Review - David Archuleta - Begin
I always liked David Archuelta, probably a lot more than I should. But hey, why shouldn’t I like him? He is young, cute, and he always smiles that kind of goofy but still totally cute smile. Oh right and he sings and stuff.
No, but I do like David. I didn’t watch him on American Idol, but I have watched his career ever since. His self-titled debut reached #2, as did the single “Crush”, his only post-Idol single to reach the US Top 40. After that, things quickly went downhill, as they do for many people who leave these television singing competitions. None of the other singles from that album charted, nor did any of the three singles he released from his follow up, ‘The Upside of Down’ two years later (lead single “Something ‘Bout Love” did hit #105, but I’m not going to count that for the purposes of this article).
For a while there, we weren’t sure what was to become of little David. His major label dropped him pretty quickly, and we didn’t hear anything from him for some time. Then he came out and said he was going on a religious mission…somewhere, at some point. No word yet where, but we know now that this mission is coming up soon. He moved to the Philippines for some TV work, and earlier this year he released an album that was Philippines-specific (don’t even get me started on that one).
Well, out of what seems like nowhere, Archuleta has released a new US album, ‘Begin’. He says he is releasing it for his fans before he leaves (I think for two years), but I hadn’t heard anything about it before about one week before it was released (on August 7th). The album is ten tracks long – nine covers and one original song that he co-wrote.
So, here’s the deal. The album is probably his worst. I don’t mind if Archuleta isn’t making top notch pop music, he’s good enough to get away with mediocre. While I liked his two original albums, I wouldn’t say that they were spectacular. They certainly had a number of catchy tracks on them, and they weren’t dumb, and that’s basically what I look for. I would even be alright with him putting out a collection of covers, but not this one.
First, he picked all very famous songs. This is almost always a bad idea for any artist, unless they are being funny (a hard rock group covering Britney Spears, etc.). The nine covers on this album are all classics and favorites of the masses. Here’s the tracklist:
1. “Beautiful” (Christina Aguilera)
2. “Somewhere Only We Know” (Keane)
3. “Everybody Hurts” (REM)
4. “Don’t Give Up” (Kate Bush)
5. “Angel” (Sarah McLachlan)
6. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon & Garfunkel)
7. “Broken” (his original song)
8. “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper”
9. “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2)
10. “Be Still, My Soul” (I think it’s a hymn)
No matter how great he is, people will still shake their heads and think he is pale in comparison – and that’s only if he did them really well. Archuleta can sing fine enough, but he can’t pull his own on these. No, they aren’t terrible, and he isn’t letting the flag touch the ground (no need for everyone to gasp and hate him), but there isn’t really anything here.
The one real redeeming bit here is that his song – “Broken” – keeps up with the rest of them. Calm down everyone, I’m not saying that David Archuleta wrote a “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”-sized song, but rather that while listening, you don’t stop and say “what? What is <i>that</i>? SWITCH SONGS!”. The album feels cohesive in the musical stylings, and “Broken” fits right in. Placing it in the middle of the album was a wise choice.
So, that’s the last we’re going to hear of him for some time. I don’t think you’re allowed to record an album and go on tour while you’re helping needy people in Africa or wherever he’s going. I’m only assuming Africa (other than for obvious reasons) because that’s what happened in the musical The Book of Mormon.
Oh, he’s a Mormon. Did I mention that? Yeah.
Listen to: “Broken”, his original song.