BEGIN.ning to understand

 I’m feeling overwhelmed at the moment. After the buildup of excitement for BEGIN., then staying up late last night to download it and listen to it, I got zero sleep because some of the lyrics and melodies kept running through my head.

What also kept running through my head was David’s last BTS vlog, telling us that he hoped this album would help us all understand why he made the decision to go on a mission… then he mentioned that again in the special OS note up above.

The fact that he even cared that we understood really touched me. Who does that? It’s his life, he doesn’t owe anyone any explanations, least of all us. And yet he wants us to “get” it, to feel where he’s coming from? Wow.

So even though I planned on simply basking in that voice when I listened to BEGIN. for the first time, I couldn’t help but listen with his plea for understanding in mind.

And as beautifully as David sings every single note on BEGIN., the overwhelming feeling I get from these songs is pain … the pain of going through some very tough times … and how to make sense of the world as you navigate through those struggles. Are these his struggles? Others’ lives he wants to help heal? Both? Neither?

I also get a feeling of hope, however. That we’re not alone in this. That we can get through it … with love. Love for yourself, one another, your Creator, humankind, and for music itself ….

I know, I know, I’m probably reading too much into it. But these passages about pain jumped out at me:


“Everyday is so wonderful … and suddenly, it’s hard to breathe
Now and then I get insecure… from all the pain… feel so ashamed”

There, David sings “I” but then switches to “We” in the next verse, “We are beautiful” (even though the original uses “I”) …

David, David, David, YOU, YOU, YOU are beautiful and someday you will sing the “I” in that song and really mean it! Not in an inflated-ego way (because I really don’t think that’s even in your DNA) but in an “I am a child of God therefore I am beautiful” way. Embrace your beauty inside and out, David. We sure do. 🙂

My guess as to why this song’s on the album? David’s mentioned in interviews that he learned how to sing runs from Christina Aguilera’s songs… repeating them over and over until they came naturally. I picture David singing this in his room. To his dog. And maybe it helped him feel a little better about the world. Or maybe it’s because his dog loved it.

Somewhere Only We Know

“I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin
… this could be the end of everything,
so why don’t we go somewhere only we know”

Doesn’t mention pain specifically here, but he’s tired. He needs somewhere to BEGIN. … We can all relate to this, I think. Go for it, David! (Love this track, btw, probably my favourite after Broken.)

Everybody Hurts

Title says it all, doesn’t it?

And when his voice drops low on “well, hang on” I just about dropped to the floor. Especially love the background “Hold On”s … I want a track of that on a loop to help me get through tough days. (I’m serious.)

Don’t Give Up

“I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail
No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
But no one wants you when you lose”

Lots of pain in this one. “No one wants you when you lose”? Ouch. I do love the two voices… I just wished we’d heard them together more. Hearing them separately made it seem as though hers was a “still small voice” telling David “Don’t Give Up.”


“So tired of the straight line … and everywhere you turn
there’s vultures and thieves at your back.”

*cough*Jive*cough* … Seriously though, I can’t help but wonder if David knew the original meaning of Sarah’s song (about a heroin addict)… doesn’t really matter because it ultimately tells you that when you’re at your darkest point, may you find comfort in the “arms of the angel.” Beautiful.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Hmm, he moved the “when pain is all around” verse to the beginning. Coincidence? I think not.

At the end, “All your dreams are on their way” I felt the hopefulness rising in his voice… “I will ease your mind.” Oh, the sobbing.


“Do you see what I see? 
Do you feel what I feel?
It doesn’t matter until we see broken lives heal”

Even after hearing everything else, this is still my favourite track. Everything I gushed about in my last post still stands. It feels so him. Stunning.

True Colours

Besides Broken, I think this song, SOWT, EH and Pride are my favourite tracks on the album. Here, I really felt he was singing his way out of a dark place and trying to help others do the same.

He repeats:

“If this world makes you crazy … and you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up because you know I’ll be there”

… his “Don’t need to be afraid” felt like it was meant for both him and for us… to help us all stay true to who we are.


Really need to hear this live. He. Will. Kill. It.

I know U2 originally wrote this as a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., but I think it’s also an anthem for all those who take action on behalf of others “in the name of love” – selfless love, in its purest form. No need to guess why David included this one.

Be Still My Soul

Every time David sings BSMS, it’s new and different to me. But one constant is the way this particular verse hits me every time:

“Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.”

There’s something so powerful that wells up from him here that you can’t help but feel love and hope and comfort. It’s no wonder he ended with this.

Yes, David’s voice is more incredible than ever on this album and “Broken” is just, well, spectacular, what blindsides me most about BEGIN. is that it exists at all. That, instead of spending those last weeks with family and friends he won’t see for two years, he was recording all this. For us. For us.

And what BEGIN. says to me is that despite the pain and struggle, there is always hope. We’re not alone. There are times when you need to listen to your heart and  regroup, keep the faith, and hopefully come back stronger than ever.

(Sorry about the rambling, btw, I’ll blame it on being sleep deprived! 🙂 )

How about you guys? Did these songs help you better understand David’s decision?

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35 Responses to BEGIN.ning to understand

  1. jackryan4da says:

    TOfan – NOW you have listened! And we get this masterpiece of an insight. Thanks for sharing. And yes he will come back stronger than ever!

  2. peppertara says:

    Aw, lovely write up TOfan. How sweet that we got a little blog from David on top of everything else! Kudos to you for getting a blog up so quick too with lack of sleep and everything that’s been happening!
    The way I understand David’s decision and his decision to record these songs is similar to yours I think. For me the main message in these songs is to love, to help, to serve. There is also the element of course of a connection to God with his beautiful hymn. David is where he is right now it seems, because he wants to give back to God (as he has said) in his way and to give himself the time to do that. One way also to serve God is to serve others. Exactly what David is doing. The message for me in these songs is all about loving and serving others, serving God.
    Of course there could be more to it than that but one thing is certain…these songs are just filled with David’s heart, big time.
    I’m loving every track on this album! Some tears shed from their beauty in fact and BSMS….be still my heart. Absolutely stunning and ethereal. A song of peace and comfort. So glad he included it on the album.
    If David can make us feel this way through his music, you can imagine what effect he will have on people through his heart and compassion where he is now…and of course focusing on his personal connection to God in his own way. His time to love, to serve, to be reverent without distraction.

    Now I’ve rambled. “I’m getting old and I need something to rely on”. Many thanks to David for giving me something beautiful to rely on. Love BEGIN. What a beautiful album!

  3. abanana77 says:

    I have been waiting for your thoughts on this 🙂 Beautifully written!

    LOVE this >>> “Someday you will sing the “I” in that song and really mean it! Not in an inflated-ego way (because I really don’t think that’s even in your DNA) but in an “I am a child of God therefore I am beautiful” way.” Exactly what I have been thinking.

    I like what you said about the pain expressed in the lyrics on this album. I totally noticed that too. And the hope that comes with it. He has such a way of singing a song and making it feel like he’s singing it right to you. I really need to relisten to the whole thing after reading your thoughts on each song 🙂

    And yes, that last verse of BSMS. My absolute fav ❤ I have in the past watched the Rexburg vid of him singing it when I really needed it. And that last verse would always make me cry. So happy he included it on the album <3333

  4. betsy says:

    I love what you wrote, I have been feeling the same things.
    Although I’ve been having a really hard time writing anything.
    Maybe I can tomorrow.

  5. peppertara says:

    You know, I’m thinking that perhaps David didn’t use the “I am beautiful” in the song (love the way he sings it!!) because he wants the message in this album to be about serving others, not so much about him. We know how selfless he is and of course particularly at this time in his life. A theory anyway. (I hope he does know how beautiful he is in so many ways). He does say….Words can’t bring me down. 🙂

  6. archugeezer says:

    TOfan, I have been checking in frequently for your initial reactions to BEGIN. and now you give us not only reactions, but reflections to contemplate. Beautifully said, as usual, with much to think about. To answer your question, I have always understood David’s decision, but I am still trying to process the whole of BEGIN. I really love this album!

