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10 Jul 2011
Album Review: This Loud Morning (David Cook)
Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:49 PM EDT
By Tania Hussain
David Cook's "This Loud Morning" releases June 28th, nationwide in stores and digital music retailers.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed with songwriters and I admire most, it’s the courage they have to strip themselves down; exposing their thoughts and feelings to a capricious world while diving into a deep unknown abyss just to know that someone along the way understands that very meaning they’re trying to articulate. Deep, well-thought songs don’t come from the surface. They come from deep down with an open heart and mind that allows for poetry, melody and passion to permeate through.
An artist who never fails to wear his heart on his sleeve is David Cook, the past winner of the FOX reality show, American Idol but don’t peg him into the Idol cliché. Cook is one of the rare winners along with Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson who’s able to stand on his own two feet and found success over the years by laying his heart on the line. Lyrically and vocally, Cook is impressive and by far one of the finest musicians emerging today. It’s been about two and a half years since his platinum-selling self-titled album debuted and the wait has been worth it.
The album, titled This Loud Morning, released through RCA and 19 Records is nothing short of genius with heart and character. Releasing June 28, the album is executive produced by Matt Serletic and features tracks written and co-written by Cook along with many acclaimed songwriters, including David Hodges, Kevin Griffen, Ryan Tedder, Marti Frederiksen and Cook’s fellow bandmates, Neal Tiemann and Andy Skib.
There is definite growth in this album and you can see Cook emerge as the artist he has dreamt of. If there is an overall theme to this record, it’s the romantic concept about living a life for yourself while asleep and an inescapability of sorts where life has its own certainties and endings, whether they be in the form of a day, a dream, a relationship or life that leads to new beginnings.
That concept is quite beautifully crafted in the opening song, “Circadian”, which focuses on falling asleep and using our slumber as a tool or release from escaping the day. It’s a gorgeous track that Cook packs an emotional wallop into while dabbling with the depths of reality versus dream; an internal struggle within yourself.
The track, “Right Here With You” is a gutsy romantic love song about always being there for the one you care about no matter the obstacles and though time gets in the way and changes things, it is certain that the love shared will remain the same. As for “We Believe”, it’s another track Cook has created that tugs at the heart strings and is an uplifting sort of anthem, driven from his own personal experiences. It’s about having faith at the end of the day; a hope, that things as terrible as they can be in our lives and as down and out as we are, will eventually come to a conclusion if we only believe that tomorrow will be better than the last.
“Fade Into Me” is somewhat of a sweet sentimental ballad, full of love and meaning, escaping from the world behind you and wanting to be with someone who meshes just uncontrollably well with you. It’s tender and gorgeous. His vocals really understand the emotional value behind the song’s meaning. “Hard To Believe” is another beautifully written song focusing on the denial of a relationship ending and trying to understand the reasons behind it even though you don’t fully comprehend the “hows” and “whys”.
One of the most heartfelt tracks on the album would have to be “Take Me As I Am” which is almost a romantic plea of sorts. I’m sure at one point, every listener has wished they could convey and cry out to that certain someone they love and adore, care for, wishing and hoping they’d get that chance to prove themselves. It’s tender and sad at one point but is stunning, nonetheless. The mid-tempo track of the album is “Time Marches On” which has a jaded sort of attitude about the realities of a relationship filled with the understanding that time plays a factor in the lives we lead and paths we choose.
Cook’s current single off the record is “The Last Goodbye” which is about finally letting go in a relationship and putting it behind you even though it’s hard and never easy. Thoughts come up of the other and then there’s that stage of denial, which goes into the following track, “Paper Heart”. It’s another one of Cook’s songs that pulls on the pain and loss one experiences after a relationship ends and spotlights the emotional fragility one feels in a relationship.
“4 Letter Word” is a song that plays on the notion of the word “love” emerging in a relationship and the possibility of it being said and then spoiling what is so cherished and valued. It’s a tough feeling – when is it okay to ever say “I love you” in a relationship and Cook plays with it to the best way he can. The following track, “Goodbye To The Girl” is one of the album’s most delicate tracks, co-written by bandmates Neal Tiemann and Andy Skib. It’s a realistic ending. Not every story in life has that picture-perfect relationship and this is a culmination of the whole album’s overall tale. Cook’s vocals on this track are flawless and hold onto that understanding that when it’s time to let go, all you can do is say “goodbye”.
