What’s on the menu?
Second album speculation
David, who usually expresses uncertainty when talking to fans about his upcoming music, is overcome with excitement in his latest video blog when talking about his upcoming album:
I just can’t wait for you guys to hear these songs! … I feel you guys will really get to feel me in these songs because I’m… a part of the writing, and so part of my ideas and just how I feel are in these songs.
Aside from the involuntary joy one feels while viewing a David video blog, one can’t help but feel enormous anticipation with this one as well. For David—who is a perfectionist in many things and admires the musical greats of the past—to feel a sense of accomplishment and joy in sharing his own musical production can only bode well for the quality of his second pop venture. David’s unique choices in selecting and styling his songs reveal an impeccable musical instinct.
How many frikkin songs has David written already? It seems like it’s almost every day we receive a tweet announcing a new song that David helped write. David’s first album was largely written for him, and recorded in hasty sessions at different stops over the course of the 2008 Idol Tour. David had very little time and/or experience to “find his voice” in the decision-making process regarding the larger choices for the album. Now, David’s initial forays in wielding a hand in his own destiny in both business and music will show their first fruits. David, Part Deux promises to surpass the original.
Okay, so David says that the next album will better reflect him? That we’ll “really get to feel” him in these songs? What will come from David’s self-admittedly and wonderfully “weird” and “spacey” mind? What should David’s confession of “me-ness” tell us about the musical styles and lyrics we can expect on the album?
Hardly anything at all, I’m afraid.
We have even less of an idea of what music is in store this time around, precisely because David has had such heavy involvement in the process. Any look at David’s musical and thematic inclinations will show that they are wildly varied. He can command a variety of genres, best exemplified during his American Idol days. One of the sources of excitement in following a young prodigious talent like David is the constant potential for surprise and discovery.
David has provided us with no hints. We’re left with looking back at what David has written or helped write in the past, to get any idea of what might be on the menu for his next album. So, shall we?
1. “Works for Me” – Sassy, Bluesy, Attitudy David?
How many of us thought David had a song like “Works for Me” in him? The song was co-written with Daniel Bedingfield and, with its soul influences and bluesy guitar hook, calls for strutting and finger-snapping. We also hear little bluesy, soulful touches that David brings on in full glory in his covers of “Crazy” and “Waiting on the World to Change.” All that’s missing is a glimpse of the Archuneck that David whipped out while singing “Shop Around.” In one interview, David has said that his new album will show more how he thinks. Looking at the lyrics to WFM, we see a witty, confident, and humorous side of David. Perhaps we’ll get to see some of this David in the album?
2. “Somebody Out There” – David the Love Balladeer?
Surprisingly, David’s first album did not include a ballad that had strong radio potential, especially given that this genre was the box many people put David in after his singing “Imagine.” It will be interesting to see whether David and the label opt for a strong ballad as one of his singles this time around. I thought that “Somebody Out There,” co-written with Mike Krompass, may not have had the potential of becoming a pop hit, but still it was the most musically interesting and lyrically strong of the three love ballads on David’s first album (though this was only on an extended version of the album). The lyrics and music expressed a simple, earnest, generous affection, spoken as if in an intimate conversation, that one doesn’t hear in many love ballads. Perhaps we will hear David bring some new ballads on his next album. The pop world needs a fresh, sincere voice like David’s.
3. “Don’t Tell Me” – The Rhythmic Pop Supah-Dupah Star?
This is another possible route that David and his management could use to establish some early commercial success off his album. While a young teenager, David apparently wrote the melody and lyrics to “Don’t Tell Me” while another musician filled out the arrangement. With a catchy melody that progresses well from one section to the next, it is an amazingly proficient piece of pop work, especially considering it came from such a young artist. When I first heard this, I immediately thought it was influenced by Christina Aguilera’s “Stripped” album – David probably could rock some rhythmic pop if wanted to. The verses to “A Little Too Not Over You” – also co-written by David in tandem with Mike Krompass – also show his melodic creativity in this mode of music.
4. “Falling” – David the Soul Artist at the Piano?
In my opinion, this song, though it didn’t cause a sensation in the fandom (see #5), gives the clearest glimpse of the heights David can potentially reach with his music. The MUSIC (ahh, the music!), with its dramatic chord passages and his tenor voice soaring above them, show a David that is prepared to and entirely capable of bringing forth big emotion in his music. Perhaps David will bring us something spiritual and transcendental? A message of social relevance? Or something exploring the painful side of the human experience? We shall see.
5. “Zero Gravity” – David the Club King?
Ahh, “Zero Gravity.” Did any of the fans expect David to produce a song that, with the right production, would comfortably fit on the same station with Ke$ha and Lady Gaga? Like “Don’t Tell Me,” ZG’s catchy hooks and natural progressions from one section to the next make it a very strong pop song. But even more than DTM, ZG is such an earworm that it just has you singing along after a few listens – which is a key ingredient for a pop radio hit, and means that this was possibly a lost opportunity for a second successful single. With pop music becoming increasingly influenced by techno and other kinds of dance music, one can see David and his label trying to experiment with a dance track or two on the new album, at least as bonus tracks.
Given David’s wide range of musical inclinations, one wonders how he and the label will come to an agreement as to what will be on his next album. Perhaps David’s album will be eclectic? Or perhaps it will be a cohesive mission statement that declares, “This is me”?
On that, we don’t have an answer either(!). And perhaps everything I have said has been worthless drivel based on wild speculation.
But that doesn’t make speculation any less fun.
So everybody join in!! What do you think will be on the menu? And what are you craving!