David Archuleta shot into my life a couple seasons of American Idol ago, becoming my favorite male contestant the show has ever seen seemingly overnight. Luckily for me, my ears were pleased to find his 2008 self-titled debut album just as enjoyable. Fast-forward to 2010: My anticipation for David's sophomore album The Other Side Of Down--& my expectations for it--are high. The good thing is that no matter what, there's always that voice! But as far as material goes, was David able to match the quality of his excellent debut?
1. "The Other Side Of Down": Though cute enough, the title track isn't one of the album's best. 4/5
2. "Something 'Bout Love": Venturing a tad into the popular dance-pop sound, David actually surprised (I know I shouldn't have been) me with how comfortable he was with it on the album's first single. 4.5/5
3. "Elevator": I see where he was going with this one, but unfortunately, I don't think he ever quite arrived. 3.5/5
4. "Stomping The Roses": You gotta give the guy credit for trying to push himself a bit here lyrically. Though somewhat forgettable, it did result in a decent track. 4/5
5. "Who I Am": I like the groove of this one. This is closer to the David that I prefer. 4.5/5
6. "Falling Stars": This song is gorgeous. Possibly my favorite on the album. 5/5
7. "Parachutes & Airplanes": After, in my opinion, a shaky start, David seems to find his, for lack of a better word, groove by this point in the album. This is a very nice track. 4.5/5
8. "Look Around": As a fellow Imogen Heap fan, I can appreciate the minimalist sound he went with here. Terrific. 5/5
9. "Good Place": Not bad... another non-highlight for me. 4/5
10. "Complain": One of only two tracks on the album to feature a 'name' collaborator--Claude Kelly (the other being "Falling Stars", also Kelly)--this just goes to show that David should be working with them more, being that as experienced, successful musicians, they seem to know what material works best with a unique voice like David's. 4.5/5
11. "Things Are Gonna Get Better": This song is good, but the recording is just alright. I enjoyed his live performance this past Labor Day better (but then, isn't David live always better?!). 4/5
12. "My Kind Of Perfect": Not quite (my kind of) perfect, but decent for sure--& quite lovely vocally. 4/5
Sorry, but I just don't think The Other Side Of Down quite measures up to David Archuleta. In fact, I actually find this one a bit less cohesive (quality-wise) than his debut. That said, David's done some wonderful things here on certain songs & on occasion, his experimentation does pay off. Overall, his voice carries the record & makes for a pretty solid second effort.
Rating: 4/5 Stars