The last track on the record, “Rapid Eye Movement” features the lyric “this loud morning” which is the album’s title. This song leads right back into the opening song but the difference is, “Rapid Eye Movement” is about waking up from the life we dream of and have to face the actual realities head on as opposed to “Circadian”, which is about finding a life you wish for in your deep slumbers. Both songs have Cook producing striking vocals and notions of peaceful slumber and on “Rapid Eye Movement”, it seems like as much as the album has proven he’s progressed in a relationship and understands it’s over, he keeps remembering the “love” they made and it haunts him; lingering into his sleep.
In a sense, with the way this album keeps merging into each other through the first and last track, it’s reminiscent of a Groundhog Day scenario, where as much as you hit the snooze button, life’s going to play out the way it’s supposed to, in a preordained kind of way. Of course, the album is open to interpretation but it seems like the tracks between the beginning and end, focus on the evolution of a relationship, from start to finish and the realities we face when we feel the scars of our life and choices.
The most charming thing about David Cook is the way he puts out each track. His voice feels for every lyric and within every song and every melody, he’s making you feel and understand what he takes from the poetry that has been created. With these songs, it’s almost as if he has suffered through a relationship of sorts and to articulate those kinds of feelings from within himself, creating it musically, is just pure astonishment and proof of someone who’s rightfully in this industry. This is a great album, simply put and he is an inspirational songwriter who lays it all out there.
David Cook’s sophomore record, This Loud Morning releases June 28th in stores and online at digital music retailers and features 12 tracks. There is a deluxe edition also available and that includes a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage and two bonus tracks, "This Is Not The Last Time" and "Let Me Fall For You". The two bonus tracks serve as a "hope" that life continues and who knows where it will go next.
The acoustic EP, "This Quiet Night" is available exclusively through David Cook's official website and features five tracks.
Available exclusively through the official website is the "This Quiet Night" EP which features five tracks ("The Last Goodbye", "Right Here With You", "Take Me As I Am", "Goodbye to the Girl" and "Paper Heart"). The arrangement on the acoustic EP is gorgeously created and is a delight for fans because you get to hear a raw Cook, stripped down and personable.
This isn’t your traditional album. Quite frankly, it’s by far one of the most personal records I’ve heard in a while. The whole album, from start to finish tells the story of a relationship, each one carrying their own battle and if you listen clearly to the lyrics and pay attention to the mood of the melody, you will hear a gradual tone of a life lived by one or many. It’s quite remarkable to witness and know that someone like David Cook has a profound appreciation for reaching out and relating to the audience the best way he knows how.
Stars: * * * * */5
27 Jun 2011
David Cook gets into the rhythm of 'This Loud Morning'
By Brian Mansfield, USA TODAY
Updated 1h 24m ago
It took David Cook a while to get into the rhythm of making his new album, This Loud Morning. Initially, American Idol's seventh winner thought he'd have the album out a full year ago. But he kept writing and he kept recording. And then he wrote and recorded some more.
Eventually, he came up with the dozen songs that make up This Loud Morning, a song cycle that begins and ends with songs that reference sleep terminology -- Circadian and Rapid Eye Movement. The latter song, he says, came along early in the writing process and became a reference point for the album. "When I finished that song, I immediately felt inspired to write five more songs," he says. "I don't know that we would have this record without that song."
David recently spent a few minutes with me talking about the process that let to This Loud Morning, out Tuesday.
When This Loud Morning started streaming on AOL a few days ago, the initial reaction from fans and critics was very positive. Two and a half years after your first album, how did that make you feel?
Beats the alternative. We've got a long haul ahead of us, but I've been very pleased with the initial reaction. After a year and a half of working on this album, I'm just glad people are listening to it.
Last year, you spoke of wanting to release a single in April and an album in July -- 0f 2010. Getting the album out took almost exactly a year more than you anticipated then. What took so long?
First off, you've got to love when I open my mouth and say something like that. I felt terrible about that.
I've always worked quickly, historically. This is my 10th record that I've done, overall, including band stuff and all that. And I've always been notoriously fast in the studio. Not necessarily that it has been the greatest quality, but you know.
