November 13, 2008

David Archuleta: Self-Titled

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If you were anything like me during last season’s American Idol, you wanted to violently vomit every time runner-up David Archuleta opened his mouth. His endlessly flowing earnestness and gosh-darn-it shtick eclipsed his tremendous vocal abilities on the show, as little David always seemed far older than his 17 years. And yet, it is this maturity level from Archuleta that makes his eponymous debut shockingly engaging. Even if it is undoubtedly the squarest record ever to come out of the Idol machine — Archie is about as hip and cool as Clay Aiken is straight — David Archuleta is an annoying indelible listen, full of swelling poppy choruses that become engrained into your subconscious.
Nowhere is this catchiness more apparent than in the record’s opening sequence, a string of five songs that each features an identifiable hook that won’t leave you no matter how much you try. From the charming lead single “Crush” to the soaring “A Little Too Not Over You,” Archuleta finds the balance between age-appropriate lyrics and adult-oriented musicality. Not everything works on his debut — the terribly trite ballads “You Can” and “To Be With You” just reiterate how hackneyed Archuleta sounded on AI — but when the melodies outshine the clichés, David Archuleta is a remarkably promising debut from an artist that seemed destined for a train wreck.

  • suznewbie

    I don’t think I was like you back then, but I pretty much agree with you now…well…that is, if by annoying, you mean something totally cool and positive! AND if Barriers is in the first five songs!

  • virginia banker

    David Archuleta’s cd is so awesome that I had to buy many of them to give to people that don’t know him. This was my first year watching AL., and I am so happy I did. This is the very first time in my life that I became a fan of any one, and David will be my only one. I am sure we all wish that more kids could be so grounded like David. We have to give him credit for going after his dream. How many 17 year olds are humble, genuine, fanatic like David? Yes we have some but for the most of them no. David is so big now and he doesn’t even know it. One thing we can say about David he never will say any thing bad about any one. David loves every one and he loves life. On AL David got into my heart and soul and will be there for ever. Most of the time people don’t just listen to the song and the words (most of the time you can’t understand what they are singing)the message in the song. That is why people don’t get David. But just sit back and listen to the song and the words then you might get David. Loving every thing David Archuleta for ever.

  • Anonymous

    Your hearing from a generation that grew up with great rock and roll and music. David has brought us back to current music. Waiting to hear crush I have listened to current music stations and not the golden oldies (can’t believe I’m writing this) and have found that there are song that I really like. David has an out of this world voice that melts my heart. It does not have to be drowned out by all the thing current artist due to sell cd’s. He’s got a stand alone voice that hasn’t been around in the music business for years. I love his pop and I love his ballads. David, you are the voice!!!!

  • rob

    All I know is ….I love this cd. His voice gets to me.

  • StarryLaurie

    His CD is amazing. His voice is even better. And his character is to be admired. Many people in the music-buying public are thrilled to finally have someone with his calibre voice and his innate decency to listen to and to support. I have been unwilling to part with very much cash, if any, for the “so called” music of today. I have a hard time recalling the last “current” music I bought before David came on the scene. I have and will buy any music David produces because he is always a class act.

    I love that his CD and music video are clean and can be listened to and viewed by anyone. There is so much garbage out there and I wish the critics would quit trying to cram it down our throats. David, on the other hand has a heavenly voice and this CD is a beautiful showcase for it. I am glad it contains such a wide variety of music and I think he does the “pop” stuff as well as anyone. In fact, in my opinion he does it better than most.

    I have been pleasantly surprised to see many of his past critics change their minds about him once they give him a real chance.

  • Me2

    I guess I always saw the potential beyond the ballads that he sang. There is no denying that boy can sing. And he sings the heck out of most (if not all) the songs on his album.

  • Karen

    Greg, I’m glad you’re coming around to the tremendously talented David Archuleta. He has owned me lock, stock and barrel since ‘Shop Around’. I think as time passes, you will really be shocked that you didn’t recognize David’s brilliance right out of the box.

    I love all the songs on the album. I’ve been playing it nearly 24/7 ever since it was leaked. (I had it on pre-order at iTunes and got a hard copy too so I could get all the bonus songs…but I couldn’t resist the leak.) I think you should give ‘You Can’ and especially ‘To Be With You’ another dozen listens coz I think they’ll grow on you. Beyond ‘Crush’, they are my favorite songs on the album along with the bonus track, ‘Somebody Out There’. I think they’re fabulous. The passion and yearning he puts into ‘To Be With You’ at 1:55-2:01 singing “waaayyyyy” is like a physical blow to me. He’s so good, it’s unreal.

    David is going to be incredibly successful. He has fans who are INSANE they love him so much, and they are ALL ages and both sexes. (I are one! haha He has me listening to music again after a 20+ year lapse. That’s profound…for me, anyway. I’ve travelled 7,200+ miles to see him sing three times. Woulda done more if I could’ve pulled it off.) That type of fervor and wide appeal is what turns a great singer into an icon. Yeah, I’m going there. David will be a legend in the music business. Bet the farm. I’m right on this one.

  • Cristi

    it’s a GOOD review if you actually read it all the way through. Sheesh, reading comprehension anyone? Or are you just ready to bite at the first negative word you see?

    And stop talking like Archie is the second coming of Christ. It creeps the rest of us out.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always liked David’s vocals, but just not the material so much. But I have to say I think his CD is pretty good. And “You Can” is probably my favorite song on the whole album. And coming from a mother of teens I much prefer his “endlessly flowing earnestness and gosh-darn-it shtick” to a mouthful of vulgarity and innuendo which seems to be so prevalent with today’s youth.

