A voice rises with David Cook’s ‘This Loud Morning’

With his rockin’ covers of R&B tunes like Lionel Richie‘s “Hello,” Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean,” and Mariah Carey‘s “Always Be My Baby,” his versatility exemplified in taking on The Phantom of the Opera‘s “Music of the Night” straight-up, and his Kansas City-bred humility, it’s easy to see why David Cook won the votes of America in 2008 as the winner of American Idol‘s seventh season. His self-titled post-Idol debut released that fall was pretty darn respectable, boasting the hit singles “Light On” and “Come Back to Me,” the ESPN montage favorite “Heroes,” the tear-jerking tribute to his late brother Adam “Permanent,” amongst others. Over two years later comes an even stronger, more solid David Cook with his sophomore album This Loud Morning, released in late June.

This Loud Morning combines the mainstream friendliness of Cook’s first post-Idol record with the lyrical complexity of his pre-Idol independent release Analog Heart. But above all, there are new elements that give the latest album a differing, soothing vibe. Overall, it’s more even, finely turned, and suited to Cook, who’s a consummate performer, but is more about the meaning of his lyrics and music rather than delivering head-banging tunes (I mean, just because he has a guitar and a bit of a rasp in his voice doesn’t mean he’s one of those rock stars. There are different types that exist). The songs can sound repetitive—in fact, the opening and closing tracks were written to come full-circle—which is the only beef I personally have this album. However, on a good day, it’s simply just one lovely symphony.

With all of the tracks written or co-written by Cook himself and collaborators in the forms of Ryan Tedder, Johnny Rzeznik, David Hodges, Ryan Star, and Cook’s own bandmates Neal Tiemann and Andy Skib, This Loud Morning is a stellar display of substantial songwriting and musicality. The debut single “The Last Goodbye,” penned by Cook and Tedder, lands in the middle of the album and is a great mid-tempo track that demonstrates the artist’s fit into top 40 radio. However, it’s all the tracks that come before and after that lift the album up to its higher ground: The trifecta of “Fade Into Me,” “Hard to Believe,” and “Take Me as I Am” showcase Cook’s romantic and vulnerable side. “Goodbye to the Girl” does an even better job at shedding him down to his rawest form, with this bittersweet soft rock track. He shows he can go the inspirational route with a U2-esque anthem, “We Believe,” without the sentimental, Idol-obligatory cheese of magic rainbows sung about in “The Time of My Life” (Although us longtime Cook fans have quite a penchance for that anyway). And those first and last tracks, the artistically-titled “Circadian” and “Rapid Eye Movement,” brilliantly hold all of This Loud Morning together with their haunting melodies and choirs singing “Somebody save me now.” The deluxe edition includes two additional tracks, the uplifting “This is Not the Last Time” and another song for the lovestruck “Let Me Fall for You,” which might as well have made its way into the standard edition since they’re worthy of it and integrate with the rest of the track list so nicely.

Although it would have been nice to hear more songs reminiscent to the slinky “Bar-ba-sol” or the fast-paced, super brutally honest “Kiss on the Neck” from his debut album, it’s hardly anything to lament about. Cook’s post-Idol sophomore album is a special achievement in its own right. With its overall soul-searing tone, filled with remarkable rock ballads and mid-tempos, it seems as if this rock star of a former American Idol has found a calling—and that’s definitely something to curtsy to.

KAREN RECOMMENDS: “Paper Heart” — Having premiered this song almost a year prior to the album release, the studio version of this song is authentic, timeless Cook, heartwrenching and with the perfect balance of a great melody, instrumentals, tight production, and that unmistakable voice.

OVERALL: A-

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16 thoughts on “A voice rises with David Cook’s ‘This Loud Morning’

  1. Me

    I couldn’t agree with any more! LOVE David Cook’s “This Loud Morning” and I’m with you on the bonus tracks. They should have made it on the record they are that Good!

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  2. rascalete

    Thank you for a fair review of This Loud Morning. I completely agree with what you wrote. David has really stripped his heart and shown his sensitivity and raw emotions on this album.

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  3. Maggie

    Karen, This was a stellar review of TLM. For anyone who is a Cook fan, you probably already have the Deluxe Edition. If you don’t know who David Cook is, this is a must have if you are a music lover IMHO. LMFFY and TINTLT should most certainly be on the main album and not just bonus tracks. LMFFY is my current favorite.