At any rate, going into this, I was like, "Alright, six months, we'll be good to go."
Sure. You did the last album that quickly, so why not?
Exactly. It can be done.
Then, when we really got into this record, it became apparent that it was going to take a while. We were going to have to chase some of these songs.
Right Here, With You is a prime example. That song took the better part of a year to get finished. The record was the biggest challenge I've ever had. It tested my resolve quite a bit.
What took so long with Right Here, With You -- the writing of the song itself or the arrangement and production?
Really, all of it. Lyrically, we went through quite a few drafts. I was doing a lot of the lyrics through correspondence with Ryan Star. Everything was kind of that way: We'd put some guitar parts down and go to the next song. Then we'd come back to Right Here, With You and go, "We should probably re-do some of those guitar parts." We'd re-do the guitar parts and go, "That's really cool, but now we've got to change the bass." Then we'd go back and change some of the guitars again. It became this constantly evolving thing. But it's interesting to listen to the demo then listen to the final version and see where that song went.
Which songwriters did you really connect with as you wrote for This Loud Morning?
The first one that pops into my head is Ryan Star. Ryan opened for us roughly 50 percent of the dates on the last tour. We did something like 154 shows, so [that gave me] plenty of time to build up an amazing relationship with Ryan, his band and his family.
Going into a writing session with him was fun -- just an opportunity to hang out with a friend again. I did Right Here, With You with him, Gregg Wattenberg and [the Goo Goo Dolls'] Johnny Rzeznik. I love those songs that are lyrically a bit post-apocalyptic, "When the world's falling down, it's you and me against the world." I love that whole "2012 mentality."
I can also say David Hodges, in the sense that we worked with David on the last record and the song that "made" the album was a bonus track. But Hodges and I write, like, 10 songs for this record. We hit a stride with one another. He really helped me in the sense of finding some of those cornerstone moments on the record -- songs like Circadian and Rapid Eye Movement, the bookends. Those songs are so vital to the life of this record. He was pretty essential.
Had you written with Marti Frederiksen before?
I had not. Marti came in late in the process. I wrote with Marti in November, if I remember correctly. It was literally like, "We're doing two more weeks of writing, then we're done writing for this record and what we have is what we have; let's see if we can top anything." We went in with Marti and wrote two songs -- Time Marches On and Take Me As I Am. Both on the record.
Marti's got the same sensibilities I do about writing, at least when he's working with me. It's that rock mentality with just a pinch of pop sensibility. I love those two songs and what they became. And we knocked out both those songs pretty quick, a day each.
Did I see you had, like, 80 songs that you had to cull to 12?
I've got quite a few demos sitting on my laptop, yeah.
The writing process was a constant state of one-upmanship. We'd write a song and be like, "That's making the record." Then I'd write another song, and it would top the first song. So we've got some great songs. They just didn't make the cut.
I don't know what's going to happen to them. We may hold on to them. You might hear another artist do them somewhere down the line. I have no idea. But I will say I was a little burned out on writing there for a while.
Artists never really finish albums, they just stop making them. If you were getting burned out on writing, why didn't you just stop writing?
I grew up playing sports. So I've always been of the mentality that when you're tired, that's when you've got to push yourself. When you're burned out, you've got to keep making forward progress. Sometimes it's a great thing, and sometimes it's a terrible thing. Sometimes I will push myself too far and burn out. We were dangerously close at one point on this record.
But I don't know that these songs would have come out of any other scenario. Songs like Goodbye to the Girl, Rapid Eye Movement and Circadian, these songs that pack such an emotional wallop. I don't k now that I would have been able to pull those songs out of myself had I not been just exhausted.
This Loud Morning does ride that emotional edge of exhaustion. It's not an album without hope, but it does sound like you started to get tired of working through things.
You live and you learn. I got out on the road, and all these things happened, both good and bad. I played to this crowd of 115,000 in Manila, which is absurd. I'm halfway around the world and a crowd that I can't see the end of is singing my songs back to me. There's no way to adequately process that. So I didn't. I shelved it.
A few weeks before that, my brother passed away. Within three weeks of each other, these extreme highs and lows that I just didn't process.
