Review: David Cook - David Cook


Jan 2 2009, 9h36

David Cook - David Cook

1. Declaration
2. Heroes
3. Light On
4. Come Back to Me
5. Life on the Moon
6. Bar-ba-sol
7. Mr. Sensitive
8. Lie
9. I Did it for You
10. Avalanche
11. Permanent
12. A Daily AntheM
13. The Time Of My Life

American Idol winner David Cook releases his official debut album. And even though he's been an active musician for a number of years, this self-titled debut is his first major release. He impressed the masses on American Idol and is now trying to continue to do that with this full-length album.

The album kicks off with Declaration, which is a nice alternative rock song in a mainstream Foo Fighters-style. With vocals that are somewhere in between Eddie Vedder and Jason Wade, this rocker has a good format to do well on rock radio and is a good outlet for Cook's musicality.

I immediately thought Stone Temple Pilots on this song. The same melodic rock with good pop sensibility. And even Cook's vocals resemble Scott Weiland almost perfectly. The strong build up make for a good and radio-friendly rock song that will most likely do very well during live shows.

Light On
Lead single Light On has that (post-)grungy quality that we hear in artists like Chris Cornell & Eddie Vedder. A good choice as lead single as it has that radio-song-build-up. Not the album's strongest song, but everything's tight and the rhythm is tight. With popular post-grunge rock bands like Nickelback, Hinder & Alter Bridge out there, this (though slightly more of a pop approach) will fit right in.

Come Back To Me
With Lifehouse & Goo Goo Dolls claiming back their spot as major players on AA radio in the past 2 years, Come Back To Me would be an obvious choice as follow-up radio single. The uptempo, catchy pop melody (the vocals really resemble Jason Wade of Lifehouse again) is destined to be a big hit on radio while it might also become a popular choice for TV shows and such. David Cook's arrangements might have similarities to other bands, but that doesn't take away from his strong performance.

Life On The Moon
Life On The Moon is one of the least strong tracks on the album. It's too predictable and while it might please the younger American Idol crowd it's hard to be wildly enthusiastic about it. Because of Cook's strong sense of performance the song gets a little character, but all in all it's not really the best testament to his talent.

With a little more of a rock approach, Bar-Ba-Sol is the hardest song on the album, and also one of the best. The sound lies somewhere between Stone Temple Pilots and Our Lady Peace's older work. This is something David Cook does really well. With an energetic and passionate performance and strong vocal presence he brings this song to a very good level. David Cook shows some balls and clever musicianship on this track and it suits him well.

Mr. Sensitive
On the last track, Cook really showed himself, but on this next track the level goes down quite a bit again. While co-written with Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace (which you can really hear), you can easily lay out the rest of the song after the first 20 seconds. Lyrically the song isn't all that strong either. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big OLP fan, and while this sounds an aweful lot like "Gravity"-era Our Lady Peace stuff, it just doesn't have enough guts to really be a memorable song.

Lie is another pretty good song. While Johnny Rzeznik is only credited on the album opener, this is the track on which you'd expected to see his name. It has the melodic pop sensibility from the "A Boy Named Goo"/"Dizzy Up the Girl" era Goo Goo Dolls and might remind you a little bit of Iris. Cook even performs this song in the same way Rzeznik crawled in that 90s megahit. And much like Iris, this song has the ability to become big. Cook becomes one with the song and performs it with power and emotion.

I Did It For You
This song is another co-write with Raine Maida but this time it doesn't really sound like an Our Lady Peace b-side, which is good. It gives the song more identity. While I Did It For You misses a real climax it's a good album song. Slightly reminds me of the 2nd half of Lifehouse's latest album (Who We Are) with the melodic rock lines and passionate vocals.

Avalanche is a highlight on this album. Better Than Ezra's Kevin Griffin co-wrote this song, and being one of the most underrated songwriters in modern pop/rock, this song benefited from his talents. The radio-friendly pop/rocker has a passionately performed melody and the strong build-up helps this song to become a must-release for radio. David Cook's vocals are really strong and you can hear he feels very comfortable performing this song. One of the album's best tracks.

Cook continues strong with the power balled Permanent. The honest lyrics and seasoned vocal style are supported by a nice keys arrangement. The song has a good level that can really connect with the listener on a personal level. With some clever strings and a very good production, this song might well be the very best on the album.

A Daily AntheM
A Daily AntheM is the official album closer. It's not the album's best track and at times it's slightly predictable, but after a couple of listens it grows on you. It's a song that shows class and most of all it shows that David Cook is a strong performer. Likely to be a fan favorite, especially live, A Daily AntheM is a good album closer.

Then there's the hidden track Kiss On The Neck, the title of which reminds me a whole lot of OLP's Kiss On The Mouth. But surprisingly it doesn't really sound like that. It's an uptempo rock & roll track on which David Cook can let his energy burst. While the AA fans of Cook might disagree, I believe this track would've deserved a place on the regular tracklist.

The Time Of My Life
It's a good song, but David Cook should use his talents to write and perform his own songs, as he shines way more in that department. Time Of My Life has a rightful place as bonus track, but that's all the time it should take on this record.

All the songs sound familiar and most of them are quite radio friendly. Some remind of Chris Cornell/Soundgarden, some of Lifehouse/Goo Goo Dolls, some tend to have a Nickelback or Our Lady Peace kind of sound and some have a more Switchfoot/Feeder-like sound. I'm naming all kinds of bands that do well on radio and provide us with our daily dose of mainstream rock. David Cook joins the club and while he needs some more time to ease into his own comfort zone, he has easily picked up on what sells and thus, what people want to hear. His likeable vocals and his overall performance is quite strong and will likely only grow stronger. And if, in time, he can add more personal creativity to his arrangements he might be one of the few Idols that actually last.


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