A Masterclass Review Of David Archuleta’s New CD

Before I review  David Archuleta’s CD, I would like to say how refreshing it is to hear an artist who understands the importance of releasing a CD that appeals to the masses.

Additionally, David Archuleta and his talented mentors and musicians worked extremely hard to produce an aesthetically clean CD, beautifully and thankfully eliminating an over-produced, edgy, sound that grates on the nerves until you want to scream for surrender.

As a result, the vocals are clear and ringing and David’s gorgeous signature head voice is on pitch-perfect display throughout each and every song.



I love the unbridled enthusiasm that David displays in this opening track and he was very wise in choosing a song that speaks to his youthful persona. This song has enjoyed enormous success for two reasons – it is a positive, upbeat affirmation of young love, as well as a testament to David’s flexible vocal ability.

The melody is absolutely contagious and absolutely perfect for airplay. However, it’s David’s remarkable vocal ability that impressed me the very most. He navigates every area of his range with clarity and precision, while at the same time keeping the expressive elements front and center. Both words and music are very important to David and he uses both of these song elements to create a memorable song that speaks to his enormous artistic gifts.

Oh yes, I should not forget those beautiful background vocals – all David! The verbose elements of this song would have caused problems for many artists, but it’s David’s enormous technical gifts that have allowed him to perfectly pace the breathing elements in this song . As a result, the words always remain clear and focused.

Touch My Hand

How I love the absolute beauty of David’s voice at the beginning of this song! And, at the .42 second mark, he gave us a wonderful glimpse of the rich texture of his lower range when he sang the word “you”. Can you hear how clear and transparent his voice sounds throughout his range? Gorgeous! Just gorgeous!

I love the fuller orchestral and vocal sound at the 1:00 minute mark – it adds another harmonic layer to the melodic content of this song. And, at this point, we hear David’s beautiful head voice and the pitch perfect clarity that comes along with it.

This is a rhythmically interesting song and I love how the vocals alternate from a more subdued position to an increasingly lush and full sound. It is truly wonderful to hear David singing a duet with himself – one gets a clear picture of the seamless and flawless quality of his voice when both head and chest voice become one.


Okay, right off the bat- at first listen, I can say that this is not going to be a favourite of mine from this CD. But, this happens with every artist – some songs simply become “fillers” because of recording deadlines.

And the lyrics – oh dear – not the best, but not a throwaway either.

However, at the .55 second mark, this song finally gains steam, as both David’s resonant voice and the lush orchestration come to rescue this song from the ordinary. I love the refrain, actually – it is full of angst and emotion.

And, wonder of wonder, by the second verse, the song begins to grow on me – has a reggae sound, a toughness that is pretty neat. However, the refrain is pure gold, baby – “Here we are, lying here” – gorgeous harmonies and a very neat hook.

My Hands

Is it just me or does David sound tired in this song? He must have recorded this song at 3:00 in the morning or when rushing from tour obligations to the recording studio because this is first time I am having difficulty understanding his words.

Or, perhaps he didn’t much care for the song and, like every other singer in his position, couldn’t quite commit his heart and soul to the lyrics and melody.

However, by the second verse, his lyrics are much clearer, but this song doesn’t really speak to David’s true artistry. It does absolutely nothing for his voice. And his upper range does indeed sound tired but only David Archuleta can still sing in perfect pitch with fatigue in his voice. That alone is testament to his vocal gifts.

Okay, now that this song is over, it’s time to move on to his next single!

A Little Too Not Over You

And this is the song that has all the fans a-buzzing on all the message boards and blogs. Scheduled to be released as his next single, this song truly has it all. It is wonderfully composed by David Archuleta and friends and impeccably produced.

David’s voice, right from the outset, sounds energetic and buoyant – as one of the composers of this song he is obviously very connected to both the lyrics and the music.

There are some wonderful harmonic progressions in this song, especially in the refrain on the word “truth”. David’s vocals sound expressive and transparent – lots of superb phrasing elements throughout this number that highlight the lyrical and melodic elements of this number.

I love David’s head voice swimming over the orchestral refrain during the 2:06 -2:21 segment that follows the bridge. David’s voice sounds so darn beautiful and he emits his vocal sound with expressive ease and elasticity.

