Silver Chips Online

Cook turns up the heat

Rockin' first album shows why Cook is an "Idol"

By Sophia Deng, Online Managing Editor
November 26, 2008
Recent "American Idol" winner David Cook entrances listeners with his raspy voice on his self-titled first full-length album, released Nov. 18. Striking a balance between soothing pop ballads and rougher rock songs, the guitar-dominated album perfectly showcases the ranging vocals that won Cook "Idol." Although the tunes are predictable, all of Cook's songs, sprinkled with intense guitar solos and lyrical poignancy, capture the essence of what contemporary rock songs - which have become too pop-influenced - should aim to sound like.
"American Idol" winner David Cook rocks and rolls on his first full-length album. <i>Picture courtesy of Amazon.</i>
"American Idol" winner David Cook rocks and rolls on his first full-length album. Picture courtesy of Amazon.

On his hit single, "Light On," Cook's powerhouse vocals soar. Packed with a catchy chorus and forceful electric guitar background, the track is modern and expressive. The song is nothing special, but with his emotions, Cook brings a genuine passion to the track that stirs and moves the heart, setting it apart from any mainstream pop song.

Cook's powerful lungs and authentic expression are his strengths. After listening to "Declaration," the first track on the album, there's no question on whether the Idol can sing. Cook can belt, whisper and reach high notes, enabling his great versatility and diversity to shine through on tracks. Also, Cook, unafraid to show his feelings, allows his emotions and sensitivity to sparkle in his music. By exposing himself so truthfully, Cook establishes a cozy and heartwarming intimacy with listeners, giving them the happy tingling sensations that only few artists can offer.

From explosive rock songs to crooning ballads, Cook shows his delightful talent through many styles. "Bar-ba-sol" demonstrates Cook's forceful side, while "Mr. Sensitive" and "Life on the Moon" are milder ballads that reveal his vulnerability. Whether he rocks out or quietly drawls, Cook consistently pleases on all tracks. Heavier rock listeners will enjoy the tracks as much as those who prefer current pop songs on the radio. "Light On," along with "Permanent" and "Avalanche," stand out as especially dynamic and noteworthy songs due to their exceptional tunes, lyrics and rich expressions.

The only drawback across the tracks is the blandness in melody. The tunes are formulaic: background music largely centered around electric and acoustic guitars plus blaring electric guitar solos equals the melody in nearly every track. Similar to Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, Cook's tracks can become boring and tedious after many repetitions and constant replays.

With his first album, Cook brings consistency. His music is reliably good and never awful - but we knew that from "Idol." Although it seems he brings the same old, same old, Cook is definitely not boring. He is able to craft creative twists in his songs, distinguishing his music from that of Nickelback or fellow "Idol" contestant and rocker Chris Daughtry.

Cook will not fall into obscurity like past Idol winners Fantasia Barrino and Taylor Hicks, whose sales have flopped. On his first album, Cook has composed his own sound, one that is appealing and unique. By demonstrating his strong pipes, versatility, high-running emotions and ingenuity, Cook undoubtedly justifies and validates his Idol victory over popular runner-up David Archuleta. So move over, Daughtry and 3 Doors Down, because Cook, who will likely dominate on future radio waves, will revolutionize future rock music.