David Archuleta - David Archuleta (2008).
Maybe it's the generic album cover. Or the whole American Idol thing. If you really think about it, the whole AI phenomenon is 2 for 8 of their "winners" in terms of not just chart success but overall contribution to music. David Archuleta wasn't the winner of Season 7 of the hit karaoke show, but being the runner-up still means you get an album release to some modest success, and when you're a teen/adult/soccer mom heartthrob like our boy David A. here, then you get a little bit more than the average runner-up.
But I digress. I'm supposed to be talking about the album, right? But everything about it I can practically describe to you without even listening to it. Everything about it screams generic Wal-Mart Greatest Hits crap. A lazy album cover and a track list that could be put on random on an iPod and make no real difference to how the album sounds all say that it's just a cash cow (I know! I'm shocked too!). The songs that are here are pretty horrible. Power-pop single? Check. Slow ballad? Check. Talent? Well, that's debatable.
"Touch My Hand" sums up the album pretty much. "Can't Let The Music Stop/Until I Touch Your Hand/Because if I Do it will all be over and I'll never get the chance again" is the type of 7th grade notebook poetry we're talking about here. Any good singer can elevate such banal lame lyrics to something perhaps a bit more exciting (David doesn't really have the chops), but who should bother? None of this really needs to be put on record in the first place. It's a waste of plastic, and if you digitally downloaded the album then it's a waste of silicon on your hard drive before you delete it.
Most of the songs here are slow ballads, but besides the fact that they're boring like no other, David's voice really doesn't make them work (and isn't that the reason he progressed so far on the show?). His voice has been auto-tuned to death on most of them or overproduced it's impossible to really judge how talented the guy is, but it lacks any real color to it. It has a raspy loungey-sound to it, but only in the most mediocre sense possible. It comes as if little D.A. doesn't really care about the lyrics he's been handed (probably doesn't) and I doubt the real listeners of this album care either (probably don't). The sway-bots on the show may wave their arms as he mugs through ballad #2 "Barriers" or single "Crush," but outside of that safe home it's hard to find any real songs here.
David A. likes to spend his time either pondering why his love is no longer with him or what he can do to keep his love there, or why love is so hard in the first place (see every damn song on this album). The album is well-made in the sense that everything sounds fine and doesn't sound awful, but does mediocrity and boredom relate to a better rating? The album isn't worth the plastic it's printed on.
I could really detail how horrible the rest of the album is, but lets just let the lyrics speak for themselves: "But It's Harder To Hold on to your Hands/Than the Hands of time, I need a Hand, girl" ("My Hands"). "Tell Me Why you're so hard to forget/Don't remind me, I'm not over it" ("A Little To Not Over You"). "Some days are cold but together/One day we'll both change the weather/And it gets better" ("Don't Let Go"). I swear the guy says "hold on" in almost every song. When he isn't singing such trite lyrics he's filling the song with his useless and empty "Whooo's" and making one-syllable words into 9-syllable ones.
The only song that even comes close to having any kind of real identity to it is "Your Eyes Don't Lie." Bear in mind we're just comparing one pile of crap with a smaller pile of crap that doesn't stink as bad, but in an album full of simplistic boring similar-sounding songs, "Your Eyes Don't Lie" has a whistle to it that actually inhabit the very cheesiness that little Davey is doing everywhere on the whole album that it becomes competent in its own right. There's not much in store for little David past this flash-in-the-pan, so he can enjoy the moment while it's there, but I'm sure in a few more seasons of American Idol the runner-up from nowheresville, USA will be hard to worth remembering.
Standout Track: "Your Eyes Don't Lie."
Overall Rating: 0.8