#4 David Arculeta – David Archuleta

He is 17. (Well, he turns 18 tomorrow, but still, he is only 17.) He is a heart throb that belongs on the Disney Channel for his vocals and his boyish looks. And he has found his way into the top 5 on this year’s list with his first release straight off of American Idol and his much more worthy second place finish. I am sorry, but David Cook has a good voice, but just because he sounds like Daughtry and have a handicapped relative does not mean you need to win American Idol. I have some issues with that show anyway, but I will discuss that in a future article.

So American Idol is over and we sit back to wait for the first release of these two David’s. You figure that Archuleta will produce something fun, poppy, and a little childish with lacking strength behind his lyrics. And at the same time you assume that Cook will provide rock hard stamina and an album that you feel can last a few years to tour on. Well, that was not the case. When the first single was released, Cook held the title with Light On. It was good, made me want to sway my hands in the air and learn the lyrics. But it was not a club song. The lyrics are more made for country than rock and the pop attitude he brings to the market. Then came the first single on Archuleta’s album. Crush comes out, and sits there a week before I even hear about it. And then my friend Jenna says, “Hey, have you heard that new Archuleta song, Crush? It’s amazing.” So, I take her advice, and head straight to You Tube to listen to this single.

I not only fall immediately in love with his voice, but also his song writing. This single played over and over again until the album dropped in the first half of November. I could not get it out of my head. He was singing directly to me and I didn’t even realize it. The only hope that I had was that it was not going to be like every other artist that releases a good first single and be the best song on the album. And oh boy, was I surprised when I heard this album. That song might quite possibly be the worst song on the album. David has pushed me into a whirlwind spin of incredible music, songwriting, and vocals.

As with #5 on this list, this album speaks a lot to me through lyrics. It does, however, scare me that he is not writing his own lyrics. There is no way that a 17 year old kid has been through this much heartache and pain to write lyrics this intense and dramatic. If he has, however, I feel sorry for him. (I would like to mention here, also, that I am not sure if he even likes that form of a mate. There have been rumors flying since he first hit the scene he was homosexual. I have no idea if he is or not, but listen to an interview and tell me just from his voice he is not a little convincing. But anyway, that has nothing to do what so ever with his ability to make an incredible album.)

This album comes out in November and I get immediately excited to hear it. First because of the first single and the talk that has been made about him releasing a major first release, but also that I had heard nothing but Crush (similar to hearing nothing but Colbie Caillat’s song Bubbly when it first came out) on the radio malls. The album was being completely saturated. Which is fine, it just makes him seem larger than life. But would the album match?

I get the album and listen to it immediately. It was late, I was talking to some people online, and I did not pay as much of attention as I should have. But when I went to work the next day to share the album with Jenna I was upset. I slammed it on her desk and was upset, almost mad, about the quality of the album. I can not even promise that I listened to ever single song. So Jenna listens to it and later around lunch she comes to me and is about as upset as I was. She stated that it was lacking something and that every song sounded the same. I kindly agreed and went on with my day.

I actually let the album sit for about a week or so before I gave it what I call the “Andrew Zimmern Second Taste” listen. (Please tell me you know who Andrew Zimmern is?) Anyway, so I am sitting at home and I put it on with the intention of giving it every second of my attention from start to finish. The album starts with Crush, which I am already in love with but I listen and by this point sing along with. The album then takes me on a an absolute roller coaster of emotion. Highs, lows, and twists are all included. The only way when you listen to this album is hands free and with no further consideration as to what you should expect.

He has the ability to change his voice to fit the emotion of the song. This is a rare feature that a lot of artists have not been able to perfect. And besides the point that he might be going through puberty right now, I hope that he learns to perfect this for his future. He writes songs that make me feel for him. I want to just meet him and shake his hand and say, “I’m sorry for all your hurt and pain.” He is jaded and is still a teenager. Imagine what he will be able to write with some years on his back.

But the album has some songs that I can hear on the radio (and not just Disney Radio) and songs that I can hear being played at people’s weddings and graduation parties. And if you hear him talk you would never guess that he sounds like this with a microphone in his hand.

Every track is a story. This is very similar to the Curtis Peoples album. The lyrics, as great as they are, do lack maturity however. He does a lot of repetition in his slower songs and I am not sure if that is to simply grain those into your mind or is he has run out of stuff to write about in such few songs. But, a couple of the tracks to in fact hit what I would call epic status. The song To Be With You, an duet with Kara DioGuardi, a singer songwriter herself, puts you somewhere. It puts me laying in bed. Candles are lit. A breeze is blowing through the open window. And at the same time I am singing so is “she”. These words, his smoothness, the piano motion, and the pure emotion I hear in his voice make this by far the best track on the album. I have listened to this just as about as many times as Crush, maybe more, and I can just see him singing this to me on stage. I see the lights dimmed down, I see his eyes close, and his fist clinched. This song might be in the running for one of the songs written all year long.

All in all this album does a lot for me. It first grabs my attention at the ability for someone who didn’t win American Idol can blow out the guy that did. Just because they are both named David does not make them equally as talented. It also shows that no matter how old you are, or how little of experience you have in this crazy game of life, you can still write incredible lyrics and make me swoon for more. The last thing this album does is give me the ability to hit replay when it’s over. There are very few albums in my collection that I can say that about. But this album is really one that I feel that I have to listen to at least once a day.

You have done an incredible job with your first release Mr. Archuleta. I applaud you and I think that if you are reading this and have not heard this album you need to do yourself a favor and do so soon. You will not be disappointed.