This song screams “mucho hit” and the stuff of Grammy awards. This is most definitely one of the strongest songs on this CD –both the words and the music are truly inspired and just perfect for David’s artistic gifts. Bravo!

You Can

I love the lovely acoustic guitar introduction in this song, followed by David’s heartfelt humming. This more subdued song provides wonderful contrast to “A Little Too Not Over You” and is wonderfully placed in the programming format of this CD. Could this be a future single at some point down the road? It should be!

This song has a beautiful message and a gorgeous melody and you can hear that David is in love with this song. His emotional commitment to this song is palpable and the expressiveness coming through his voice is very real, very genuine.

This is a song that would be perfect for a wedding as the first dance for the bride and groom. Oh yes, I can most definitely smell a huge hit here, can you? And the sustained note at the 2:43 mark, followed by the few seconds of silence, was artistically perfect. It adds a element of surprise and anticipation of what is to follow.

And what follows is more good Archuleta stuff. I am truly in love with this song – everything about it is perfect. And the lovely head voice that David effortlessly exhibits toward the end is one of the reasons I fell in love with his voice from the minute I heard him sing on American Idol.

Oh my, I need a break to digest this song. Gorgeous, just gorgeous!


This up-beat song is superbly performed by David. The energy in his voice is contagious and communicable from the opening notes of this song. Once again, this song provides great contrast to the heartfelt “You Can” number that preceded it on this CD.

I love the buoyant energy coming from David’s voice, both in the verses and in the refrain. His voice embraces the melodic line with confident vocal artistry and articulates the words with expressive clarity.

He sounds like he had a blast recording this number – you can hear the playfulness in his voice and ultimately, the beautiful head voice as he approaches the end of this song.

This is not the most difficult song on the CD, but David obviously enjoyed it and so did I. It has a nice catchy sort of rhythm, but, in the end, it is David’s voice and artistry that elevates this song to a high standard of performance.


Well, this is a neat introduction, isn’t it? “Desperate” repeated over and over – and sounding quite desperate, thanks to some neat vocal effects!

Then, David’s baritone voice “kicks in” with emotional intensity and it reminds me a little bit of “Apologize” in the manner in which it is performed on this CD. You can hear the emotional intensity and passion coming from David’s voice and the enormous sustaining power of his technical ability.

For his young age, he certainly has a sophisticated approach to all of his songs and makes absolutely sure that the emotional core stays prominent throughout each number. This song, along with so many other on this CD, encourages David to “dig deep” and so he does with artistic determination and passion.

He explores every area of his range and does so in a seamless and liberated manner. I really, really liked this number – it highlights the darker side of his persona – whether real or simulated.

This song demonstrates that this young man approached this recording equipped with a multi-dimensional emotional package. This CD could have been all about love ballads, which David performs so well; however, he made absolutely certain that every side of his artistic persona was highlighted. Kudos to him for this.

To Be With You

This is a song that will be sung for eternity at wedding ceremonies around the world and/ or requested as the official dance of a bride and groom. This is the David I fell in love with – vocally stripped down – all emotions are so real and so transparent.

Also featured in this number is new American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi, and her voice complements David’s with beauty and finesse. She also was one of the composers for this song, along with E. Kiriakou.

This song is just a jewel – a true gem. David’s vocals are expressive and passionate and all one has to do is sit back and enjoy the beauty of his voice – and the sincerity. This is story-telling at its highest point –something that cannot be taught. The strength of David’s sustaining power and vocal expressiveness is beyond stellar.

And, although David didn’t play the piano on this recording, when he does have the opportunity to perform this song live, I have no doubt that he will be seated behind a piano. It was written, I am most certain, for that reason and what a heartfelt showstopper this will be.

The spirituality, the emotional intensity of this song , the heart rendering lyrics and the beautiful simplicity of the melody is transcendent – absolutely inspiring.

Don’t Let Go

And, for the second time on this CD, David’s composing talents are highlighted. What a superb musician! At every point in this song, David’s vocal ability is clearly transported to the listener. His head voice is audible at every turn of a phrase. It is pitch-perfect and centered and full of expressive energy and passion.