    I have the CD on in my car almost constantly. When we start up, my ten year old always says, can you play number one (Circadian)? She has great musical taste. GTTG is another fav of mine, heartwrenching!

    This is most definitely a sweet treat for the ears, mind, and soul. Mr. Cook’s voice can make you cry, warm like the sun, and make you want to dance with happiness. His music is filled with every emotion imaginable.

    Symphony is a great word to use when describing TLM. There are so many layers of wonderful sound, his voice, the back ground vocals, various instruments… It is the whole meal from soup to nuts, as they say. And you will enjoy every morsel.

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  4. Tess N.

    Thank you for this review of David Cook’s superb sophomore album. There isn’t a bad, average, or skip-worthy track among the 14 (including those wonderful bonus songs) in the deluxe edition. My personal fave is Circadian, which I fell in love with at first listen. Thanks again.

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  5. Olive Juice

    Thank you very much for a wonderful review of David Cook’s 2nd album This Loud Morning. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as we do. You can feel his emotions in every song. Let Me Fall for You is my favorite. Thank you again and more power to you. God bless you.

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  6. lvmyHBYnDC

    I love that you say there are different kinds of “rockers”. You don’t have to sing about sex/drugs/rock-n-roll and have lights/smoke and half-naked women gyrating around on stage to be a rocker. This man can sit on a stool w/just a guitar and tear your heart out or he can hit those glory notes and take your breathe away. I’m a fan and will be for life.

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  7. JoanieB

    Wow great review of a fantastic album. I think David poured his heart & soul out of this album and it shows. Cannot get enough of it. I have already worn my first copy out. There are not many singer/songwriters out there left with this kind of gift. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Jason

    This is a terrific album. Nice to read an appreciative review from someone who seems to have listened to more than snippets! Can’t wait to see Cook live again. Great stage performer supporting a great record? Oh yeh, I’m there.

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  9. Kelly B.

    This is a great review of This Loud Morning. There is so much to love about this album….David’s voice, the instrumentation, the haunting melodies…you said it all. And I agree about the bonus tracks. I have the deluxe edition and love the bonus tracks as much as the other 12. I can’t wait to hear these songs live when he goes on tour! He is, as you say, the ultimate performer, and it’s amazing how he can make a song even better live. I usually don’t like live versions of songs better than studio versions, but with David’s, I do. So, for anyone who likes or loves this album…just wait ’til you hear it live!!

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  10. This review is as honest as the talented song writer, musician, platinum selling artist David Cook! He took his time and stood in his Truth…. with his amazing vocals soaring the gut wrenching turmoil he felt one very loud morning. It was then he chose his music to be his instrument to process all the highs and detrimental low of losing…. his brother Adam. while he was touring the country.. going from American idol to 154 Declaration Concerts and when it all stopped it all hit him hard. Well he faced that Loud Morning ~ wearing his heart on his sleeve and created This Loud Morning ~ a masterwork of talent, musicality, vocals and his passions oozing through every note of every song! I applaud his courage to stand emotionally naked before his fans.. and the world! It warms my heart to see a review like this one.. from a person who really “gets” David Cook! He was born to perform LIVE.. and I for one can’t wait feel the love of this gem Live and Loud! ~ NYCarole

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  11. Love, Love, Love this album. Circadian, Goodbye to the Girl and REM are my favorites. Not many artists release cohesive, thematic albums anymore. David scores high marks on this one. I would really like to hear Circadian on the radio. “Mayday, somebody save me”!

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  12. Thank you for the excellent, well researched review. It’s always nice when a reviewer takes the time to “get” the artist. Love, love, love this record! A complete work of art, start to finish. Gets under my skin and goes straight to my heart; makes me soar, makes me ache. Can’t WAIT to hear these great songs live!!!

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  13. One of the best reviews I’ve read on TLM, Thank you, Karen! If some so called critics could just open their ears and come out of their “rock vs pop boxes” and really listen to TLM without those prejudices, they could find all you’ve said in TLM! The amazing vocals, musical layers, compelling lyrics and fantastic cohesiveness. I’m just happy that David was given the opportunity to make the album he wanted and needed to do and that we, as fans, are here to enjoy it. And ITA with you about “Paper Heart”, for me, a song that can easily be a single off of this album 😉

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  14. Pingback: KAREN’S FAVES IN 2011: The Songs That Wrote My Year « Karen On

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