One of the things i turn to when having nothing to do (or running out of dramas to watch, thanks to the fall out i had with Yong-pal) is digging up and/or listening to old music. By ‘old’ i mean those from 1990s to 2000s which i grew up humming to but haven’t heard of in ages… and amazingly still remember most of the lyrics when any of them gets played on radio or is blaring off a random store’s speakers. There was a time when i’d spent days rummaging through my somewhat forgotten music collections (which are mostly still in cassette forms) and downloading the digital versions of ’em. The one that came to mind recently is David Cook.
I haven’t been following talent-search competitions/reality shows in years now (or even watching much TV in general), the last one was The Voice Indonesia in 2013; there are too many to keep up with and they get stale easily, but back in 2008, i kept my eyes peeled every week for his turn on the 7th Season of American Idol. It was like at first watch/listen, either during Hollywood week or semi-finals. I liked Archie too but was rooting hard for Cookie that at one point i wished international viewers could cast a vote as well (which, duh!) in order for him to not get shockingly axed before entering the finale like Chris Daughtry two seasons prior. When vote-based system is used, it favors popularity above raw talent; winning isn’t everything either, but i still remember how stunned and bummed out i was when he was voted off that i was dying to see the contestant i liked best to finish first, for once. Furthermore, Cook was remarkably good week after week — i’m sure you might have heard his renditions of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean or Mariah Carey’s Always be my baby whether or not you’re watching the show.
So i merely planned to rewatch a few key performances that i like(d) but after some searches, i found HD cuts of his entire journey on the show i ended up rewatching everything from his audition all the way to his winning moment and was reminded once again why i fell in love with this guitar-strumming guy. First off, his voice of course. He has a tone that’s totally right up my alley, sexily husky with just enough gruff that’s still pleasant to the ear. Secondly, his music which hovers around softer rock, not too rough not too mellow, a style i was heavily drawn to at that time. His vocal range may not be that big, but he could deliver quite a range of genres: he could rock it all out or croon sentimental songs without losing his edge. Thirdly, his renditions. I might be familiar with only half of his song choices, i might not like every single song, but i enjoyed all of them (in terms of arrangement and execution), and that says a lot. So much so that the nonexistent studio versions of All i really need is you and The world i know, or even Hello, still leaves me wanting seven years later. Those 1.5~2min cut with noisy cheers are far from enough he should’ve recorded and released cover versions of everything he did there if you ask me — they’re GOLD.
Done with a throwback to the good times, i checked what he’s up to; i don’t think i’ve heard him releasing another album post 2011’s This Loud Morning or single post 2013’s Laying me low. Turns out his upcoming album Digital Vein will be up for grabs
this September 18 TODAY! Gosh, i gotta start ‘stalking’ artists i like on social media to keep myself posted — i’m so behind! I mean, several tracks — including new single Criminals — from the soon-to-release record have been uploaded on DavidCookVEVO since as far as 5 months ago and i claiming to be a fan knew nothing about that until a week ago. Yeah right…
It’s somewhat disheartening, however, to see the number of people following him on social media — only 24K subscribers on Youtube and 315K followers on Twitter, although there are over 840K likes on Facebook. Looking at the numbers only, he’s clearly underrated; his lack of exposure (and arguably popularity) leaves me as perplexed as Masterclass Lady. The article was written four years ago, but i guess some of the points may still be relevant today. I mean, he won the crown by 12 million votes! Where do all those people go? Well, interests wane; one’s music preference may shift over time; people move on; or a lot of ’em are casual fans who are in the dark about his latest works, like me.
Nevertheless, what matters most at the end of the day is the kind of music he produces, whether or not that appeals to me. ‘Cuz frankly, his previous two records fell short of what i had expected; the songs are all okay, i don’t dislike them yet ain’t head over heels with them either. Seemingly composed using the same pattern, most of them start out quietly then build up to powerful shouty choruses — not exactly something i’d put on repeat on a day-to-day basis. Melodically, many tracks also sound too similar to one another that none stands out above the bunch. In hindsight, i find myself liking his self titled album more than his sophomore, contrary to what i wrote here although my favorites remain the same.
That said, i’m agog to hear what he’ll put out on the new record especially after reading that he’s having a blast working on it since he gets to experiment and be as creative as possible, resulting in music that he’s proud of and excited about. Actually, as i’m finalizing this post, the album is already available for streaming at people.com. From what i’ve heard so far, they sound familiar, but more in-depth thoughts shall be discussed in another post, provided that i manage to churn something out of it 😉