I love the communicative aspects of this song so very much and David’s voice is clearly embracing the lyrical and melodic line with authenticity and artistry.

Also, it is great to hear the lower end of David’s voice for the majority of this song – he sounds like an entirely different person, doesn’t he? His lower voice is extremely developed and resonant considering his young age.

Your Eyes Don’t Lie

What is this country-style introduction I am hearing? At first I thought there was something wrong with my CD player – with all the dissonant twanging.

But then, David’s pitch-perfect voice came through and all was well with the world again. And that whistling just makes me laugh – it’s very quirky, n’est-ce pas?

Somehow, this song is going to make it to the radio – it’s just different and strange and that sort of works today. It’s like David’s version of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”. Could that be the plan? A country crossover hit? And we sit and wait with anticipation.


Now, this song is a favourite of David and we all know that he performed this number at every stop of the American Idol tour this summer.

In the interest of time, I have provided a link to a brief review I did of this song on November 1st, 2008. This is a beautifully conceived and exquisitely performed number and it grabs my heart and soul each and every time.


Copyright © 2008. MasterclassLady.Com. All rights reserved.

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

39 Responses to “A Masterclass Review Of David Archuleta’s New CD”

  1. MCL, as always, your review was wonderful. Although I have to disagree with you on a few parts…I really enjoy Barriers and My Hands! I also wish you could’ve reviewed the deluxe version of his album because there are some wonderful bonus tracks on it.


  2. I didn’t have time to listen to and review the bonus tracks, but I did write something about “Falling” a few weeks back.

    It’s right here: https://masterclasslady.com/2008/11/12/david-archuletas-falling-listen-and-learn/

    Will try to review the other bonus tracks at a later date.


  3. thank you for the review of David Archuleta’s basic album. always appreciate your reviews and know they are done professionally and lovingly. thanks for making giving feedback simpler. Never could get through before, to thank you for all your reviews of the concert etc.
    Look forward to your review of the jingle ball concerts etc. I hear Archie killed them with his first cconcert and is getiing rave review. lots of You-tube versions available for five songs. thanks Leah


  4. I noticed you commented on David’s head voice a lot…lol!!! I love it, though.


  5. MCL…My Hands has been a favorite of mine from the beginning and Barriers has stolen many a heart in the 20 something crowd. David wanted to have a little something for everyone and he certainly accomplished that.

    It was rumored today that David will perform all of his new songs one time or another during the Jingle Ball/Jam tour. The 5 I saw in Sacramento were beyond belief. I will have to brace myself for what’s to come.


  6. Thank you so much for your reviews. They help me understand why I like them so much.


  7. Dear MCL, I am a YOUNG 60 year old grandmother and want to thank you for helping me understand what it is that I love so much about David’s music. I’ve read several review of David’s new songs and I truly do not believe they actually listened to the album, none came close to breaking down each song with the professionalism that you so graciously were able to accomplish. Thank you.


  8. Hey MCL, thanks for a great and thorough review of David’s CD. Though I thoroughly enjoy both Barriers and My Hands, I appreciate the depth and thought that goes into all of your reviews, it’s really refreshing to read a review from someone who cares about and understands their field! I find myself having a different favorite song from the album every few days, it’s amazing how David’s album remains “fresh” to me, even though I’ve been listening to it constantly since it’s release, I never tire of David’s remarkable voice. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this review, it’s much appreciated!


  9. Love the review, MCL. I’ve seldom purchased an album that has caused me to listen to every track repeatedly, but that is the case with David’s album. The online discussions have followed the commentary here — everyone likes everything, but has favorites, and often someone’s ‘filler’ is another person’s favorite.

    I’d love to know what you think of the bonus track,
    “Somebody Out There,” MCL. Not a review, just a gut response. Have you heard that one?


  10. Wonderful reviews! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  11. Thank you for the time you took for this review.

    Some have said that upon repeated listenings songs that were not favorites a first became so – ie. Barriers. I must admit that Barriers was one of my favorites from the start.

    When you listen to You Can – Sacramento JingleBall – the pause after the sustained note you mentioned caused quite a stir in the audience. Listen for it.

    This is one of the very very few albums that I actually listen to every song, except for one or two and it is uaually the other way around for me.

    Doesn’t it feel good to be able to cross off an item on your list?!?


  12. Thank you so much everyone. I actually found that listening to David’ CD was very relaxing and much preferable to doing housework.

    It looks like I was in a very small minority with Barriers and My Hands but, on first listen, I felt that those two songs were not as well produced as the others.

    But, in the case of Barriers, you can read that the song started to “grab” me toward the end. That funky reggae sound and all that edge gives us another side to David’s artistry.

    Thanks for the comments – keep them coming.

    And, yes, awestruck, it does feel good to cross one thing off my list. haha


  13. I appreciate your reviews and because I’m not technical–I don’t state it as well as you. All I know is the way David’s voice makes me feel and the way he is able to tell a story and share a feeling with his songs. I did not like My Hands until I watched him sing it on AOL Sessions and than I got it and has become a favorite now. He has much more than a beautiful voice–it is his soul–the whole package that has made him great.


  14. I love this site. I found it on Fanblast. I love your reviews because of the way they are written, I can understand and appreciate them to the fullest. They just make me love David more.


  15. Thank you Masterclasslady, I love your reviews…Thankyou for your work…
    But i must said that I love My Hands…
    I will like to request, when you have time, the review of the David AOL live session… pretty please … thank you


  16. Thank you so much for taking your valuable time to treat us with your review of David’s CD. Isn’t it wonderful the variety that he achieved, the joy and angst and everything in between?

    I was privileged to see the first Jingle Ball (with Janey!!!) and will see 3 more and never, ever can I get enough of David Archuleta live. But this CD does satisfy for the in-between times.


  17. Thanks again MCL for your insightful reveiws. Can you please review the bonus songs? I’d be especially interested in your thought on Works For Me.


  18. MCL you MUST see the close-up video from the Sacramento Jingle Ball when David sang “YOU CAN”! on you tube. It will melt your heart – GUARANTEE! It’s one of my favorite song on the CD. I can’t stop watching it AND you won’t either!!! Then tell me if you agree! 🙂 It’s just beyond words! Take Care


  19. Palm to Heart

    MCL, your review of David’s work brought tears to my soul. I am not a student of music, so to hear the opinion of someone who is goes far beyond cherished. Especially when she gives such an honest review.

    Many people would like to have all David’s fans/supporters say the album is the best ever, whether it is or not. However, that does nothing to advance David’s skills. He needs constructive criticism always, in order to grow as a musician and a human being. I know, we see little room on both fronts. But David is the type who as you said, “Digs Deep” and finds another level of improvement. Something I absolutely adore about him.

    I told some people that David has caused me to futher enhance my walk with God. And he has. David is so far beyond this earthly plain, yet he is right at home being a part of it.

    His music, his delivery of it, the way he makes us a part of it. Breath-taking doesn’t even come close. I would suspect that many singers will shun David because he will cause them to look at their own body of work and see their shortcomings. Same as with music critics; they don’t know how to properly critique David James’ work because they have never known anything like it. There is nothing to make comparison. He is a definite “ONER”.

    Thank you MCL for your tremendous review. I hope David gets the chance to read it. It is extremely instructive. Not that David James needs that much intruction, but he is a learner, and I think whould learn a lot from this.

    Always a pleasure MCL. And I do look forward to seeing you on live chat again. Have a blessed Holiday Season and most prosperous 2009.

    Btw, sorry to be so long-winded, but all the Fanatics know that I can’t just say two lines about “My Sweetie Pie”.

    Palm to Heart


  20. hey, MCL. You have done it again! Your vocal reviews are always such an inspiration and so very much appreciated. Kudos to you. When are we going to meet at a David Archuleta concert!?