    I hear the pain; I hear the hope, and I hear David’s love for God and for all humanity. I hear much, much more; but then, as I try to form insightful expressions of what it means to me personally, I am swept away by his vocal performance and have to start all over again. Anything I might say that makes sense could take days and days. Or, I may never be able to put it into the right words.

  7. silverfox says:

    I had been waiting for your insight into David’s Begin. Just like this magnificent masterpiece David created, you are as usual, brilliant as well!

    Going to work now, but will say more when I can find the words, if I can, to describe how this beautiful human being, David Archuleta has affected me once again.


  8. bluebar says:

    Around two minutes into “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” David starts to make this song his own – easing you slowly to “his way” – you know, those unique and special moments in note and melody! The changes are subtle: recognized by every Archie!! Then BAM!!! at three minutes until the end, you hear – and feel… the FULL-FORCE ARCHULETA!! No stopping him now. No mistaking the singer! No imitation of the real Simon and Garfunkel. Pure David. The ending is spectacular. Perfect, brilliant. New listeners will not know what hit them. We do and are still amazed!! It’s breathtaking!

  9. JONERZ says:

    GAH! I love this album and I love this post Deb!

    Despite David’s upbeat demeanor over the past 4 years I think that he has at times felt very discouraged and struggled with many insecurities. I don’t think that is a comfortable thing for David to admit to anyone, including himself. (How can I feel down when I have so much to be grateful for??) This album feels like a journey through his psyche as he tries to stay positive (and grateful) while acknowledging and working through some of his personal pain.

    In a nutshell I think these songs were his way of explaining that he was exhausted, a bit discouraged and why he needed a break to recharge his emotional and spiritual batteries.

    He is also telling us that these challenges are not exclusive to him and because of his faith he knows that everything will turn out just fine. 🙂

  10. Harold Weinstein says:

    I thank you for your beautiful analysis of David’s new cd. I am blown away by the fact that he took the time and money that it takes to put out a new CD just for his fans. I hope and pray it will be a success. In my mind it should be. However, the emotions expressed in this album are heartfelt and sincere. Not like other artist . David is so special that it scrambles my mind how much work he put into the last 3 months before he left on his mission. Even yesterday’s Vblog about us and the music. I pray each and every day for his safe return and now I know that his mission is purposeful. Over that 4 years he has served us. Now is his time to serve God. I am in awe of this young man. He really is one of a kind. Or a true American Idol. Thanks for your comments on this wonderful album. It gives me goosebumps and tears of
    joy. Especially BSMS.

  11. VeeBee123 says:

    Even though I haven’t yet got, and listened to BEGIN., I really enjoyed this post. I was looking for a personalised review such as this one, just so I know what I’m in for. (haha)
    I never really thought about listening to it from an “understanding” perspective. Yet, the lyrics that you’ve quoted send out very strong messages about what he might be going through, in terms of pain and hope. I definitely see a pattern here.
    Great post! And I know that reading this will enhance my future first-time listening experience!

  12. sweetonda says:

    Deb, another outstanding post and one to cause reflection. I have not listened to the album looking for David’s meaning behind each song. I just wanted to enjoy the voice, but now I’m going to take a closer listen, not only with my head but with my heart too. I now each of these songs carries a message but what message David is sending may be very different, if that makes sense. I’m not the greatest with expressing my thoughts.

    Anyway, thanks again for this wonderful post and your thoughts about the album. I LOVE IT ALL!

  13. Kizzi says:

    Oh my goodness Deb. You have the heart of a lion, the spirit of a tiger and the soul of a dove.

    Yes, yes, and yes to your thoughts especially because they speak so beautifully. Hope and healing are definitely themes in juxtaposition to hurt and heartbreak.

    David is a storyteller in almost every aspect of his music. I think he speaks from his heart to the listener’s heart and whatever is in our hearts responds to his art. Thusly we all see and feel what is right for us….it’s what makes his music magical.

    • TOfan says:

      he is a storyteller, Kiz, and it looks as though we may get at least one of those stories in a mv!!!!

      …and, apparently, there are stickers on the Walmart & Sears’ BEGIN. CDs that read: “and the sensational hit single Everybody Hurts” 😯 😯 😯

  14. refnaf says:


    I am devouring this music…………….. it has come at such an incredible time, and I am so glad that you did this post> I adore your words, thank you!

