Category: David Archuleta

Holiday music: Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Tony Bennett and more

She & Him She & Him

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The late, great Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird,the weird turn pro.” Or they make a Christmas album -- or both. Either way, any year that brings holiday releases from human Ken dolls Justin Bieber and David Archuleta, Stone Temple Pilots drama king Scott Weiland and the chipper cast of “Glee” certainly scores high on the “Seriously?!” scale. Here are the high and lowlights from the latest volley of holiday music albums.

*** Paul Anka, “Songs of December” (Decca). Now an elder statesman of old-school pop, Anka sounds fully in control of the myriad resources afforded him for his first holiday recording in half a century. Inventive arrangements contribute strongly to his approach as a genial latter-day compadre of Der Bingle or Tony Bennett. Nothing remotely revolutionary, but plenty of comfort food for the ears.

** David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, “Glad Christmas Tidings” (Mormon Tabernacle Choir). Anyone on your list who thinks Jerry Bruckheimer is too subtle? Here’s the holiday CD for them. The Mormon “American Idol” alum from Utah is surrounded by the choral army on his second Christmas collection, recorded live last year in Salt Lake City. His sweetness and charm come through best on the Spanish-language traditional “Los pastores a belen.” A PBS special of this performance is airing this month.

*** Tony Bennett, “The Classic Christmas Album” (RPM/Columbia/Legacy). These 18 tracks, largely drawn from Bennett's previous holiday releases going back to 1968, are every bit as consistently classy as we'd expect from the pop master. The CD also includes one previously unreleased recording of “What Child Is This.”

Continue reading »

David Archuleta: The critics have voted

Archie_fox__500_2

The return of "American Idol" is just two months away. But before another round of auditions kicks off on Jan. 13, the two Davids have another slate of judges to go up against. Simon Cowell may be gruff, but did he properly prepare one David Archuleta for America's music critics?

The Times was tough on the kid, giving his self-titled debut a star and a half. August Brown wrote, "It's an exacting distillation of a 13-year-old girl's wholesome romantic aspirations as imagined by 50-year-old label reps." Though The Times was forgiving of the single "Crush," the review wasn't so kind on the rest of the album, noting that the "record is larded with awkward modernist R&B, Christian semaphore ballads like 'You Can' and warm-milk mewling that makes David Cook, Archuleta's 'Idol' foe, sound like Robert Plant."

Could America have been so very wrong in its "Idol" finalists?

Continue reading »

Album review: David Archuleta's debut

David Archuleta Why do "American Idol" fans consistently reward male pop singers for being entirely sexless on the show? Pouty lips and flirty lashes are practically entrance requirements for female singers, and "rocker" guys can bellow and strut to their content. But there's a kind of elfish contestant who always does well despite the possibility of vanishing in a cloud of unicorn glitter were he to sing something arousing.

Which brings us to the curious case of David Archuleta's debut album. It's an exacting distillation of a 13-year-old girl's wholesome romantic aspirations as imagined by 50-year-old label reps. Yet the show revealed that image is actually true to Archuleta's personality (albeit, one creepily stage-managed by his dad). It's as if Archuleta's influences as a singer were solely previous "Idol" contestants, and he's a blank screen for viewers to project onto via millions of speed-dialed votes.

Archuleta has one magisterial single, "Crush," that will smother all who encounter it with the refinement of its craft. But the record is larded with awkward modernist R&B, Christian semaphore ballads like "You Can" and warm-milk mewling that makes David Cook, Archuleta's "Idol" foe, sound like Robert Plant.

The best teen pop is often code for exploring more dangerous ideas, yet Archuleta counts Tamyra Gray and Kelly Clarkson as influences in his liner notes. Kids deserve more salacious pandering than that.

--August Brown

David Archuleta
"David Archuleta"
Jive
One and a half stars

Advertisement
Connect

Recommended on Facebook



In Case You Missed It...

Video



Recent Posts


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.

Categories


Archives
 



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: