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SOURCE : The Dam Nation

Best: Imagine (1970s)
Worst: With You (Personal Choice)
IDOL 100 Ranking: 9

Source: The Dam Nation

Album Review: The Other Side Of Down – David Archuleta

Let me go straight to the point: The Other Side Of Down is seriously a solid sophomore album for David Archuleta.

Now, I’m definitely loving the newer sound. While I liked the first album, I’m loving the newer mature sound of David. Yes, it still has that usual bubblegum pop vibe that was somewhat carried over to this sophomore effort, but I think he has truly grown in maturity with his new album.

The album, I must say, is surprisingly diverse and yet, at the same time, coherent. He still has that youthful sound but, at the same time, is able to allow enough maturity this time around. I also think that this sophomore effort achieves a really good balance between the vibe of a singer-songwriter and the usual mid-tempo to upbeat production sound that is, arguably, popular today.

You know what? I’m just really happy for David.

Here’s my track-by-track review:

The Other Side Of Down
An surprisingly unique sound for David. Frankly, I’m a little perplexed with this track. I mean, a part of me thinks that this would have made a much more radio-friendly single than, say, Something ‘Bout Love because it’s different for someone like Archuleta and I kind of like the bouncy vibe in the verses. But, some part of the song – especially the chrous part – really annoys on me. I don’t know.  7/10

Something ‘Bout Love
This one has radio hit potential. Sure, it’s a little too overproduced with all the auto-tunes and whatnot but that’s what works on pop music nowadays, so I’m not surprised. It is a catchy song, with great hook and incredible production. Oh, and the bridge took my by surprise. Seriously. I like that he uses his range in this song. 8/10

Say what you want about Elevator, but I really like it. Ha! Now, if I’m being honest, the first time I heard this track I said that this can’t be seriously in his album because it reminded me so much of that hi ho hi ho song by the seven dwarfs. Haha. But after a few subsequent listen, I kind of warmed up to it. I think it’s very cleverly written, both as a metaphor and just as a song – word choice, syntax rhythm, consistency in theme. I also think that it’s fun, catchy and it felt like a little roller coaster of a song. 9/10

Stomping The Roses
One of the strongest tracks on the album. At first, I thought it would be like an angst-y song – based from the lyrics – but the melody and vocals from him make it sound like a bubblegum pop type of song, which shockingly works for me. The verses are better than the chorus, but maybe that’s just me nitpicking. This, to me, is probably one of the biggest potential hit in the album. 9/10

Who I Am
Just like the other tracks, this one has a bouncy and hook-y melody. That said, this song just doesn’t really do anything to me. I’m also not particularly keen with the different voices in the verses. Possibly one of those songs that I wouldn’t necessarily skip over but it wouldn’t make me repeat it for a second listen as well. 6/10

Falling Stars
I can easily picture this track as part of a TV series’ or a movie soundtrack. The melody and the production of this song is lovely. Yes, the lyrics aren’t it’s strongest suit but, good thing, everything else about it is great. His voice, especially on his lower register and his falsetto in this song is quite gorgeous. 8/10

Parachutes And Airplanes
I heard the live version of this song from David and I was somehow on the fence with it as his voice sounded almost hoarse singing the high notes. However, the studio version completely changed my opinion of the song. The production is actually pretty good and, somehow, takes it to a whole new level. I wonder though if this would’ve been better if it was sped up just a bit. As for the vocals, I love the soft rise and fall of David’s voice. 8/10

Look Around
This reminds me of his song Your Eyes Don’t Lie from his first album. Totally annoying at first listen but somehow along the way made me a fan of the track. Yes, I barely finished this song and thought that this would be the one track that I would end skipping. But guess which song gets stuck in my head after listening to the whole record? Yup, this one. Ha! Possibly one of my favorite tracks. This song is absurdly catchy, which reminds me a bit of both Owl City and Imogen Heap – just listen to the first tens seconds of the the song. 9/10

Good Place
It’s interesting that the beginning of the verses sounds exactly like Crush. Is that intentional? Maybe. Does it matter? Absolutely not because this song, I believe, is one of the best tracks on the album. It may seem a little generic in terms of its structure but this song is to die for. It’s simple, hauntingly beautiful and surprisingly powerful. His vocals just spill over on the lyrics like a series of massages. Ha! Oh, and the bridge and the last chorus makes this song even more impressive. 10/10

This definitely grew on me. Not the best in the album, but it’s definitely a good track. Very soulful, bluesy, and clearly has that John Mayer sort of feel to it. The melody is marginally different from the rest of the tracks and it does have some classic pop harmonic structure in the chorus that I just can’t resist. Somehow, the song also sounds a little bit country to me – I don’t know if it’s just me though. 8/10

Things Are Gonna Get Better
Frankly, I’m liking it a bit more than I did but the track just strikes me as one big cliche. Sure, it’s decent but I just can’t really get into it as much as I’d hope. Now, if they tweak this song a little, I could see this being an Idol exit song – it does have the inspirational kind of vibe obviously. 6/10

My Kind Of Perfect
EPIC! This song is gorgeous!! Stunning vocals with so much emotion! His strong full-bodied voice is always in front and center and it never got overpowered by the instrumentations. You see, I love a strong piano presence in a song and this is a classic example of simple but powerful recording – both perfect and heart breaking. Pure. Soft. Unadulterated. It is beauty, rawness and simplicity at its finest. 10/10

I have to say, this sophomore record of Archuleta does hold together very cohesively from start to finish with each song highlighting another side of his voice. It is actually interesting that he maximized his falsetto and higher register compared to his debut album. Anyway, the fluidity of the songs is spot on and it seems to me that each track have its own distinct melody. I don’t feel like I’m listening to the same song over and over again, but I don’t feel like I’m listening to 5 different albums either.

Suffice it to say, whatever happens with his sophomore effort, I think it’s a fantastic album and I do believe it’s far superior than his last album. Nothing more, nothing less.

RATING: 8.2/10


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