  • Anonymous

    Greg, I have to believe that the only reason you wrote this article is to get attention and to get replies to your stupid column. David is by far the best thing that ever happened to American Idol and the only reason it got the ratings it did. David is the only 17 year old on the music scene that has men and women, young and old totally mesmerized. While you were wanting to “violently vomit” every time he opened his mouth on AI, I, and millions others were excited, smiling, sometimes crying because of his powerful and heartfelt performances. I love his album, I listen to it 24/7 and I’m totally amazed at how good it is considering he made this while being on the Tour. His voice is amazing and his grounded, humble and cute personality completes the package. I feel sorry for your lack of taste and ability to appreciate a great artist. Good luck to you and please find something better to do than writing nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Most all straight guys I know had a problem with Archuleta. Something about being threatened…but from someone who is not physically threatening – and who makes the girls swoon. Unfortunately for the girl tweens….well, why rain on a parade?

  • suznewbie

    I do think MOST people realize this is a positive review…they are just adding exclamation points by way of their own opinions. 🙂

  • Greg Bodenlos

    Hi —

    I appreciate your comment, but I hope that you read my article again…I gave David Archuletta’s album a GREAT review actually. I have come around to liking him, even though on the show I despised his presence. I hope that you now better understand my position on the matter.

    Greg Bodenlos
    Hotel Administration, ’10

  • Number 1 Critique

    You don’t need to argue with the “MUSIC JOURNO” they are really irrelevant in the music industry – It’s just their livelihood – It’s their day paying job to say the least. It doesn’t impact the sales of the Artist CD – For people will still buy it if they like the artist and his music. Remember, THE FANS HAS THE LAST SAY, NOT “MUSIC JOURNO” – for they try to have their “EGO” over rule them instead of critiquing the CD ALBUM constructively; they are powerless individual in the music world.
    However there are other Journalist who are professional and who write it with justice and fairness and critique the Artist constructively for they know that putting out a CD ALBUM is all hardwork.

    With David Archuleta CD ALBUM: I never expected to be this GREAT! All the songs are fantastically well done. It is a must have CD – Its worth it. Good for Christmas Gift for this HOLIDAY! This kid is gifted and has a great voice to be reckoned with for the young generation of the 21st Century. Since I bought it I never stop listening to it. Congrats David for the Job well Done !

  • reinharv

    I too wanted to voilently vomit everytime he opened his mouth. I have no idea how he got that far this season but it’s the tweens with their texting votes and obsession over anyone who is 17 or younger. If Archuleta was 24-25 rather than 17, he would have never made it to top 12. There were a lot of great contestants this season and he bored me to tears.

  • reinharv

    After I got over the gosh-darn giggle giggle shtick I want to pinch his cheeks, and the constant ballad after boring ballads week after week, I am forever grateful for the mute button. Archie has a good voice and he’s a sweet kid but he really is as hip and cool as Clay Aiken is straight. Taking all that aside if David Archuleta was 24-25 years old this season singing the same songs in the same way he did, well I doubt that he would have made it to top 10. Add to that, if he had a steady girlfriend, engaged or married–he would have never made it to top 24. Being the greatest thing to come out of Idol as some posters wrote – please you are deluding yourself and very premature. Even Bo Bice had better 1st week sales than the golden boy did. Right now, the best thing that has come out of Idol is Carrie and Daughtry who are still producing platinum albums and still with their labels.

    That’s the trouble with Idol. It’s invaded by tweens who primarily vote for teens fantacizing about them. That’s why Sanjaya made it as far as he did on Season 6 and why Jordin Sparks bested Melinda Doolittle. David Archuleta chose to follow the tried & true pre-programmed format that made past idols win singing power ballads and changing very little. When he does his album he switches genres. I feel like he misrepresented himself for that alone. As a 17 year old, why didn’t he do things more age appropriate and frankly more “hip.” I commend him for trying to break out of that old-fashioned genre he did during Idol but that was his strength. I commend Jive for handing him some songs that are catchy, songs done by proven professionals. Since he only wrote two songs on this album, and they are “fillers” I would have liked to have seen what he as an artist could do rather than what other people provided him. I guess I should give the kid a break though, he’s only 17.

  • reinharv

    It will come to no great surprise to anyone that anything negative about Archie, who is the second coming of Christ will in fact spur a huge backlash. His fans are great at blogging, voting on polls, leaving negative comments on anything that has a “David Cook” tag and praising the golden boy at every opportunity. They still think this is a competition.

    I don’t care how good you all think his album is, he bored me during the show and so I won’t buy his album. He still bores me. There are plenty of “great” artists out there and he’s not anywhere close. A.I. is not the industry’s standard for who is going to succeed–if anything it’s looked at negatively. Very few escape the A.I. tag. Underwood and Daughtry (who placed 4th) have survived so far. I seriously doubt Archuleta will give them a run for their money. Industry expected Archuleta to have 1st week sales of 240K. Though Archuleta’s 1st week sales were good at 183K–it was much less than anticipated. Bo Bice (another runner-up) bested him at 227K for 1st week sales and where is Bo today? Archuleta falls 10th in 1st week sales behind (in order) Clay, Ruben, Carrie, Chris D., Taylor, Kelly, Fantasia, Bo and Jennifer. Archuleta has that fanatic fanbase that rivals Clay Aiken’s and I’d expect his fanbase frantically purchased and gifted in order to prove that America got it wrong. These stats will be officially recorded no matter how much his album sells. A.I. is not a golden ticket.