David Cook: Cutting Open the Digital Vein

First of all… when David Cook opens his mouth it literally makes my heart happy.  My heart jumps up, grows little stick-figure feet, and begins to sway back and forth in a happy motion that I can’t describe in this article. I watched American Idol for exactly two seasons. The first just happened to be the year David Cook won the award and the key to my heart.
    It wasn’t “The Music of the Night” or his rendition of “Billie Jean” that took me. I’m one tough cookie, not even David’s backstory won me. Although the relationship with his brother and the end of the story did have me weeping like a child. It was the feeling behind the borderline raspy and glowing voice that had me at “Hello” (see what I did there? If not, Google it, because it was funny). Seriously though, David doesn’t just sing the lyrics, he feels them. The feeling takes over his body and somehow regurgitates itself beautifully into these incredible songs. These songs make you want to wrap your arms around him and say, “OKAY ALREADY!! I’m yours, and I’m not going anywhere.”. If there was ever a perfect boyfriend, they are all wrapped up inside David’s songs.
    Analog Heart, the debut album that was actually released before David’s debut on American Idol. It was heavier than the following album, just not my cup of tea. Kudos to David and his boys for making it, great job! The debut album was just the prelude before David jumped into his comfortable skin. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?
    After the show, David’s sophomore album David Cook was released. This album had all the hype. It’s almost like his rise to stardom happened backwards. Holy crap, this album is amazing. In fact, the only song on this album that I absolutely didn’t LOVE is the one written for American Idol (“Time of my Life”). Commercially, this album did more than moderately well, seeing some success with singles, “Light On” and “Come Back to Me”. Hardcore Cook fans knew every word to every song on the album. I still think “Avalanche” is the soundtrack of my life. I dunno… maybe “Bar-ba-sol” is more accurate. Again, I digress, this album rocked my socks off. Melodically, David enraptured and made me fall deeper in love with him with every word. Then, the best news ever came. There was a TOUR.
    Well, of course there was a tour! So, I gathered up my BFF and off we went. At this point, I was about 2 years into owning my photography studio. I was really hoping to get a few shots. Of course, I took my big DSLR because I’m dumb like that. So, after nearly getting kicked out of the club before we got in, I checked my DSLR at the door and we made our way as far front as we could. The show was General Admission in an open club, so there were no seats (important factor for women in their 30’s to know). By far, we were the oldest ladies in the joint. That just proved that we are way cooler than most moms.
    That same night I discovered his opening bands: Green River Ordinance, and The Script (who would become somewhat of a sensation over the next year). David sounded even more angelic in person than he did on the album. He definitely was oozing sex appeal. Looking back at the American Idol single releases, shooting forward to this man in front of me, I was a bit stunned. Just a haircut and a little beard growth… and “hey cutie” became “Oh DAMN.” I did, in fact, have the time of my life. I won’t tell you about the 6 foot 2 blonde I almost pummeled for stepping in front of me mid-jam, but I will tell you about David’s laugh and sparkling eyes during our 0.2 second conversation in the parking lot later that night. Oh, and of course, the photographs. It was pretty magical. If you haven’t bought this album yet, you’re late. Just get it and thank me later.
    So, all these millions of years later David releases his 4th album- Digital Vein. I’m OH-so-happy. I’m going to assume that David is reading this. Please, just skip this paragraph
David…because I love you so much. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what we were going to get. The third album in turn, This Quiet Morning, left a bit something to be desired. I appreciated the “Pink Floyd-esque” turn it took in telling a story from radio silence to screaming pain. There weren’t more than a couple songs on the album that I just couldn’t live without. It felt less like David and more like a project. A project well-done, but not quite executed as well as perhaps it should’ve been. I wanted to love it. I really did, David. I tried…I just couldn’t. This wasn’t the David from the last album. He branched out into a more solemn, dark place. I just didn’t want to follow on these terms.
    However, Digital Vein brought our David back. This is not the David of David Cook. He’s older. He’s a bit more jaded. I. CAN’T. STOP. LISTENING. It’s as if David made his rise commercially, came back to his roots independently, and found himself somewhere in the middle. Fifteen heart-wrenching songs beginning with a single “heartbeat” and finishing out with a haunting “but we won’t”. I want to apologize to him for all the hurt he had to endure and kick the ass of whatever girl did this to him. If David were Adele, this would be his 21. There is a pretty epic rendition of “Wicked Game”, a song I’ve always loved. This is one of those songs that you either nail the shit out of or just leave it alone. Yet, as always, he nailed it.
For David, I hope the commercial stations pick up a few singles- they definitely have more than one or two to choose from. However, part of me wants to tuck this album underneath my pillow and keep it as a secret that only David and I share. If this album is any indication of what’s to come, this summer’s tour will hopefully be the last time anyone pays less than $50 a ticket to see him live.
See you in a couple weeks, David. “Wait for Me”.
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