    My Mom passed Monday morning, and we will be using David’s BSMS during her Life Celebration Service…….. I don’t think I need to say more!

    (((hugs))) to all!!

  15. peppertara says:

    refnaf…how beautiful and inspiring. Perfect, David’s lovely healing voice and heart.
    Glad you are able to absorb BEGIN. at this time. ❤

  16. emmegirl14 says:

    Couldn’t wait to read your thoughts TOfan, and no surprise, love every word, every thought.

    BEGIN. is David. It is covered with his handprint, his heartprint.
    Could not love it more.

  17. betsy says:

    Ref (((hug))) ♥

  18. TOfan says:

    Here’s a link to David’s BEGIN. commercial that’s been playing in Utah! (can’t embed due to lameness 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) Thanks to @lindy590… apparently they played in 3 times during the news!!!

  19. Thanks Tofan for your review of BEGIN. I’ve been mostly Speechless except to squeak out David “You are the Gift” in response to him letting us know the Music is a gift and a way to let us know through these messages why he made his Decision.
    I hear his Messages loud and clear. I think, like Kizzi that each of us will experience our own meaning. For me I believe David’s passion, compassion, hopefulness come through loud and clear and he has lived it. David has tremendous insight into the Human condition and has a deep understanding . He has been Privy to Thousands of letters of people telling him what they are going through and how his music has helped. I remember a Fan gathering stories from all of us and delivering them to David at his Idol Homecoming. Each story would bring a tear to my eye.
    It is over 4 years since then and he continues to hear the stories in addition to trips to Honduras, India and benifits ie; Invisible Children, Make a Wish etc etc etc. He has a Deep faith and needs this time to Serve in a different capacity and wants to get closer to God.
    He saw fit through these songs to understand better himself and help us understand. Each song has a deep meaning. His voice, his growl, his harmonizing, his cry, plead with whoever will listen to not only understand but to let us and the world know he understands.
    Looking forward to the Video. Really enjoyed the Telly clip. So sweet.

  20. TOfan says:

    Well said, Heidijoy!!!

    …and here’s the official youTube for the BEGIN. TV commercial! 🙂

  21. SandyBeaches says:

    I think that by the time David left I had pieced together in my mind with personal satisfaction why he left for Chile and without any doubts I believe that I truly understand. Perhaps that is why so many are able to wait for him and not move on. But then if we ever did consider leaving, no one else could ever take his place. We came together enjoying, appreciating and basking in the beauty of his voice and we are so fortunate to be here.

    It is still very warm here in Nova Scotia and that adds to the restless sleep that continues. So I came and found your wonderful review further embedding the wonder of each song into our hearts. So thank you TOfan for such a fine review. He is a man of surprises never ending, never the same, never disappointing.

    “Don’t Give Up” has my mind in two places. I think that I hear him so loud and clear perhaps giving thoughts that pertain to himself but then the thoughts are even bigger that he holds about other men in their strifes living in other countries of the world. I adore the song, what a treasure.

    {{{ref}}} you are a special friend and I have thought about you this week hoping that our friendships are supportive and felt from afar.


  22. SandyBeaches says:

    JONERZ…yes in a nutshell for certain. I totally have felt the same vibes from David. It seems to be such a clear message. He did need perhaps a rest from it all, a time to think and see it all clearly. A time taken to do for others can ground a person for life.


  23. mandaberry007 says:

    I love your brain.

  24. peppertara says:

    Love your brain too TOfan and love the sidebar pic …”Stop it with that FACE!!!!” Think he just can’t help himself, haha. What a great commercial, that smile at the end….could launch a thousand archies (or more). 🙂

  25. emmegirl14 says:

    Am so enjoying this album, and so is my 18mo granddaughter. Her current favorites – Beautiful, oooohs through practically the entire song, Broken, sings along with the I-i-i-i’s every time, and Pride, she jams.

  26. djafan says:

    Tofan, I’ve listened to BEGIN. on repeat for days now just savoring the sound of his voice. I’ve just now started to “listen” for the messages he speaks of. Thank you for your great thoughts and insight 🙂

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