Judging from the Song Snippets…

Which is to say: it’s really hard to judge song snippets!  But, from what I can tell, David sounds heavenly.  Nice and crisp and clear and smooth.  As he always does.  

The trick, of course, is to support that Voice, a Voice that is minimalist in its approach, minimizing on excess but packing a punch with what it keeps.  I kind of expect the accompanying arrangement to complement this musical principle that David himself practices.  I do believe, from the samples, some songs do this more successfully than others.  Again, it’s hard to tell.  For all I know, there may be choral accompaniments in some of the songs, perhaps an a capella opening, bridge, or closing in others.  Obviously I’m expressing some of my hopes on some of the songs.  What I would give for an a capella opening on “Silent Night,” and a triumphal choir backing him up on “Joy to the World”  and “Angels, We Have Heard on High” (honestly, these are not soloist’s songs) and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” 

The strongest samples, to me, are “O Holy Night” (how smart to not leak the crescendo on this carol, which I’m sure is guaranteed to deliver goosebumps everywhere) and “Riu Riu Chiu,” a lovely stripped down guitar accompaniment (with some strings and is that a harp I hear?) complements David’s Spanish enunciations effortlessly.  His duet with Charice sounds promising, but unfortunately, David’s voice isn’t showcased here all that much.  Still, the production on this sounds quite jazzy, as does the production on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” I’m digging the uptempo beat on “Pat-a-Pan” (a carol I absolutely hated since I only had Bing Crosby’s version to go by), and the slowed down mournful dirge of “What Child is This” is making me already melancholy for the holidays.  I have a feeling this is the one certain folks said would make us weep.  “Ave Maria” is simply stunning in its delivery just from the sample.

The weakest link?  The only original song, courtesy of Jeff & Co.  Of course, it’s too short to really judge this fairly.  For all I know, maybe David kills it on the bridge, but the refrain is a little too generic and – gasp! – cheesy.  In that Contemporary Christian music sort of way (not a fan of this genre in the way that I love gospel).  I know Christmas songs tend to have  a layer of Velveeta, but the production on this commits the one sin David has been quite adept at avoiding: EXCESS.  The backup vocals alone make me cringe (now, had they brought out the Choir here, I might be singing a different tune – pun intended).  I’ll have to hear this song in its entirety before I deliver my final verdict.  Still, I’m of the belief that an original Christmas song should be able to transcend the cheese.

Think Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song, or Judy Garland’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, or  Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (capturing that 60s sound so well),  or Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas (capturing that 80s sound so well).

If we were going to get an original, I would have loved a more soulful, catchy song – something akin to a Christmas-themed “Crush.”  Or, what about an original Christmas-themed love ballad?  Gee, all of a sudden, I wish David Foster had been called on board to “executive produce” this baby.  Oh well.  

And I still want “Feliz Navidad” and “The Chestnut Song”! (that’s The Christmas Song for those not in the know). 

Despite these shortcomings, it’s a very promising showcase from just the snippets.  At least we have only two weeks before hearing the full album! 🙂

Posted on September 30, 2009, in music. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the analysis, HG!!!

    I concur with your overall assessment. I think they could have done with a few less traditional carols and a few more current Christmas/holiday themed songs. Like you suggested, a Christmas “Crush.” Even a love song called “My Angel” or something to that effect could have been included. Or how about a Christmas “Works for Me?” Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is one of my absolute favorites….David would kill belting out a number like this.

    Of the tiny snippets, Pat-A-Pan is the most interesting to me, and one I can most imagine being added to holiday soundtracks at the mall, on the Christmas stations, because it’s unique and sounds a bit current in the production (maybe Eman helped with this one?). My 2nd fave is Riu Riu Chiu.

    Of course, this is judging based on miniscule snippets. Waiting to hear the whole enchilada 🙂

  2. LittleM, I’m not sure I would want David singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Maybe because it’s a song that sounds like it’s made for a female singer. Not that David couldn’t make it his own, but I would have preferred David do an original that was similar in theme to this Christmas song.

    I think what is missing from the album is some youthful fun. I know, I know, this is coming from someone who had bemoaned the fact that David was being marketed to Disney tweens. Still, a few catchy secular tunes like “Feliz Navidad” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (love this carol – ha!) would have toned down the religious theme – just a tad. I mean, I love traditional carols as much as anybody, but really? Did we need “Joy to the World,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” as our first three tracks from the album?

    Not to mention, as I already said, those three carols ARE NOT soloist songs! They work best as choral arrangements. If David’s got a big ol’ Choir accompanying him on these carols, I won’t complain. But, it seems at least one of them could have been exchanged for a secular carol just to break up the church-heavy feel at the beginning.

    I also believe a few fun secular carols would actually bring more gravity to the traditional carols that showcase a soloist’s voice, like “O Holy Night,” “What Child is This,” and “Ave Maria.”

    The good thing, though, is less popular carols are included, like “Pat-a-Pan” and “Riu Riu Chiu,” so David has a chance to showcase his Voice in a unique market, and I hope Jive will release either of these to radio (and Riu Riu Chiu to Spanish radio especially).

    • HG, I agree – I wouldn’t want him singing It’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). I meant more broadly, it would have been nice to have a R&B tinged holiday song on the album, along the lines of this. No one can touch Darlene on that song! 🙂

      Hmmm, if David made this album as part of his “mission,” then wow. He certainly is devout – should this choice not prove profitable it could have a real impact on his career. But, more and more, I don’t think David’s goals for his career are in line with what many of us may want for him, including me.