  21. Hi Rosanne! I saw your response on our first media blitz on FanBlast & I thought I’d respond.

    But before I do, let me clarify something: I’m responding in an UNOFFICIAL capacity, as a fan of your site & a longtime reader. What I’m about to say doesn’t in ANY way reflect the beliefs, opinions, etc. of the team on FanBlast, nor do I claim that they do. Now that that’s out of the way, onward! 🙂

    I’ve always loved your opinions: I find them extremely well-thought out & full of vocal tips to help the singers. As I’m a singer myself, it’s doubly beneficial for me. 😉

    I was actually surprised to see that you didn’t really like “Barriers” & “My Hands”. I found “My Hands” to be very complicated breathing-wise & the fact that David doesn’t have a problem in this recording really shows his vocal prowess. “Barriers” I thought was excellent, but then you already said that in your review when you said it began to grow on you by the second verse.

    For “Desperate”, while I absolutely am in love with the track for the very same reasons you’ve mentioned, I thought David sounded like he was sick (especially in the first verse). Maybe I’m hearing things, which is quite possible, hehe. Other than that, I thought it was pure genius.

    I look forward to your next entry, “MasterClass Lady”! 🙂



  22. I look forward to hearing “My Hands” and Barriers” once again but, truthfully, these songs did not “grab” me at first listen and I thought the production value of these two songs were not as stellar as the other songs.

    That being said, I am sure David will convince me to love these songs when he performs them live. I know from experience that some recorded songs gain in value when performed live – especially when the performer is David Archuleta!

    Keep the comments coming everyone – both “yeah” and “nay”


  23. Masterclasslady- So refreshing to read a critique from someone who truly appreciates great music. You have hit the nail on the head when you said David has such clarity and emotion. His whole album sears your soul. David James Archuleta , in three short months, has created a “Vocal Masterpiece”. Never have I enjoyed so many songs all at once. I’m going on 66 yrs. young two days after David’s birthday. Thanks for your review.


  24. MCL…I was initially concerned when Jive announced that Touch My Hand was going to be the next single.

    OMHeck! After hearing it in concert last Wed. I finally GOT IT! We now know that Jive has changed it’s mind but man is that song ever incredible in concert!!!


  25. Thank you so much MCL for this review. I love reading your reviews. I too love “A little Too Not Over You” and “You Can”

    BUT please MCl can you do a review of David’s latest “O Holy Night”? It is giving me chills! I hope he does a Christmas Album!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d6hHb8-cA0


  26. MCL I wanted you to have these for your Sunday enjoyment. No review necessary but you may find yourself compelled to write a few words…

    Oh Holy Night…

    and Silent Night…


  27. Oh Holy Night with better audio than the one I posted above…

    MCL…sorry, I posted this in the other thread as well.


  28. Thank You MCL for your review — I was particularly glad to hear your thoughts on Touch My Hand which was one of my favorites from the get go – while everyone else was in to My Hands and Barriers. I think that TMH is perfect for his voice and the lyrics appropriate for his age.
    I also enjoy the songs that David wrote or co-wrote — I am so excited for a future album when David will have more time and hopefully allowed to have a great hand in the final productions.

    Thanks janey for all your links! you have been busy.


  29. Rosanne
    What excellent words. I love all the review. I like Barriers. I love To be with you. I would like to know your review of the songs on the iTunes deluxe version.
    I particularly like “Somebody out there”

    What are your thoughts on that one.


  30. Alyssa - Howard, PA December 28, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    MCL – Thank-you for your review on David Archuleta’s Album and I was interested and love hearing your thoughts and favorites of his album. I love most of his songs and read to what you wrote, it made me like the ones that I wasn’t into more. However, I have to disagree with what you wrote for BARRIERS. I love that songs and I feel it demonstrate a lot of him voice and it shows a lot of variety. I even have my sisters(3), my mom, my brother(1) – (I’m the oldest of nine), and my one cousin hook on David Archuleta and they absolutely love BARRIERS!!!

    I love your review and they’re are sooo true about David! Such excellent words to describe his album! He’s voice is one in a million!!! I love his voice ever since he sang Heaven!!! But what caught by attention was his first song – Shop Around and then Imagine. I’m following with David more and more b/c of His voice and his personality and his values!!! His voice is amazing!!! AND I LOVE O HOLY NIGHT – soooooooo breath taking and amazing!

    Thank-you for the review and your thoughts!!! Wish you a great week and enjoy!!! Have a good one and take care!

    God bless,



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