Monday, 20 October 2008

A Little too Not November 11th yet

With the album fast approaching, 3 weeks today, the anticipation is rising and rising fast. Jive has been fantastic with a slow and steady drip feed of information, pictures and song clips over the past few weeks ensuring the buzz is maintained around boy wonders first ever studio album. All in all, negatives aside (and there are some) I am thrilled with everything I have heard, read and seen. The album is really shaping up. iluvlife from the IDF forums managed to get hold of the 12 confirmed songs for David's album plus 1 bonus song exclusive to Wal-Mart customers. Here is the list.

1 Crush
2 My Hands
3 Touch My Hand
4 Barriers - (No Doubt meets Bob Marley)
5 A Little Too Not Over You
6 Your Eyes Don't Lie - not sure how to describe (Bonnie Raitt meets country/folk)
7 You Can = Ballad (acoustic guitar) very beautiful melody and lyric, very "david"
8 Running - Midi Mafia - R&B/Pop/Kinda jazzy, Very Cool!!
9 Don't Let Go - U2 meets the Fray style - pop/alternative (David co-wrote with JC from NSync)
10 Desperate - Big mature sounding power ballad - Desmond Child (Bon Jovi hit songwriter)
11 To Be With You - Ballad #2 (piano) Pretty love ballad
12 Angels - new version - Ballad #3 (David on piano)

13 Works for Me - Bonus Track (Walmart only) - organic bluesy pop - David co-write with Daniel Bedingfield

There is so much 'YES YES AND YES' in that list, its untrue. Ill start with the tracks we have heard clips of. My Hands is a lovely little melodic pop song with a cool rhythm, even if I am not a fan of synthesised drum beats (which is my critcism of ALTNOY too), that is equally as good if not better than Crush. Wacky lyrics combined with playful vocal lines make this song a haven of charm and fun. Touch My Hands has a very cool Coldplay/U2 vibe and melodic pattern with a unique fusion of styles which results in something quite cool and unique. Although I do not find this one quite as appealing as My Hands or A Little to Not Over You, I still think it is a fantastic and unique concept. I really think this song could actually be alot better than it is in its current state but I guess I cant pass true judgement until ive heard the full song with a proper mix. A Little to Not Over You is the first element of Composition we have heard from David, as a co-writer of this song, and I love it. In fact, its my favourite of all the clips and by a little distance too. The Waltz rhythm combined with the open vocal melody and then finally a tour de force of vocal prowess, especially in the Bridge, make this a pop song that I really find myself drawing too. I think it is no coincidence this song has the strongest melody of all the clips we have heard. My main concern however is the overuse of synth drumbeats. They seem to be everywhere. What is wrong with an organic drum beat? I think it could end up ruining some of the songs for me.

And then onto the songwriters and collaborators. The first one that jumps out of my screen at me is Desmond Child. Mr Child is one of the most prolific song writers in history. He has written more chart hits and great songs that alot of people combined ranging from Rickey Martin to Bon Jovi. He is a truly amazing songwriter and the song he has written - Desperate, is a really terrific song (check out Stanfour's version of it here). This is an interesting choice for David. Its quite emo and sad but I can imagine David packing a great deal of emotional punch in this song. Think Apologize kind of emotion. Not only is a great melody and memorable hook, I think its a fantastic diversion from 'Crush' and a song that proves his versatility as an artist. Its almost crossing over into Cook territory. Im expecting David's version to be a bit more Pop but to carry an emotional weight far greater than Stanfour's version. I really believe this could be David at his emotional best. This is the most exciting track on the album for me.

Other songwriters confirmed for the above listed songs are Kara DioGuardi, JC Chasez, The Midi Mafia and Daniel Bedingfield. What a fantastic A list of songwriters. Another track I'm dead excited about is the Daniel Bedingfield song. I've always been more of a fan of Daniel over his sister, Natasha. He's a very intelligent and witty songwriter and has produced arguably the best ballad of the 21st century with If Your Not the One. I think he is the perfect collaborator and I am stoked to hear what that track sounds like, even if it is only a Bonus track. JC Chasez's track will be very hip and very contemporary and Kara's will be melodic and charming, but of course these are based on assumptions. And finally, we will have a new version of Angels to finally break into the mainstream US market. David takes this song to a whole new level. As a huge fan of Robbie Williams original (ive performed it myself a fair few times) I never expected to like a cover version more, but guess what, Davids version blows it out of the water.

A very cool and refreshing combination of styles combined with an A list of songwriting talent and then to top it all off, sung by Wonderboy himself, I'm more excited about this album than I actually thought I would be. Im keeping my expectations low as hes still only 17 and has not had a particularly great deal of time to construct this album so it wont be matching his potential but im still expecting it to be a pleasure to listen to. Its great to see we also have some glimpses of Davids songwriting talent on there. I know Jeff and David would have liked some more David tracks to make it but I guess we will have to wait till the second album for that. Record labels have the final say and David has to deal with that as that is the nature of a very warped and timid music industry. Artistic freedom is a rare thing these days, I hope David is able to secure more in the future. Having said that, the song writing talent present here is superb

Roll on November 11th!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Music Can Change the World

I have always believed that art of any kind can cause great reactionary effects and change a persons state of mind almost instantly, be it mood or thinking and sometimes even opinion and outlook. Music, the most powerful of these art forms in my humble opinion, is a sub-concious channel of communication between one persons core, soul if you will, and anothers, although often spoken in words it penetrates to a far deeper level that language ever can. Music, in its greatest form performed by the best of the best, the elite, the geniuses, can alter a persons course and mood in that day for the good and often change the course of their lives forever. Music can pull you from the depths of despair and make your life worth living again and inspire a restoration of personal harmony or simply make your life better, from no matter standpoint you were at before. The way and the magnitude Davids music has breached and altered peoples lives for the good, mine included, is on a truly epic scale.

