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.

Posted on July 23, 2009, in music. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. “When did we forget about the music itself?”

    That’s an excellent question. Somehow, American Idol causes the focus to shift to sales. Perhaps because most of the music is quite horrible and has no actual content?

    I still pay attention to sales figures occasionally, which annoys me greatly. Before my first (and last) American Idol experience (Season 7), I never paid attention to the business side of music. Now I want to recapture that state of mind.

    • hell0g0rge0us

      You know, Peter, you raise a good point. Until I started watching AI, I didn’t pay attention to anything as crass as sales either. I was just into the music. If you follow their idea of success, either you make a platinum album, or you’re just a total loser. I actually saw someone call David a “loser” on one of those loser forums b/c he hasn’t reached platinum sales with his debut album. In whose world is 700K sales the work of a loser?

      • His album has also been called a flop for that same reason, even though only a very few albums sell more than 700,000 copies these days. Adam Lambert, for example, will need all the support he can get from AI to match David’s accomplishment.

        I no longer read AI blogs, because all they discuss is sales and because I don’t think it’s healthy to be that interested in a reality show. Also, for some reason, many AI bloggers feel threatened by David, which gets really old after a while.

        And I secretly hope that David will not renew his contract with his current label because of its connections to AI.

  2. hell0g0rge0us

    I too kinda secretly hope David doesn’t renew his contract; not just because of the label’s connections to AI but also because I’m not sure it’s the right musical fit for him (and promotion could be better).

  3. HG – Terrific analysis once again. Everytime David recommends a song of the day I try to imagine just what about it appealed to him – lyrics, melody, artist, interpretation, styling? – the list goes on. One of my greatest wishes for David is based on one of your previous articles – “That Archuleta Sound”.

    The thing about David is that his brain is wired for music as simple as a snippet which can come out in conversation, to an entire symphony. As you rightly said, who will be the lucky producer that clicks with him to mold and harness that focus.

    What is Daughtry’s secret that he can sell almost 300,000 copies in just a couple weeks? We are not in a horse race here but I sometimes wonder if pure pop is really David’s destiny?

  4. OK I showed a little bunny love on TDC but I think everyone went to bed…Either that or everyone is still shell shocked!

  5. Sponge David was at a Jack’s Mannequin / The Fray concert last night (as if you didn’t already know that).

  6. My totally uninformed prediction:

    David’s second album (or anything by David) will not receive much promotion because Jive already knows David will not renew his contract.

  7. That’s a bold prediction. Whether David renews or not, I would assume it’s in the label’s interest to promote their own artist.

  8. I guess Jeff is Executive Producer in this Christmas album project:


  9. He’s practically begging for more controversy.

  10. Is there more, is there mooooooorrrreeeee?

    Yes, there is:


  11. HG can you please delete my last two comments? I think I’m being a bit too harsh here. I don’t feel good about them. I hit “submit” a little too quickly I think.

    Thank you 🙂

  12. “Whatever will he sound like on music that is well crafted to suit his impeccable voice and his musical ear? “ An this is why I so enjoy following his career. I can’t imagine how he will sound and there’s so much to look forward to.

    Don’t worry LM, while some won’t say it, they’re thinking it. I was listening to an video clip w/Donnie Osmond discussing Michael Jackson. Seems both had conflicts w/their fathers re. their careers. In David’s case, I hope his dad can ultimately look at the situation and do what’s in the best interest of his son.

  13. desertrat, thank you for your understanding. I do feel like I get worked up sometimes and would not want to hurt D with overly harsh comments that may get relayed to him.

    I guess I don’t understand how the label and David’s management would allow this to proceed. Has Jeff Executive Produced any other albums or songs by any other artists? To me, David is so talented, he deserves to be working with a high caliber, experienced team around him. I also remember how mean-spirited some of the reviews were for his first album….Jeff’s name on this one will not help him gain credibility as an independent artist…unfortunately it reinforces the idea that he is “stage-managed”. I think Jeff is stubborn and doesn’t want to listen to the professionals. I recongnize this is pure speculation on my part…

    I know David gets compared alot to MJ, but I actually would like to see him progress in his career like Janet Jackson. I watched a biography on her the other day and it was so interesting. She decided to strike out on her own musically at age 18 or 19, and flew to Minneapolis to write and record an album with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. That album became “Control” – a huge hit due to the catchy music but also emotional impact of the lyric. It was her declaration of independence from her father and taking control of her life and musical career. I would love for David’s next pop album to be a breakthrough like this.

  14. Wow, I never thought of a Janet type career for David. “Control” really shifted Janet’s image from cute girl to young lady finding her way on her own terms. Yeah, I’d love for his 2nd album to launch his career in a similar manner.

    Re. the title ‘executive producer’, I’m guessing (& hoping) that Bestor was exaggerating. I can’t imagine Jive allowing a new artist that level of freedom.

  15. hell0g0rge0us

    LM, I’m loving the idea of a Janet Jackson type direction for David! 🙂 Her “Control” album was awesome!

  16. hell0g0rge0us

    Mikesd, don’t blame me!

  17. What is the name of that Jay-Z song you mentioned, the one in which he raps about “Death by Autotune”? I’d like to hear it.

  18. I think it’s D.O.A (Death of Autotune)

  19. awesome, thanks!

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