The fact that David is retaining any visibility at all as a true musician in the midst of the tsunami that is Jive’s marketimanufactory is a freaking miracle. Even aside from the album’s assembly line production and overwrought arrangements (if we could convert just the violins into currency we would have enough for another bailout package), there’s this infuriating business of bonus tracks, extra cuts, special releases, deluxe editions and retail channel exclusives. I’ve purchased the dang album twice already and I still don’t have all the songs.
Memo to Jive: When you’re too slick, you’re slimy.
I understand that David is just doing the very little best he can within a wide web of music industry hacks and spiders, and feeling grateful for the opportunity to live his dream. Well, I hope he gets over that but quick. David has too much depth and too much heart to continue for too long to play the good industrial soldier so that others can shore up their coffers before the tweens move on to the next doe-eyed boy crooner.
For all his sweet softiness, David has a steel spine when it comes to his principles and his work ethic. He will need to start thinking about where his principles are with regard to not only his musical integrity but also his market integrity. Is he going to tow the industry line of maximum exploitation (have they even allowed him to sleep in the past three weeks?), or is he going to devise a more personal approach, one that matches his own interests and sensibilities more closely?
At the very least, I hope David is observing and absorbing what the wing-tipped American music industry considers important, where its interests really lie, and how its methods may–or may not–play to the more thoughtful and sensitive factions of the music consuming public. Maybe it wouldn’t matter if David didn’t appeal so much to the truly thoughtful and sensitive among us (even though this album doesn’t really map to that). But the many, many stories about expanded awareness, personal transformation, and spiritual breakthroughs triggered by David’s earlier performances tell an extremely unique story about this artist, and they are about as uncommon as Jive’s venal marketing methods are common.
When David signed on to be an American Idol, he made a Faustian bargain that he’ll need to live up to for a time. I only hope his commitment to purity and avoiding corruption extends beyond the corporeal to more complex cultural and economic dimensions.