Unbroken (Katharine McPhee album)

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Studio album by Katharine McPhee
Released January 5, 2010 (2010-01-05)
Recorded 2008-2009
The Village
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre Pop
Length 47:15
Label Verve Forecast
Producer John Alagía
Katharine McPhee chronology
Katharine McPhee
Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You
Singles from Unbroken
  1. "Had It All"
    Released: August 25, 2009

Unbroken is the second studio album from American Idol season five runner-up Katharine McPhee. The album was released on January 5, 2010 by Verve Forecast Records, her first album on the label.[1] It debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200, selling 15,000 copies in its first week.[2] As of January 2011, the album has sold 45,000 copies in the US.[3]


After McPhee was dropped from RCA Records, she was signed to Verve Forecast Records, part of the Verve Music Group under Universal Music Group.[4] Verve Music Group president/CEO Bruce Resnikoff told Billboard, "The album she is working on will show many new sides to her talents as an interpreter and a songwriter, and show everyone just how special she is."

For her debut album, McPhee co-wrote three songs. She has had much more involvement in the writing process of this album, with writing credits on six of the songs.[5]

After months of recording, the album process was completed on August 21.[6] When asked to describe the album, McPhee has been quoted as saying that an "organic," "edgy," and more "adult" sound will be prominent on the album.[7][8]

Inspired by the new label and new album, McPhee traded in her long brunette hair for a short blonde do and made it part of the promotion for the album, with an exclusive "First Look" in People Magazine.[9]

Behind the scenes videos from recording at the Village have been posted on McPhee's MySpace.

The album was set for release on October 6, 2009 but in September, it got pushed back to January 5, 2010 due to scheduling conflicts (McPhee confirmed the new date and explanation in a video on her website).[10]


"Had It All" was released as the first and only radio single from the album. It was released on McPhee's MySpace page and to iTunes for purchase on August 25, 2009, and to AC and Hot AC radio on September 21. It peaked at number 22 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. The official music video premiered on the music video site Vevo on October 13, 2009. "Had It All" has sold 29,000 downloads to date in the United States.[11]

Promotional singles[edit]

  • "Say Goodbye": The song was released on September 15, 2009 on McPhee's Myspace page and for purchase on iTunes and was not released to radio. On October 4, 2010, the official music video for the song premiered on the music video website Vevo. "Say Goodbye" has sold 7,000 downloads in the United States.[12]
  • "Lifetime": The song was released on November 10, 2009 on McPhee's Myspace page and for purchase on iTunes and was not released to radio. "Lifetime" has sold 5,000 downloads in the United States.[11]
  • "How": The song was released on December 21, 2009 on McPhee's Myspace page and for purchase on iTunes and was not released to radio. "How" has sold 9,000 downloads in the United States.[11]
  • "Terrified" became known nationally when the song was used by finalist Didi Benami during the Hollywood round of the ninth season of American Idol on February 10, 2010 to much praise.[13] As a result of Benami's performance, downloads of McPhee's track increased by nearly 10,000 percent, from a couple hundred the week before to nearly 20,000.[14] On May 4, 2010, a new version of the song featuring actor Zachary Levi premiered on Entertainment Weekly's website and was made available for purchase on iTunes. On May 7, 2010, an accompanying music video for the new version premiered on the music video website Vevo. The album version of the song (featuring Jason Reeves) has sold 41,000 downloads in the United States.[15]

Appearance in media[edit]

  • "Lifetime" was used in an episode of the CBS series Ghost Whisperer, in the Season 5 episode "Dead Eye" that was broadcast April 9, 2010.
  • McPhee was shown singing part of "Lifetime" for an appearance on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser, in the 9th season episode broadcast January 19, 2010. She appeared in the show's Pound for Pound Challenge segment, where she talked about the importance of helping fight hunger in America and was shown meeting with children at a Boys and Girls Club and singing the song to them.
  • "Lifetime" was used in promos for the TLC special episode of their reality series 19 Kids and Counting titled "Josie Comes Home" that premiered on Mother's Day May 9, 2010[16]
  • "Lifetime" was used in the CW drama Hellcats, in the episode The Match Game that was broadcast October 27, 2010.
  • "Say Goodbye" was featured on the CBS drama CSI: NY, in the episode Prey that was broadcast April 8, 2009. McPhee guest-starred as a singer and stalker victim turned murderer and sang a partial version of the song during the episode.
  • "Say Goodbye" was used in the Christian-themed indie movie "I Am - The Movie", which premiered in churches in October 2010 and is set to be released on DVD November 2, 2010. It is also on the movie's soundtrack, which became available online October 26, 2010 and will be available in stores November 9, 2010.[17]
  • As stated above, "Terrified" was sung by Didi Benami on the 9th season of American Idol during the Hollywood Round. "Had It All" was also used in the background during one segment during the audition rounds.
  • "Had It All" was a bonus track on the Now That's What I Call Music, Vol 32 compilation CD that was released November 3, 2009.
  • "How" was used in a segment during the audition stages of season 10 of American Idol.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "It's Not Right" Lucie Silvas, Gary Go John Alagia 3:54
2. "Had It All" Kara DioGuardi, Mitch Allan, David Hodges Alagia 3:06
3. "Keep Drivin" Katharine McPhee, Chris Tompkins, Rachael Yamagata Alagia 3:57
4. "Last Letter" McPhee, Barry Dean, Luke Laird McPhee, Martin, Bishop, Daniel Lloyd 3:20
5. "Surrender" McPhee, Ingrid Michaelson, Marshall Altman Alagia 3:42
6. "Terrified" (featuring Jason Reeves) DioGuardi, Jason Reeves Alagia 3:56
7. "How" Silvas, busbee, Alex James Alagia 3:32
8. "Say Goodbye" Troy Verges, Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey, Hillary Lindsey Alagia 3:46
9. "Faultline" Silvas, Shridhar Solanki, Rachel Thibodeau Alagia 4:14
10. "Anybody's Heart" McPhee, Dean, Laird Alagia 3:21
11. "Lifetime" McPhee, Boots Ottestad Ottestad 3:11
12. "Unbroken" McPhee, Paula Cole Alagia 4:17
13. "Brand New Key" Melanie Safka Alagia 2:59
Total length: 48:17

