Update #1: While I’m gathering my thoughts (and picking my jaw up off the floor), I give you the following as a soundtrack for your comments on this topic. In honor of the new album cover, the following has been selected as the notingDavid Executive Steering Committee Theme Song.
Those of you on the Steering Committee, you know who you are.
Update #2: Wherein Rascal redeems himself from his initial, slightly less-than articulate, “Um. Wow.”
Okay, so, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’ve made my decision. I don’t like it. I love it. This image telegraphs something very specific to the market. Not just from David but from his producers, from his label, from the very people who are tasked with the rather significant responsibility of saying–especially the first time out– “here’s how we think you should consider this artist.”
And the overall message? Serious.
Yes, gosh-dang-it, yes!
It would be easy to talk about things like street cred, or thug rep (if David could look like this in certain areas of my beloved Brooklyn, he’d do just fine), and that’s all well and good, but I don’t think that’s the prevailing message. Seriousness is the message the market should be getting from David’s label on his first time out, even if some of the music is light and fun. This man, despite–and in addition to–his young looks, his tween appeal, his boyish charm, his wholesome lifestyle, and his initial pop-music leanings, is an artist to be taken seriously.
I know all you Mrs. Robinsons out there (God love you) are seeing smolderosity in this picture. And goodness knows (as do most others) that I can see smolderosity in David, too. But I’m not seeing that here. Not nearly as much, anyway, as I am seeing a combination of maturity, sense-of-purpose, real depth, and a degree of certainty that just isn’t possible from lightweights. No, in fact, I suspect that Jive was probably somewhat surprised when the proofs from this photo session arrived; they very likely wanted, and got, a wide range of attitudes and expressions in a variety of outfits. But if this is indeed the official cover shot, then I suspect Jive saw something in this image that they might not have expected to see.
In fact, their surprise may have been perfectly consistent with their experience with David in the production of his music. It’s hard for me to believe (despite the desire that Jive reportedly had for him, and the allegedly good deal he got) that they really and truly had any idea what they were getting. Not, in any case, to the degree that his more serious fans had an idea. I think one of the reasons the Jive marriage has been rocky (and it has), is because Jive had expectations of David that were easily exceeded at every juncture. I can imagine a scene where an underling goes running to management to report, “he’s not doing what we’ve asked for,” and management, after listening to the product of what’s been going on, replies, “You idiot! He’s doing ten-times more than we asked for! Get a better producer!” Of course, that’s just my imagination. But I wouldn’t be surprised.
The release of this image–whether or not it’s the official cover image–is to my mind yet another indication of Jive’s acknowledgment of David as a serious musical artist. It plays against type, but it’s not a misrepresentation. We’ve always all been so amazed at how David can be such a sweet, genial, compassionate, lovely person when he is with fans, or in any situation when he is not singing, and then suddenly, in performance, he turns into this powerhouse of emotion and strength and hunger and pain and resolve and integrity and intelligence. This remarkably serious, intense picture is perhaps the only picture we’ve seen so far that actually captures the David who sings.
And, okay, yeah, he’s hot. Coo coo cachoo.