I have been thinking for a very long time, often through inspiration from some of rascals posts on notingdavid, through various discussions on Fans of David and the vast amount of stories and letters I have read, as to why and how David's singing can alter such deeply important and significant things to a person, to truly change the world. I have talked a lot in previous posts about David's natural musicality and music instinct. That ability to carve pathways of communication into peoples souls through the songs hes singing, exposing himself emotionally or 'laying it out all out' for all to hear and see through performance. I have always been so intrigued as to why I feel like I know him so well, even though ive met him once for 2 minutes and heard him talk a negligible amount of times in interviews etc. It must be down to how he performs. That communication pathway enables him to carve his way into our beings, provoking that intense emotion within us whilst enabling us to really see his character and his persona in return- 'Laying it all out'. I cant think of a better phrase to some it up. When David performs, his entire being is poured into the delivery of the song. There is nothing hidden or contrived because if it were, we wouldn't feel what we all do. Each performance is him, he and music become one and it is only in that state that emotional connection can truly be made. Michael Jackson once said in an interview that the only way he could dance properly was if he lost himself in the music, that his body and the music became one. Now obviously David is not a dancer but the same principle applies and applies to all great musicians. Great guitarists always pull funny faces and grimaces when they are lost in their music, its a sign of emotional involvement with the song. It ceases to be a person singing a song or a person playing an instrument, the music and the performer become one. If you refresh your memory of one of David's finest moments, 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me', David is painting a picture of the dynamic and melodic profile of the song with his hand on approach to the chorus. David and the song become one. You can see it in the way he performs, the transformation he made on stage from a shy, spacey 17 year old boy to prodigious singer. He and the song become one. It is only in that state, that zone, is the connection between the performer and the listener is made. I have yet to see a performance of Imagine, or any emotional song that David has sung for that matter, which hasn't impacted people and caused tears to be shed. My mother is a semi-professional opera singer and she was always told by her singing teacher that if your singing an emotional song, if there is a dry eye in the audience then you have failed no matter how well you sang the song technically. David certainly doesn't fail with that, ever. I still cant get over how a 17 year old boy can make me cry with his voice and a song I have heard a fair few times. Rascal brilliantly put in one of his posts (sorry its not word for word) 'The difference between David and other singers is his performances arnt really performances, they are a relationship between him and the audience'. So true.

So why does this connection impact people? Well this is the hard bit to explain and I think part of it is unexplainable but this is how I see it. When David performs and that emotional connection is made, it inspires you. The feeling that is provoked by his performances, be it excitement or sadness or beauty or love, that overwhelming feeling of joy, you feel inspired to search that for yourself. It may even make you do things you wouldn't even think you would have done. Ive said this before, but if you had told me a year ago that I would be blogging and following a 17 year old American Idol singers progression daily as well as travelling 4,000 miles to see him sing 4 songs live, I would have laughed and never believed you, but here I am. That feeling of euphoria that touches you through his music encourages you to look at yourself and look at the world and seek that feeling in your own life by doing what is right. That feeling of Euphoria and the inspiration that comes with it is what can lift you out of the depths of despair and has done for many, many people or inspires you to follow your dream or just simply make your life better. It drives you to follow the right path in life, the path to joy and happiness, the path to what is good. David's love and compassion expressed through music carries a message and an impact that inspires the same thing that he makes you feel to come from within you, to be someone you know you can be. For those few minutes that he is singing, everything is OK. The troubles of life are suspended and all you feel is what is coming from within David, through his voice and his music - the essence of the music he is creating. Love, compassion, excitement and happiness - Euphoria. For those few minutes, all is well, you feel harmony, and it is exactly that, that inspires you seek it yourself, that feeling of Harmony. It is deeply spiritual. That magic touch of inspiration has changed and inspired me to follow my dream and I have known it to open new doors for people and even save them from suicide. His performances are an inadvertent and irrelevant but also advertant and relevant symbol of good and that magic touch of euphoria can save your life, it is that helping hand to raise you out of those bitter lows that some of us face in life and lead you onto a path to happiness. David has said himself he does it for us but that it does not come from him, it comes from the music. He does it because he knows it can turn a persons week around or even their life. That is greatest feeling of all. Brett Hales, a family friend of the Archuletas, a sufferer of MS said that Davids voice would give him the strength to get up from bed when he was bed ridden. Hearing David's voice ringing from downstairs just when he was playing around on kareoke made everything seem OK. That is special, that is impact that changes lives. It makes you feel closer to God. It comes from God. The power of David is also a uniting force. I have met people through David who I now call friends and I know many, many others have done the same, often to a greater extent than I have. These people come from all walks of life, ages, sex and even edges of the globe and I have even met up with them in person, united by 1 common interest. David Archuleta. That is something very powerful and very special, something I'm not even sure he is quite aware of. I wish he was and maybe he will someday he will.

David is the living epitome of 'Music can change the world'. In the short period he has been a part of our lives he has changed my world and a vast amount of other peoples. He has changed the world and in time that will grow and grow and grow. People have talked about David embarking on a mission for the LDS church, but in my opinion, David is on his mission now. The scale and magnitude of the lives he is changing and improving and the joy he is spreading is worthy of a mission. Music can change the world. David does.