Daily Archives: July 23, 2009

Sponge David


One thing I always find amusing about David is how he listens to every and anything when it comes to pop music. And when I agree that one of his “songs of the day” really rocks, I think, “Wow, what a genius!”  But when I’m totally in disagreement, I often jump to: “Well, he is only 18!” heh.

The thing about it is, at his age, it’s inspiring to see David absorbing all the different sounds and styles of pop music. It can only make him a better singer/songwriter.  It’s like when I was 18 and an avid bookworm.  I read everything: romance, young adult, mystery, sci-fi, bestsellers, and the classics.  Over time, when I became an English major, I started reading more great literature – both classics and contemporary.  But, exposing myself to a variety of writing styles is what adds fuel to the fire of creativity.  I think of this when David, self-described lover of music, listens to everything and bursts out in song whenever someone mentions a word or phrase that puts him in the mind of a certain melody.  He is very much like a sponge.

So, it is this idea of “Sponge David” that has me excited, once again, for his musical developments.  And I appreciate those fans who equally share in this excitement about David’s vocal and musical versatility.   Someone who is soaking in everything is already honing his craft so that he can find his own voice and eventually develop his own style.  It may be in the family of pop or R&B or world or acoustic sound or electronic dance.  Or, maybe all of the above.  Who knows?  Whatever it is, I’m positive it will be distinctly and purely David. 

On other types of sites, I find it interesting that so much of the discussion is on David’s public image, still, and whether or not he can be “cool” enough to draw in the fans that matter (read: non-female, non-older, non-tweens), or if his less-than-platinum album puts him in jeopardy for getting his Jive contract renewed (rolls eyes).  As fans of music – not necessarily fans of David – I shake my head at such speculations because this is the present state that we’re in, where casual fans no longer care about the music.  Who cares about the “cool factor”?  Who cares that David’s debut album hasn’t reached platinum? I imagine the labels do, but why do music fans care about these things?  When did we forget about the music itself?  

One of the things I’ve admired about David is how his love of music is so organic, so raw, and so real.  He’s made me fall in love with music all over again, in a way that current pop artists fail to do.  He digs deep into a song and makes you “feel” it and “understand” it. He listens to a melody and gets caught up in the rapture.  It’s a beautiful thing, and when Jay-Z raps about “Death by Autotune” (as a way to lament the tragedy of today’s rappers and their lack of lyrical skills), I incongruously think of David, who – when he sings – triumphs over the machine and brings the humanity back into the voice and the music.  Even when he is inspired by auto-tuned voices and generically processed music, it’s like listening to an artist mining through the detritus of our postmodern culture and reworking these bits into a work of beauty.  It’s this element of “Sponge David” that I think has the most tremendous potential in offering the music world something new and fabulous.

With speculations of David’s future work with Island Def Jam (where Jay-Z also resides), and with his contract with Jive coming close to expiration, if we’re to believe his second pop album (and third album with them) is due out next year, I wouldn’t panic if David’s career gets a shake-up, should he switch labels or get dropped.  David needs to work in an environment where his talents are recognizable, where he is seen as more than just a pretty face.  David proves himself at every gig at every concert tour he’s participated in – from AI’s summer tour last year to the Jingle Balls last holiday season to this past spring solo tour to the McFly tour in the UK to his tour of Southeast Asia and, now, with his tour with Demi Lovato.  He improves by leaps and bounds, and that’s just what he’s been able to do with cover songs and a number of rushed songs from his debut album.  Whatever will he sound like on music that is well crafted to suit his impeccable voice and his musical ear?  

We ain’t heard nothing yet, and mostly because we have yet to properly pair David up with his musical equals on the production side.  When that happens, it’s like squeezing good clean water and soapy suds out of a heavy sponge.  Our souls will be cleansed upon hearing such music.