2008, it had long been established that Clay had little to do with any styles or sound that could be pegged as "contemporary," carving out his own little world for his Claymates, but this didn't stop him from attempting a makeover on On My Way Here, moving him out of the freeze-dried karaoke of A Thousand Different Ways and into something that feels a little bit more modern, drafting in OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder to pen the title track and even dipping into some stiff, strange funk on "Everything I Don't Need." These two cuts are the exception to the rule, as the rest of On My Way Here sounds as if it could have competed with Jon Secada's singles for space on adult contemporary airwaves in 1991. This is an entirely welcome development for Clay, as he sounds at ease here in a way he never did on A Thousand Different Ways, where he was covering so many hits it seemed as if he was still suck on American Idol's big stage. That's surely not the case here: no songs are familiar, most feel tailored to Aiken's strengths, and he even bears a writing credit on the closing "Lover All Alone." All the songs are either about love or are inspirational in nature (which isn't the same thing as being Christian music, as this most assuredly is not, despite titles like "Grace of God") and everything is given a glossy veneer that reflects whatever the listeners brings to the record; if they're a Claymate, they'll find the songs inspiring; if not, this all will sound like well-crafted calculation. This time around, it's certainly easier for the non-fans to appreciate the craft in the record or the range in Aiken's voice for the very reason that this album feels crafted, not slapped together like the last, and that's a development that's easy to admire. Still, On My Way Here is totally, completely for the fans, for the Claymates who love unconditionally, and for those listeners, this is the opposite of A Thousand Different Ways as it rewards their devotion instead of taking advantage of it.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine