Manila Bulletin, Philippines- David Archuleta Banks On Soul And Sincerity In Latest Record
Released last month, “BEGIN.” may well be the most apt title for the album, as Archuleta turns a new leaf with his two-year music hiatus for a Mormon mission. At onset, it’s a bit strange, even ironic, to put a period on a word such as “begin” for the album title. But if we think about it, the punctuation mark illustrates a powerful declaration; a fearlessness in the face of uncertainty and adversity.
Given the limited time for the album’s production (recording took place shortly before he left for his South American mission), Archuleta managed to come up with a decent, elegant album, with 10 carefully chosen tracks by the young singer-songwriter himself; songs which he hopes would help others understand “where I’m coming from on my mission decision.”
“BEGIN.” takes off from the pensive undertones that filled his third studio album, “The Other Side Of Down.” And though the former deviates from Archuleta’s previous pop leanings, the songs maintain likability and accessibility.
Most of the songs in “BEGIN.” may have been covered a gazillion times, but in Archuleta’s hands, they take on a deeper, more inspiring and spiritual meaning. He sang as if the words were his. Arranged with simplicity yet executed with a spell-binding orchestration by Kurt Bestor, the tracks seemingly acquire a new life.
Whether he sings the more mellow numbers such as “Angel” (Sarah MacLachlan) and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon And Garfunkel), or the soaring anthems like “Everybody Hurts” (R.E.M.), “Beautiful” (Christina Aguilera), and “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2), Archuleta comforts the listener–as much as he’s probably comforting himself. “Don’t Give Up” (Peter Gabriel) and the hymn, “Be Still My Soul” are likewise goosebumps-inducing, while “Somewhere Only We Know” (Keane) and “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper) may well serve as instant favorites from first listen.
Archuleta not only sings from the heart, but also plays the piano on “Broken,” the only original song on the record which he co-wrote with Jonathan Hunt.
Overall, this album serves as the perfect filler for fans who may be waiting for the “longest two years” of their lives with Archuleta’s absence. “BEGIN.” also finds Archuleta in his most sincere and rawest musical expression yet.
He didn’t want to leave his fans with nothing, as he said back in February during a Philippine press conference. Well, “BEGIN.” is definitely more than something.
“BEGIN.” is released by independent label Highway Records, which is owned by Deseret Books, the publishing wing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church). Local distribution is by Ivory Music & Video.