Friday, October 4, 2013

David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Twenty: Somewhere Only We Know

By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic


For as long as people have been making and recording music, people have been covering and reinterpreting music.  While many covers are forgettable and easily dismissed, there are those that are so successful that they eclipse the source material. Some covers are so exceptional they way outshine their predecessors.

“Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane, from the album “Hopes and Fears” is a song about being able to draw strength from a place or experience you’ve shared with someone. Tim Rice-Oxley said when writing the song he left it to be ambiguous, but has thought of it as sort of an escape as a good memory or a favorite place.

David Archuleta is back again with his unique vocal style and takes this song up a notch, it’s gorgeous with true grandeur and an exciting great crescendo. It has a certain uniqueness packed with energy and a surging rhythmical intro.

The piano was clean and crisp with magnificent pounding chords with a climax, his vibrato very sexy and nice, he makes it better.

David always gives you the attitude that it is the music that matters. You just need to look at David and when you look at him you have to ask what is he communicating musically and spiritually that’s making your heart, soul and spirit evolve.  No one can deny his love for what he does.

This song stays in your head and heart – David’s own style and the song stick in my head for days, it’s a beautiful melodic song and it blows me away. It’s an amazing song and I can’t stop listening to it again and again, it’s like a soothing dream.  This song recalls bitter sweet memories and letting go something so close to your heart, it makes me cry and I tear up every time I hear it.  When David sings this song I get goose bumps.  It is one of the most haunting songs I’ve heard in a long time. 

David moves this song through you with effortless excellence and his passion for what he believes comes out in the strength of his music whether it is personal or public. He can sing any song and make it his own.

This cover is one of many from his “Begin” album that demonstrates his versatility and creative ability while keeping the song’s original intent.  He shows such intensity and intimacy, this song is unique and different with brilliant gifts waiting to be embraced. You will find “Somewhere Only We Know” a song worthy of the repeat button.

 Rosanne Simunovic's Recollections

What initially struck me regarding David's very fine vocal delivery of this song is that he pretty much sings the entire song in his mature falsetto range.

Around the 2:00 mark or so, one gets a glimmer of his rich lower voice, but he doesn't stay there too long.  Before you know it, David's voice escapes to the upper range and just floats with such buoyancy and focus that it almost defies logic.

However, at the basis of this beautiful, heartfelt vocal delivery is a strong technical foundation.

I love listening to the purity and clarity of David's head voice - it reminds me of the youthful, free spirit inhabiting his soul and I think this is what makes his voice so very special.  He can sing with rich, powerful and passionate vocals if the songs warrants or else he can inhabit a more peaceful approach, almost angelic when interpreting a song.

David adopts the latter approach with this song and, in doing so, the impact of the lyrics are more profound and tangible. The words are never lost because David makes them central to the delivery of this song.

And, even though the background accompaniment is more forceful, David wisely refuses to go there with his voice.  Rather he uses the background music to lend drive to the forward momentum of the music. By doing so, we are treated to a performance brimming with dynamic range - the powerful musical background providing color and contrast to David's ethereal vocal quality.

His phrasing is so musical - he knows when to breathe and always does so without disturbing the natural ebb and flow of the phrase line. The breathing is crucial in this song because the control is so important given that he stays full force in his head voice range.

He makes this sound so easy when, in fact, it is very, very difficult. To sustain a performance solely in the upper range of one's voice is risky and requires confidence and skill, both of which David fully possesses.

I am sure David played with a few keys to make certain that this particular key was just perfect for this performance. However, at the end of the day, his strong work ethic, his intelligent musical approach and his consummate artistry elevates this song to a very high level.

This was a very beautiful, heartfelt and impressive performance by this very gifted young man.

Rosanne Simunovic
Grandmother to the best four grandchildren in the Universe because they are mine and I said so! Ha!

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