I got off the road, and I was generally exhausted anyway, because from the time I started Idol, I still hadn't stopped. So while I was trying to write this record, those things were popping up, and I was having to deal with them, essentially, on the fly.
Even though you've actually made several albums, for most people in your audience, this is your sophomore album. Historically, that's dangerous territory for Idols. Does that make you nervous?
No ... well, yes and no.
No, in the sense that I know other people are look at it like that. If I allow myself to buy into others' anxiety ... I've got enough of my own. I put a lot of pressure on myself with this record, but not necessarily to hit a certain sales threshold. I've had a few conversations in the past few months about how interesting it is that the last album sold 1.3, 1.4 million records and yet the views on my career are so skewed in opposite directions.
You take it for what it is. I'm really happy we sold 1.3 million records. If that's enough for somebody, awesome. If that's not enough for somebody else, okay.
If I can put out this record and be 100 percent proud of it and behind it, from beginning to end, then whatever happens, happens. The pressure for me, and the anxiety and the nervousness, stems from having this record be perceived as a great record. And kind of nothing more. Hopefully, everybody thinks it's a great record.
You were the first of what became known as the White Guys With Guitars. Did you break American Idol?
[David chuckles] God, I guess. I don't know. Three's a trend, and, if you count Scotty McCreery as a white guy with a guitar, we're at four. Part of me feels like they're saying, "He's a white guy, so he's a white guy with a guitar, so let's move on."
For the long-term viability of Idol as a show and a brand, it'd be nice to see that trend break. But it would be dismissive to say that Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze and Scotty and myself don't deserve to be where we're at. I think it's a lofty, lofty conversation. But if people think that I broke Idol ... I don't know, is that a compliment?
You don't perform Time of My Life live, but it's still the song from your catalog that gets the most airplay. What's your relationship with that song?
That song is always going to hold a special place in my musical history. I acknowledge that.
The thought process behind not playing it initially started as, "Okay, I've got this record coming out, and I want people to focus on this record. I want this record to be what people talk about." So we didn't play it.
I don't ever want to play a show and have that moment where some song sticks out for the wrong reason. Playing that song, we ran the risk of it not blending with the rest of the show. That's really where it stems from.
We don't play it. It's not out of any disdain or anger towards the song. I would hate to force it and have an audience member know that we're forcing it.
So no chance it comes back into the set any time soon?
Not any time soon.
When you started recording This Loud Morning, what did you feel that this album needed to do for you?
I just knew that I couldn't make a collection of songs. I needed to make an album. And I needed to outdo myself.
The industry is turning into a singles-driven market. Very much so. Albums are becoming this odd bit of nostalgia, I guess. I don't want to be a singles artist; it's not something that interests me. I like making records. It's kind of the main reason I do this.
I just felt like I needed to make a great record, so I just went after it. I didn't want to make a good record; I didn't want to make an average record. I didn't want to get anything but a great record.
I had a different resolve for this record. Things I might have said okay to, musically, on any other record, weren't good enough. The end result is that this record is as close as I've ever gotten to being this weird Axl Rose-ish perfectionist.
You say you don't want to be a singles artist, but when I hear the choruses on just about every song, I hear a guy thinking with radio and live performances in mind. It's not just someone being creative; it's a guy caring about crafting songs that will make an immediate impact.
I'm glad to hear you say that, but that was never the motivating factor for me. I love making records. As such, I'm less concerned with the best songs and more concerned with the right songs. Being in the music business, there's an interplay between the two.
I've always been of the mind that if you can craft a record that is great from beginning to end, there are going to be singles in there. That's how I attacked it. I'm glad to hear you say that, because it means I did my job.
21 Apr 2011
David Cook, ‘The Last Goodbye’ – Song Review
by: Scott Shetler Yesterday
David Cook The Last GoodbyeSeason seven ‘American Idol’ champ David Cook is back with a new up-tempo rock song, ‘The Last Goodbye,’ from his next album ‘This Loud Morning.’
Written by Cook with Ryan Tedder, the song describes a relationship that clearly didn’t work out, judging by the opening line, “If you hear this on the radio, then we’ve already said our last goodbye.”
