Perhaps you can imagine the high I was on, having left the London Games, only to return to the states to be held captive by NBC’s absolutely horrendous coverage of the Olympics this past week. #NBCFail indeed!
Thankfully, the Voice was there to anchor me and keep me up in the clouds with his new album, BEGIN.
And yes, dear readers, I’ve been in the clouds with David, playing BEGIN. on an obsessive loop, on my iPhone, in my car, on my stereo. I’m ODD in a way I didn’t think would be possible while he’s away on a mission.
BEGIN., his fifth album (or sixth for those who count Glad Christmas Tidings) in four years, captures the right tone and quality of the Voice. Indeed, it’s what I can only call “Old Soul.” Clearly, David is wise beyond his years – both musically and spiritually.
The “Soul David” asserts himself quite strongly in the opening track, Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” (I’m obsessed with the growl heard in the line “the piece is go-o-o-o-n-e…” and the crescendo in “The sun will always, always, shi-i-i-i-i-i-n-e…“), then recedes to an emo sound in “Somewhere Only We Know” (I’m not a big emo fan, which is perhaps why this track is my least favorite, although David still elevates the song beyond the ordinary).
And then The Voice does what it does best: it guts your heart out with that cry and vulnerability detected in his tender tenor, as heard in his rendition of REM’s “Everybody Hurts” – PURE TRANSCENDENCE! I’ll never listen to the original the same ever again, thanks to David’s genius transformation.
Then the “Old Soul” really kicks into gear with Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” (what pain have you been through, dear David? And does your duet partner Libbie Linton stand in for us, your fans?). It also washes all over you in Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”
But the real magic of “Soul David” lets loose in Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” from the gospel opening to the remarkable blend of Art Garfunkel’s folksy sound with all the “soul vocals” he’s perfected since his youthful “Soul Man from Utah” singing days. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting to like this rendition so much since it wasn’t my favorite snippet, but the full version justifies the “Old Soul” I hear all over this album. Now, whenever I’m “down and out,” I’ve got a song to lift my spirits!
I will comfort youuuuuuuuuuuuu…
The only thing I would have liked different is if he had added one final vocal crescendo at the end. I’m sure he’ll deliver when he finally performs this live. (Can’t you just imagine?)
From there, we get his masterpiece, an original, “Broken,” sounding like an anthem for “Invisible Children.”
I’m in a place where doing what’s right is soooooo wrong…
What could he possibly mean when singing this? And no sooner do I wonder about his philosophy that he has me abandoning my intellect to focus on the heart:
Heeeeeere’s our wish just to exist…
And then more swooning as he starts with his “whoaaaaaa..”
Dang, David, you done did me in!
And you’re not even done yet before you lay on all your falsettos toward the end.
It’s only fair to shore me up after that emotionally harrowing journey to an easy-listening, almost jazzy approach to Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” Buoying me up and getting me pumped for the upbeat anthem of U2′s “Pride (In the Name of Love).” You should see me bobbing my head while driving as he sings all the “Oh-Oh-Ohs” in this one!
And then he closes with his contemplative, inwardly focused “Be Still, My Soul.”
A soothing ending to the pure brilliance captured in this “Old Soul.”
Yes, I definitely get the feeling that BEGIN. is the beginning of David’s discovery of his true Voice and musical identity.
“You are beautiful/ in every single way.”
What a gem!