Was I last? The end of the line? The final fan to get David Archuleta’s Forevermore CD? As it turns out, I was not, but it sure felt like it for a while.
The minute David’s OPM album was available for ordering, I ordered. The minute it was released, I started checking the mailbox twice a day. Each new day was “the day” my CD would arrive. No. No. No…
After 14 no-show days, I miraculously resisted the persistent urge to write a threatening email. After 20 days, a mysterious CD neurosis surfaced and I began to speak of conspiracies. Two days later I was having fantasies about humanitarian airdrops over an open potato field.
Well, none of that matters now; I have the CD in my hands. The music is on my computer, in my car, on my iPod and coming through the house speakers. I am listening as I write this, so pardon me if I stop occasionally to smile, or sigh, or swoon. Sorry if I pause to shed a tear, or hum along while I try to form an objective opinion.
In the years B.D. (Before David), you could have taken one look at my CD collection and said, “I see dead people.” My musical chums were folks like Chopin, Mozart and Brahms, classic friendships to be sure, but no lively conversations. How lucky was I to happen upon the likes of David Archuleta. He arrived with an endless array of superb vocal surprises he wanted to share, and a loving, energetic fan base for good measure.
Forevermore is one more delightful surprise, not because David did it for fans, or because he did it in stellar fashion; but because he managed to do it at all in such a short space of time. It speaks to both his generous heart and his musical genius.
I am not qualified to offer a critique of Forevermore here, or anywhere else for that matter. I do read music reviews, but only for entertainment. Too many are crafted by pseudo-musician journalists who are paid to stir up readership by stirring up trouble, and they know full well that snarky innuendo will trump witty credibility every time. The fact is, truly qualified music critics are scarce indeed; but then, we need so few of them.
In the end, I am left to my own opinion about new music, which always proves to be the most useful to me anyway. The best thing about a personal opinion system is that everyone can participate and no one is ever wrong. I like the latitude in that concept, so I use an instinctive music grading scale. It seems rather reflexive, but it is still reliable. If I were to set it down in writing, it would look a little like this:
A — Now we’re talkin’ real music.
B — OK, I kind of like that one.
C — Gets a medium to large meh.
D — Erm… I don’t think so.
F — Are you kidding me? Click.
David Archuleta fans will not be shocked to learn that David tends to mess with the convenience of my dandy grading method; and that little stinker has done it again. My never-wrong opinion tells me that, as a whole, Forevermore is off the chart, more like an A+. Or, in other words, “Holy Repeat Button, Batman!”
I am not sure what I was expecting, not much really; but my initial reaction to the CD was a grateful “thank you, thank you.” Thank you to the OPM composers and original artists for their beautiful lyrics and music. Thank you to David’s Filipino fans (We love you!) whose unconditional support helped to spark the idea for this album. And thank you to David for his extensive thank you list. He says it all, and I have no doubt the caterers deserved that mention.
Even after repeated plays of Forevermore, it is impossible for me to list the songs in any kind of favorite order. I attempted, but that list is fantastically fluid and tends to vary from one listening session to the next. I will mention but a few of many favorable impressions:
- Forevermore – I hate borrowing from American Idol’s “Dawg,” but David really does know how to caress certain words and phrases. This song was my official reassurance while I waited for the CD to arrive. I was frequently fixed in front of the “Forevermore” video, also known around these parts as The Man Hand Musical.
- Rainbow – Just enough touch-of-jazz quirkiness to demand one replay after another. Obviously David chose this song for the lyrics as well as the interesting melody/word rhythms. His philosophy of life is here in spades: “…and I’ll make you see how beautiful life is for you and me.”
- You Are My Song – How does one even get past the incredibly romantic title without experiencing a serious rush of ballad anticipation? This ballad soars. Get ready, because the impeccable soaring source is David Archuleta, and you are headed to GAHville.
- Hold On–Don’t bother trying to guess how many times I have listened to David sing “Hey Beh-by” because I will deny everything. “It’s a burning desire comin’ right down the wire” and right to the end of the song.
- Tell Me–Brokenhearted pain set to music. Achingly poignant. I feel it. I believe it. I hear it in the haunting melodic intervals. Chopin would love this melody, and so do I.
- Reaching Out–I really appreciate the vocal embellishments David uses in this one, and I am a total sucker for any song that has an ascending key change in the middle. The sing-along chorus should probably carry an ear worm warning.
There are four additional songs on the album and a multitude of musical gems in all ten. I rarely skip any song when listening to this CD. It is very easy to immerse myself in its entirety; and then I do it all over again. Just call it smoothly soothed.
No question that “Forevermore” will enjoy some prominence on my playlist, especially while David Archuleta is away. At the same time, perhaps we should ponder this: How it is that David is the one leaving for two years and we are the ones who get all the going away gifts?