Cook sounds surprisingly upbeat despite his obvious heartbreak: “We were almost beautiful, a broken piece of art put on display / But we were never possible, another perfect moment thrown away.”
The track was produced by Matt Serletic and has the clean, polished sound Serletic has brought to rock acts like Matchbox Twenty and Collective Soul.
The song isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but its appealing melody and Cook’s strong voice make it one of the better songs he has recorded to date.
‘The Last Goodbye’ is the lead single from ‘This Loud Morning,’ Cook’s sophomore album, due June 28. The song will get plenty of nationwide exposure when Cook plays it live on ‘Idol’ tonight.
20 Apr 2011
New Song: David Cook, 'The Last Goodbye'
Posted 4 hrs ago by Eliot Glazer in Celebrity, Music
When he beat out the precious David Archuleta to win the seventh season of "American Idol," David Cook momentarily proved that the show isn't necessarily fueled exclusively by puppy-dog-cute pop singers (although Cook isn't necessarily hard on the eyes, either). Unlike some other Idols, David has fared quite well as a rock singer -- his last album went platinum, and he's toured steadily -- even coming out of the same show that begat Sanjaya.
Now David Cook's returned with a second major-label album, This Loud Morning, featuring a new song called "The Last Goodbye." It's an instantly catchy, guitar-driven lamentation on love lost, with a drop of ornamental electro elements thrown in for good measure. And oh those "woah oh ohs." For the most part, though, the uptempo slice of Americana brings to mind Angels & Airwaves and fellow "Idol" Kelly Clarkson.
We're used to "David Cook: Rock Star" sounding a bit more brooding with slower songs that fall into the soft rock arena, so it's pretty cool to hear something a little more fast-paced from the guy. It's definitely a contender for being one of the biggest rock songs of the summer, perfect for riding around with the top down.
What do you think of David's new song? Let us know in the comments!
18 Apr 2011
David Cook - "The Last Goodbye"
David Cook Unveils First Official Single from Third CD 'This Loud Morning'
About.com Rating 4/5 Star Rating
By John Hill, About.com Contributing Writer
While fans of David Cookgot a musical teaser of his second CD in February 2011 with "(Don't You) Forget About Me," that song was intended primarily as the outgoing contestants' theme song for the tenth season of American Idol, which he won in season seven. The big test of what David Cook would deliver on his third release This Loud Morning came on the evening of April 18, 2011 when his website began streaming the first official single "The Last Goodbye." Did the song measure up to his previous material? Check out this review of David Cook's "The Last Goodbye" for all the details.
While David Cook's first singles from his two major label CDs are both upbeat, there are not many similarities past that fact. While "Light On" from his self-titled CD was written by another artist (Chris Cornell of Soundgarden), "The Last Goodbye was co-written by David Cook and prolific singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic). This difference becomes very clear as you listen to David Cook's vocal delivery, which suits his vocal range much better than "Light On" did when he sang it live. David Cook's vocal gift is that his voice gives life to lyrics that makes them believable and easy to relate to, and that quality comes across as Cook sings "cause we were everything that's right at the wrong time." A singer with a crystal-clear voice would not be able to deliver a David Cook song like "The Last Goodbye" with the same power and impact that Cook conveys.
"A Broken Piece of Art Put on Display"
If there is one fault in "The Last Goodbye," it is that the lyrical content isn't as strong as David Cook is capable of bringing to a song. Lines like "we were almost beautiful" are a bit cliched, and for an artist who was described on American Idol season seven as a "word nerd," there is an expectation of greatness for the lyrics on every song released. It may be an unreasonable expectation, but it's tough to ignore okay lyrics when an artist is capable of greatness. Having said that, the song stands above most of the pop/rock fare offered up today as it describes the main character's last words and best wishes to his departing beloved.
What's the Verdict?
Overall, David Cook's third release is off to a strong start with "The Last Goodbye" as its first single. Strong vocal delivery, solid storytelling and a sing-along chorus complete with Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody"-style "whoa ohs" come together for a great song that should do big business at Adult Pop and Top 40 radio stations across the country. Only a major catastrophe would keep David Cook's second post-Idol release from being a hit.
"The Last Goodbye" was released on April 19, 2011 as the first single preceding his third CD This Loud Morning.
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