CD » Yes, Murray native David Archuleta is still in Chile serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so don’t be surprised to see he’s releasing a new album, "Begin."
He recorded this collection of covers (with the addition of one song by the singer) before he left, explaining in his liner notes that these songs will "help you all know where I am coming from on my mission decision."
The largely inspirational tunes run from the expected (Simon & Garfunkel and Sarah McLachlan) to the unexpected (R.E.M., Peter Gabriel and U2), and, as always, the 21-year-old’s voice is soulful and flexible, with an especially evocative falsetto on Keane’s "Somewhere Only We Know."
However, Archuleta’s delicate vocals are overwhelmed by over-the-top, overproduced arrangements. The "American Idol" finalist’s voice is so good that he can bring emotion to the songs, rather than relying on 76 trombones (not to mention dated synths) to spoon-feed a listener. The result is off-putting, rather than inspiring.