American Idol contestants tend to stick with the show’s formula when they record an album. By adding a mix of song stylings and blending genres they can capitalize on the mass appeal of the show. It’s a tactic that tends to work, but with his newest release This Loud Morning, season 7 winner David Cook took a route similar to Kelly Clarkson’s My December.
With her 2007 release, the first Idol winner thumbed her nose at a record label that wanted her to spew out another LP with the formulaic hits she was known for. Instead, she made a darker and more personal record. While Cook did not depart from the formula the way Clarkson did, This Loud Morning is an album that shows more of a focus and concept than what Idol fans are used to.
While not quite a concept album, each track is intricately woven into each other and creates a dreamlike feeling. “Circadian” opens the record with the disjointed lullaby of a music box and immediately introduces a theme of the album with the lines, “I’m closing my eyes cause once the sun rises/ It’s out of my hands.”
Cook sings of love, loss, dreams and relationships, but the real connecting thread in This Loud Morning is the inevitability of waking up, of everything ending. This theme shows up throughout the album on lines like, “Take another picture off the wall/Just another moment, watch it fall” from “Goodbye to the Girl” and “Give me one more quiet night before this loud morning gets it right, and does me in” from the album closer “Rapid Eye Movement.”
The album is so tightly weaved together that from beginning to end it plays like one long midtempo anthem. Each song is a piece of the puzzle that comes together beautifully by the time the final chords of “Rapid Eye Movement” fade away. The real weaknesses are noticed when songs are played individually.
The tempo and style of each song is so similar that none really stand out because they can be easily mistaken for the same song. Whether it starts out quiet and simple or hits you with a loud beat from the beginning, each song seems to end with a swell of music and Cook belting his heart out. While it may not be Idol’s formula, Cook does follow his own on this record.
His voice is strong as it soars throughout the album, but it’s just as pleasant when he holds it back. There are also a diverse set of sounds here including grunge guitars, strings, boy’s choirs, music boxes and many more. In addition to Cook, who has a writing credit on each of the album’s 12 songs, David Hodges, Ryan Tedder, Kevin Griffin and Marti Frederiksen contributed to songwriting.
Overall, This Loud Morning is a strong album sure to please Cook’s fans, though the lack of radio friendly hits may hinder him from gaining new ones from people unwilling to listen to the whole thing.
This Loud Morning was released on June 28, 2011.