David Cook's 'This Loud Morning:' Track-By-Track
On his new album, the "American Idol" season 7 winner delivers multi-layered vocals and meaty solos while wearing his heart on his sleeve. Now that's what we call a well-rounded rocker.
American Idol season 7 winner David Cook releases his second album today (June 28) nearly three years after his platinum-plus-selling self-titled debut. Featuring arena rock-ready licks with multi-layered vocals that were made for radio, it promises to be another hit for the Missouri native, who stole America’s heart in 2008.
The first real rock singer to emerge from the competition, Cook doesn’t skimp on the shredding or the vocal doubling on This Loud Morning, which should delight fans seeking their own version of Cook surround-sound. The album was produced by Matt Serletic (Matchbox 20, Taylor Hicks) in his Calabasas, Calif. studio but written all over the world as Cook made stops in London, Vancouver and Stockholm.
The final finished product arrives today to iTunes and retailers like Best Buy, whose Union Square New York City store is hosting a live performance by Cook at 6pm. The first 200 in line at midnight on the morning of the 28th were given preferential wristbands and a surprise visit from Cook himself with boxes of pizza in hand, a class act if ever there was one.
Curious about the long-anticipated record or just looking to compare notes? Read on for THR’s track-by-track rundown...
This Loud Morning starts out quietly, with the child-like twinkle of bells leading to an acoustic piano played with purpose. It’s all part of building up to an anthemic opening chorus: “I’m closing my eyes because once the sun rises, it’s out of my hands.” Truer words were never spoken. Crunchy guitars eventually give way to a meaty solo during the bridge and we’re off to the rock-n-roll races.
“Right Here With You”
If there was any doubt whether David Cook could write a radio-ready single, here it is. At 35 seconds in, Cook hands the hook over on a silver platter with an undeniable chorus, while during the verses, he gives a nod to the kind of driving beat you’d expect hear in a Bruce Springsteen song. He melds old with new in the bridge, which finds Cook firmly in falsetto territory -- and it suits him! But in the end, it’s back to Cook’s solo vocal, bringing you down from the high. Hats off to co-writers Ryan Star, Goo Goo Dolls’s Johnny Rzeznik and Gregg Wattenberg.
Spewing positivity in another anthemic number co-written by Brits Julian Emery and Jim Irvin, Cook doubles his own vocal with a lower harmony to great effect with this rocker. The message is a powerful one: “We believe there’s a reason we’re all here, and every doubt will disappear.”
“Fade Into Me”
The swell of a string section accentuates this ballad, which opens with an acoustic guitar borrowed from the Goo Goo Dolls songbook. Cook sings of being broken, then made whole by a love, seeking escape and camouflage in a harsh world. The violins drive the point home in another stellar bridge (someone’s clearly been practicing) then, appropriately, fade out.
“Hard to Believe”
David Hodges co-wrote this rocker, which begins with a military march-like snare drum and ends with the sort of multi-layered harmonies you’d expect from a Journey song. But is that Cook’s Missouri accent seeping into the word believe? How else do you explain the quirky pronunciation, “belaaaave?” No matter, it still rocks.
“Take Me As I Am”
The album’s halfway point is both a reflective and hopeful one co-written by Marti Frederiksen. Cook offers an invitation of sorts: come along for the rest of the ride, but take him for what he is and not the labels foisted upon him -- namely: Idol. “We can take tonight and make it last forever if you dare,” Cook sings. And he means it.
“Time Marches On”
One of the most heartfelt and heart-wrenching moments of the album, David Cook instantly differentiates himself from the Daughtrys of the world by avoiding the macho and sticking to the vulnerable. This song literally hurts. After witnessing his brother Adam's death from brain cancer, there’s extra potency in a line like, “I never thought I’d see myself down here, in the same damn place in a different year.” But Cook makes sure to bring it back to the simple things in life, like the count of “one, two, three” in the background.
“The Last Goodbye”
Cook’s first single, co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, is an obvious contender: it has the instant gratification chorus, it references the very medium on which it hopes to live -- radio -- and it calls for the chant of a captive audience big or small.
David Cook was born in 1982, the year British band Tears for Fears spent working on their seminal debut album, The Hurting, which makes the vibe of “Paper Heart” all the more fitting. Long vocal lines (a la Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” later sung on Idol by Adam Lambert) and an echo-y guitar lead bring to mind other greats from that decade, but fret not: it’s all thoroughly contemporary.
“4 Letter Word”
Direct from the word nerd himself is a noun just as impactful as that other four-letter word that starts with F. Any fan knows Cook’s a smart guy, and here he is clearly in his comfort zone and playing to his strengths. Having this song in the middle of a demanding set list will allow his voice to rest ever so slightly, seeing as it’s squarely in the middle of his range. As for the sentiment, can you really go wrong with L-O-V-E?
“Goodbye to the Girl”
In a signal that This Loud Morning is winding down, Cook says goodbye with this epic ballad. Vocals take center stage on the song, which features no harmonies but lets Cook’s rich tone speak for itself. Also deserving of the spotlight? A Ritchie Blackmore-esque solo which puts a final exclamation point on the tune guitarist Neil Tiemann co-wrote with bandmate Andy Skib. But ultimately the unsung hero has to be that killer organ chord humming warmly just below the surface.
“Rapid Eye Movement”
The final track of the non-deluxe version begins with all the gusto of a Smashing Pumpkins song then dives head-first into Cook terrain with another crusher of a chorus. If the drums (courtesy of Kyle Peek) didn’t sound massive before, the album’s closer makes sure they ring in your ear well after the last note is sung. It’s here that Cook incorporates the album’s title with the line, “Give me one more night before this loud morning gets it right and does me in,” and brings it all back around. What’s next? Breakfast for a champion, of course.
Tell us, Idol Worshipers: what’s your favorite song on This Loud Morning and why?