  3. OK, so I came upon this video featuring Melinda Doolittle hanging out with members of her fanbase, the Backups, after a fundraising charity event (this occurred back in April):

    Although Melinda’s fan community isn’t nearly as expansive as David’s Archies, it did kind of make me long for that event-that-will-not-be. Sigh.

  4. From reading IDF, it seems like many of the young fans can’t wait to hear the entire version of Pat-A-Pan. Probably because it’s upbeat. I could go for one more light, youthful tune too (eg, Jingle Bell Rock).

    I wonder if he actually recorded more songs than what’s listed on the CD. Who knows, the iTunes download may incl. a Christmas “Crush”.

  5. I can’t see David including a few secular holiday tunes on his Christmas CD, although it would have lightened the album up. That is just not him. This Christmas album as David’s “Christian” religious album, so as part of his mission the songs would be all religious in nature. I was told as such also by some of his people.

    • From what I understand, most Mormons David’s age go on a 2-year mission. I’m glad he didn’t drop out of sight for 2 years. So, if this CD is considered part of his ‘mission’, I’m good with that. It is still Christmas music.

      • I know nothing about the Mormon church and what they require of their young men David’s age, but if the conventional “mission” is a 2-year stint, isn’t this “Christmas album” as a “mission” kind of like cheating?

        I don’t know. If I were a church leader, and a popular young music artist offered an album of Christmas carols, which was produced in the course of a summer season, I’d have a hard time accepting this as the equivalent of going to some foreign country and preaching the gospel for 2 years, I don’t care how many more people said artist is able to reach.

      • I think it is ‘part’ of his mission.

    • This doesn’t make any sense to me. Being of the same religion as David, I can’t fathom that this Christmas album is “part of his mission”. It is not a requirement for young men to go on missions when they reach the age of 19. It is their choice. David singing traditional songs for this album was probably his choice. He could have sang secular holiday tunes if he had chosen to. I don’t see this album being a “Christian” religious album, I just see it as being a Christmas album that his fans were hoping he would put out sooner or later, and it just happened to be sooner. David is not on a “called by the church” mission. He isn’t even old enough yet, but IMO he is on a mission, as a goal he set for himself, by just being David and setting an example of what a good human being should be like, if that makes sense.

      I hope no one takes this as preaching, don’t mean it that way at all. I’m not good with words and have been afraid to post because it might be taken the wrong way.

      Love your site HG.

      • Thanks for explaining, Sweetonda, and thanks for posting! 🙂 I myself just thought it odd that an album of Christmas carols, even if it is mostly leaning on the traditional side vs. the light “sleigh bells” side, would be interpreted as “part of a mission.”

      • Thanks for your input. I can’t share who I spoke with, but how it was explained to me was that I asked, “Will David make a Christian album given that his faith is so important to him?” And I was told, “It will come out as a Christmas album.”

        Also, David is much more devout than he publicly shares, so I can’t see him at all making an album of light holiday fare. I don’t know how to explain this over e-mail clearly, though.

      • “David is much more devout than he publicly shares, so I can’t see him at all making an album of light holiday fare. ”

        We ARE talking about the same David who takes twitpics of himself getting his wisdom teeth pulled out and describing himself as a chipmunk and who randomly bursts into song – ANY song – that enters his cute little head and who spaces out and rambles on about all kinds of stuff and nonsense in his various blogs and vlogs.

        I can imagine that David singing light holiday fare.

      • I’m devout too and I know that David’s religion would not keep him from singing fun songs too. He would just be careful about the wording in some of them. Yes, he is very dedicated to his religion, but it seems that some people have a mixed up view of what we can and can’t do. If your source implied that a Christian album by David would be this Christmas album, then okay. But, IMO, David would sing light holiday fare in a heartbeat if it didn’t compromise his standards. I still think that David chose the songs he did because they are the ones he wanted to spotlight. I also think that David will, at some point, put out a Inspirational album and I say this because of how devout he is. I would love to hear “Be Still My Soul” and ‘How Great Thou Art” and a few other beloved hymns sung with his beautiful voice. But I think this kind of album will not happen in the near future.

    • Freo, I always appreciate your insider tidbits, but also wonder, how do you get them? What’s your secret?

  6. Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan.

  7. David has been submitted to the Grammy process by JIVE for:

    1. Best New artist
    2. Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
    3. Record Of The Year
    4. Song Of The Year
    5. Album Of The Year
    6. Best Pop Vocal Album

    Finally I am impressed with JIVE for doing this!

    I guess the Grammy process has several steps to it & this is step #1.

    • Updating my own info above:

      1. Best New artist
      2. Best Male Pop Vocal Performance – “A Little Too Not Over You”
      3. Record Of The Year – “A Little Too Not Over You”
      4. Song Of The Year – “A Little Too Not Over You”
      5. Album Of The Year
      6. Best Pop Vocal Album
      7. Best Short Form Music Video – “A Little Too Not Over You”

      • I am impressed by Jive’s efforts without fans’ prodding but also puzzled. ALTNOY was never played in the radios and never climbed the charts. So any chance for nominations based on this song is probably slim. I guess you can’t submit Crush because it came out last year? Let’s hope for some recognition in the Best New Artist category.

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