What happens when you take an extremely gifted, Grammy-winning producer and top songwriters and pair them with an “American Idol” winner? You get an album that somehow ends up feeling like the synthesis of all their efforts, but with no defining personality at all.
On “This Loud Morning,” the second album from season seven “AI” winner David Cook (out today), he has clearly tried to dig deep. He”s tackling major themes here about faith, love, loss and navigating one”s way through this world, but they have the depth of a rain puddle.
Matt Serletic, best known for his work with Matchbox Twenty, Collective Soul and Santana, hits all the right musical marks here, which is what he”s hired to do. Cook”s co-writers, David Hodges, Ryan Tedder, Kevin Griffin, and Marti Frederiksen, have more hits between them than would seem humanly possible. So why does this album not resonate? Even a profession of faith, such as on “We Believe,” fails to ignite, despite a spirited delivery by Cook.
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Part of the problem is everything feels the same. Most of the songs are cut from the same mid-tempo, dense rock cloth that marked his first post-”Idol,” platinum album, begging the question how many “Light Ons” do we really need? There are variations on a theme: a rat-a-tat drum and piano in the intro to “Hard to Believe” — probably the album”s strongest song after first single “The Last Goodbye”– a very Collective Soul-like acoustic guitar intro to “Fade Into Me” or a fuzzy guitar into to “Rapid Eye Movement” (which features the title line), but they all eventually move into the same luke-warm, middle ground that the entire album occupies.
The frustration here is that everyone working on this album is very capable and Cook”s raspy voice has depth and nuance (listen to how lovely he sounds on “Goodbye To The Girl”), but nothing takes flight. For fans of his last album, “David Cook,” this will probably be a very welcome addition to their Cook collection, for the rest of us, it feels a little like a lost opportunity for something better.