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David Archuleta – The Other Side of Down
October 5th, 2010

After almost winning American Idol, David Archuleta rode the wave of attention and delivered a fairly promising debut album. There was never any doubt this kid has a lot of talent, especially as a vocalist. The songs were quite solid on his debut but it was also pretty clear Archuleta was still looking for his groove, his comfort zone. He was, and still is, a young man, so he has the time to gain experience and grow. Last year he released an enjoyable Christmas album, but for some reason I can never really judge holiday albums as they rarely reflect an artist as they really are musically, so I’m going to leave that one out of the equation here as well.

Archuleta now returns with a new album called “The Other Side of Down”. Right from the start you notice the album sounds a lot more current than his debut. This is both a good and a bad thing in my opinion. It will open up opportunities for this young and talented musician as it is right up the alley of mainstream radio. But that’s also where my point of criticism may be placed. At times the album feels like it was specifically written to be successful on radio. Especially songs like Something ’bout Love, Parachutes & Airplanes and Good Place have that vibe.

But all of that doesn’t take away that Archuleta and the other musicians on this album execute the songs with precision and excellent timing. It’s slick, but at the same time it is still believable for the most part. While opener The Other Side of Down also sounds very current and radio-friendly it is actually one of the album’s most convincing tracks. Archuleta can get into it and perform it to the best of his ability and the song has a bit of a hidden alternative edge which makes it stand out much more than the previously mentioned songs.

And while the album has a completely different sound and feel than Archuleta’s debut, he shows he can still perform the more sensitive pop songs. Falling Stars and especially album closer My Kind of Perfect are pop gems that show the real talent of this young man.

While I get the feeling David Archuleta still hasn’t yet found his ultimate comfort zone, he does show progress and a more mature approach to his music compared to his previous release. He expands his repertoire and while a couple of the songs on the album may not be exactly the thing that he’s looking for, he shows he is willing to try out new things and find out where his strengths are. And he deserves credit for that. “The Other Side of Down” is actually a very good album and it may very well produce 2 or 3 hit singles in the years following the release. If Archuleta manages to continue this upward path, his career is likely to blossom more and more.

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