CD Review of David Cook by David Cook
David Cook: David Cook
Recommended if you like
Daughtry, Bryan Adams,
Edwin McCain
Label
19/RCA
David Cook: David Cook

Reviewed by Mike Farley

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W
ell, you all know the story by now. David Cook won Season Seven of the Fox hit reality show "American Idol" in 2008, by a slim margin, over heavily favored David Archuleta. In the end, America got it right, because Cook had more of a marketable edge to him, and more than likely the potential to sell more records over his career. (Okay, that’s partially opinion, but it’s safe to say nonetheless.) Of course, it’s hard not to be disappointed at some of the previous "Idol" champs and how their careers have turned out – there’s Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard, and the fact that even though Carrie Underwood has sold millions of records and may be the biggest country music star today, she’s still one of those artists whose below-average vocal ability has been enhanced by Music Row. Chris Daughtry, who finished behind Hicks in Season Four, is kicking butt as well, and Cook has been somewhat molded after him. Because, you know, that’s how the industry does things.

While Cook’s album was a can’t-miss prospect, he may just rank a bit below Daughtry on the talent register. The kid can sing, though, and he’s certainly a likeable dude with a great story, as he was just a bar band singer from Oklahoma. The album has both some great songs and some formulaic, somewhat boring ones. "Declaration" begins with some nice chiming guitars and Cook’s voice soars to powerful crescendo in about 30 seconds. "Lights On" is the first single, and is somewhat of a power ballad, one that not only fits today’s Active Rock format, but could have been a single by Poison or Cinderella 20 years ago – same with "A Daily Anthem" and its singsong chorus. Cuts like "Heroes" and, in particular, "Come Back to Me" and "Mr. Sensitive" are formulaic to the point of being annoying. "Bar-Ba-Sol" is a nice, riff-driven rocker in which Cook really shows off his fine vocal chops, as he also does on the haunting piano ballad, "Permanent." And while those "American Idol" finale songs are generally dripping with Cheez Whiz, Cook’s "The Time of My Life" is not only tolerable, it’s got crossover power from alternative to soft rock a la Edwin McCain, and quite frankly, you probably thought it was McCain when you heard this song on the radio for the first time.

David Cook was bound to have a few bland songs on his debut, and we’ll forgive him for that because, for the most part, this is a nice little set of music. Corporate rock has morphed from the alternative format as 30-somethings have become 40-somethings with wives and kids, but it doesn’t mean all of the music coming out of that camp is bad. More than anything, David Cook can sing, and he can play guitar, and he’s probably going to be around a really long time. And the creators of "American Idol" are still smiling.

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