It has been a lively few days here at TDC. A major event in the career of David Archuleta – a CD release – has unleashed a tsunami of articles and comments. TDC is proud that some of the most articulate commenters among the legion of David fans come to visit our little part of the ArchuUniverse. You will find below a reprinting of a dozen of those comments chosen from many that deserved a second reading. They represent a delightful variety of views. Can you find a kindred spirit among them?
Writers – I hope you will forgive us the liberties we took in editing your remarks.
It [the CD] really is breathtakingly beautiful. But it was like having one radio station on while another bleeds through the airwaves. And yes, the other one (the one behind David) sounds a lot like a movie soundtrack. I have no idea how the tracks all came together (and, granted, have no business even commenting!!) but I’m guessing the music was all laid down and brought to David to provide the vocal? Kind of like the maraschino on top of the sunday? And still, even with those aspects at odds, it is a significant addition to my holiday treasure chest already.
In fact I think it (WCIT) is perfect on every level. David’s vocals are simple, loving, gorgeous as he paints the scene in the manger. Reverent, with just the right amount of orchestration. Then as he leads toward the crescendo, of “This, this is Christ the Lord,” the orchestra picks up more. Then he pulls back and the orchestra is full blown, in my mind providing the larger/historic/sweeping impact of this simple event. Then back to the simplicity again of David’s voice back in the manger. To me it is the yin and the yang. It is in my mind brilliant and takes the listener on a journey.
I agree that some songs have a little heavy (but beautiful) orchestra arrangement, and like I said before, the first time I heard the album, that was a little distracting, but…for me David’s voice and Christmas songs are the perfect match.
quote from Rascal: “Christmas From the Heart [is] the closest we have yet gotten to who David Archuleta is as an artist and indeed as a person. If ever there was a moment to take him seriously, this is it.”
I agree, and thus the opportunity to establish gravitas amongst David’s more highly acclaimed peers. Aside from being a gift to David’s fans, this particular effort may be viewed as a clarion call – however bold – towards legitimacy, and ultimately to achieve similar status. Time will tell, but this is clearly a positive step forward.
Sometimes I feel lucky to not have that kind of knowledge [technical musical knowledge], I am able to just sit back and listen for the pure pleasure of it. On this album, I will say that there are a few times here and there where I also felt I had to strain to hear David’s voice, and we all know he has the power in his voice to be heard. But I think at his concerts it may be a different story. With minimal back up, hopefully his voice will ring strong and clear.
First I’d like to say that I’m enjoying the album and can’t stop playing it. I believe that all the producers/arrangers are very talented in their own right and that David’s vocals are gorgeous. My primary critique is that, IMHO, the executive producer didn’t select arrangers/producers who best complement David’s vocal ability or know how to take his vocals to the next level.
It came down to two things this morning for me…the technical vs. the magical. My mind vs. my heart. Rascal has analyzed the technical astutely here and makes a valid point about David’s intentions and the importance of following the Voice. As usual…with David…I’m inclined to follow my heart.
I’ve only listened to CFTH 3 full-out times. This morning was the most magical…early, rainy, Sunday morning, candles lit, cup of tea…silence…then CFTH. I love it. I love it. It moves me. I hear David’s intention, his reverence, his faith. I recall one particularly spiritual Christmas memory from my childhood, one snowy Christmas Eve after midnight mass. In that way, for me, David accomplished what he set out to do with his Christmas message this year.
The orchestration levels are certainly a matter of taste, and even that can change over time. While I hear nothing but the sublime in each and every track, my feeling that the interlude in WCIT, just as a for instance, is a bit excessive is only because it takes me *out* of the feeling that David has so profoundly opened me to in the first part of the song, rather than more deeply into it. It has an effect like a switching point in the train tracks, which cause the train to go off in a different direction. A bit less there would have provided “the yin and yang”—as rae described it above—perfectly well. For me, it changed the channel.
After being bombarded by these songs year after year, I have come to realize, I was totally numb to them. I have found with David’s Christmas CD, I am HEARING them once again. I want to hear every note, every word, every emotion and savor them. This is a new awakening in me of the meaning of these songs. Love songs INDEED. My leaking eyes and grateful voice say, thank you David, I will cherish this gift you have given to me through your beautiful voice.
Did he or did he not accomplish his goal? [From the liner notes:] “This album represents my love for the Christmas time, and what it really is all about. The main purpose of this album was to share my testimony with all of you of my love for this special time of year . . . I hope you can all feel that in the music.” Since we know that in the end David cares much more about how he makes people feel than the technical aspects behind his music, even Rascal stated that he accomplished his goal. His relationship with the Beloved One was what he was aiming for people to feel and there can be no doubt that this has happened. I don’t care if it goes on the top of the tree or stays a sentimental favorite ornament, it’s the one I will most look forward to unwrapping each season.
What can I say of David’s vocal performance in this album? He is absolutely glorious in the very long note ‘looove’ in JTTW, haunting in WCIT, tongue-twistingly, syncopatedly and linguistically adept in Pat-A-Pan and Riu Riu Chiu. He can definitely hold his own against a rich orchestral backdrop in O Holy Night, The First Noel, O Come All Ye Faithful and Angels We Have Heard on High. I didn’t strain to hear him sing; his voice is eerily luminous in all the songs.
I know that some Christmas songs have big instrumentation – that adds to the excitement or contributes to a bigger effect. I really love the album anyway, but thinking about how Contigo en La Distancia or Imagine turned out made me think of how the album “could” have been. I can see both sides of this. David does not need music to help him carry a tune, the music needs him lol.