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[19]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[20]
Billboard Magazine (favorable) [21]
The Boston Globe (favorable)[22]
Entertainment Weekly C+[23]
People 2.5/4 stars
Times Union (favorable)[24]
Philadelphia Inquirer 2.5/4 stars
Tampa Bay Times C[25]

Unbroken received generally mixed reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a score of 58, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[19]

  • Allmusic stated: "On Idol, McPhee always favored middle of the road over modern, and Unbroken returns her to that course, bringing her somewhere within the vicinity of Paula Cole (who co-writes the title track), Rachael Yamagata (who co-writes “Keep Drivin’”) and Mandy Moore’s stylized ‘70s throwback, flavored with the slightest traces of modern sounds, including a vague borrowing of Beyoncé phrasing."
  • Billboard stated: "McPhee sounds much more comfortable amid Alagia's rootsy singer/songwriter settings than she did surrounded by the shiny R&B beats of her self-titled debut."
  • Boston Globe said: "Unbroken is a conventional set, at times too much so, with a stripped-down musical backdrop of acoustic guitars and piano. McPhee has smartly reined in her vocal approach to find the nuances of the lyrics without trying to raise the roof."
  • Entertainment Weekly said: "The Idolrunner-up's pleasant-but-unremarkable vocals can't elevate this tepid collection."

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 27


  1. ^ "Verve press release announcing January release date, September 16, 2009". Reuters.com. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  2. ^ "Idol Chatter 01-13-2010 "Album Sales: Carrie Underwood plays on; Katharine McPhee debuts"". Content.usatoday.com. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  3. ^ "Idol Chatter 01-19-2011 (9th comment in comments section by IC staffer Brian Mansfield) "Plenty of room for new Idols on the sales chart"". Content.usatoday.com. 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Information Not Found". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  5. ^ "New Katharine McPhee Album On the Way...and She Is a Blonde". Top40.about.com. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  6. ^ "Twitter / Katharine McPhee : Great News! MY NEW ALBUM I". Twitter.com. 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived August 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Exclusive Video: Inside Katharine McPhee's 'Had It All' Video Shoot". PopEater.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  9. ^ "Exclusive First Look: Katharine McPhee Goes Blonde for Her New Album". Stylenews.peoplestylewatch.com. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  10. ^ "McPhee confirms release date change to January 2010". Kyte.tv. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  11. ^ a b c Yahoo Music Blogs, Paul Grein's Chart Watch: Week Ending Aug 8, 2010: Taylor Swift Returns; Comments section, Comment #24 (by Paul Grein)[dead link]
  12. ^ "Idol Chatter USAToday.com 09-23-2009 "Already Gone, Leave This Town Chart High for Idol Sales"". Content.usatoday.com. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  13. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2010-02-11). "Andrew Garcia, Crystal Bowersox Emerge As 'American Idol' Front-Runners In Hollywood". Mtv.com. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  14. ^ "Track sales: 'We Are the World' and the power of Didi Benami". Content.usatoday.com. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  15. ^ "Idol Chatter 03-03-2010 USAToday.com "Kris Allen's Let It Be debuts with 46k downloads"". Content.usatoday.com. 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  16. ^ "TLC promo 19 Kids and Counting: Josie Comes Home". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  17. ^ "Marantha! Music Releases "I Am Official Motion Picture Soundtrack"". Maranathamusic.com. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  18. ^ "iTunes - Music - Unbroken (Bonus Track Version) by Katharine McPhee". iTunes Store. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "Katharine McPhee: Unbroken (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  20. ^ Thomas, Stephen (2010-01-05). "Unbroken - Katharine McPhee : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  21. ^ Billboard CD Reviews: Susan Boyle, Adam Lambert, Kris Allen
  22. ^ "The Boston Globe review: Katharine McPhee 'Unbroken'". Boston.com. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  23. ^ "Entertainment Weekly review: Unbroken". Ew.com. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  24. ^ "Times Union Review - New CDs: Katharine McPhee, Unbroken". Timesunion.com. 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  25. ^ "Tampa Bay Times Album Review". Tampabay.com. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 

External links[edit]