Monday, November 17, 2008

David Cook - David Cook (Sony BMG)

We have to applaud anyone who shuns the supposedly golden touch of Simon Cowell. Whether it works (Will Young, Carrie Underwood) or results in all kinds of epic fail (Kelly Clarkson’s disastrous My December), the basic practice of rejecting the input of a man who cites If You’re Not The One as the decade’s greatest song is a positive thing.

So with the long-awaited launch of the self-titled debut from David Cook – arguably one of the most interesting and pertinent talent show winners we’ve ever seen – we can breathe another sigh of relief, in that there’s little compromise. It’s safe to say this compromise would’ve been a radio-ready homage to Maroon 5, all “sometimes it's like” this and “baby girl” that. What we actually get, however, is an adept, intelligent classic rock album fully equipped to showcase a rather sizeable talent.

A voice that effortlessly marries moody, atmospheric gravel with tingle-inducing beltage is only part of the package, with adroit guitar sorcery and an overall ambience of straight-down-the-line musicianship proving his worth even further. Melodies are immediate yet intricate, as displayed on the raw majesty of Bar-ba-sol, while the themes are refreshingly earnest, as the pragmatism of Heroes verifies.

Darker moments showcased in many of Cook’s captivating and inventive cover versions throughout the live stages of Idol are, significantly, also present. It’s evident that Cook is keen to showcase the many other shades to his voice and his style, as such moments certainly don’t overwhelm the album, but the alluring melancholy of Permanent certainly proves when he’s at his best.

Not that you could begrudge Cook for steering more towards a largely more optimistic substance – after all, he’s a symbol that, on occasion, America CAN make the right choice and use their vote wisely. Granted, a certain President Elect may be a better advertisement for such a claim, but there’s stark evidence of a proud victory on David Cook.

Declaration and Time Of My Life play host to big, uplifting, inspirational truism that you could only ever expect from an American Idol winner. Perhaps us little people, who’ve never known the feeling of having Ryan Seacrest utter our names at the final moment (oo-er), are always going to be divorced from such a feeling. Mercifully, such all-American gushing is few and far between here, though frankly, Cook could sing a Chinese takeaway menu and still guarantee disarmingly brilliant results.

In summary, we’re left with an album that’s timeless, sturdy and multifaceted, yet still fundamentally David Cook. It’s always a relief to see an artist escape the grubby clutches of Simon Cowell and his trite, tired ideas – but when it’s someone as gifted as Cook, that relief becomes full-on celebration.

No comments:

Creative Commons Licence
The Sloppy Dog by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.