David Archuleta ~ Minus One is the Loneliest Number
Posted by djafan on Tuesday, June 12, 2012
You don’t know where on earth you are going, but by traveling at the speed of sound set at dangerous decibels, you know you will end up in paradise.
The day my Forevermore CD arrived, that’s exactly what I did. From the mailbox to my car CD player to US Route 61, the famous “Blues Highway,” I headed north to nirvana. With the first carefully caressed words I could feel my inner GPS intone, “Arriving at destination!”
Forevermore. Rainbow. I’ll Never Go. On and on he sang, one beautiful song after another. On and on I drove until I arrived at the karaoke tracks, and that’s when the train wreck occurred.
Forevermore. I’ll Never Go. Rainbow. (minus one)
Minus one. Minus: The Voice. I knew there were bonus karaoke tracks on The Other Side of Down, but they were on a separate disc I never played. On Forevermore there is no escaping them. The pain took me by surprise, a groundswell of despair rising from the depths in an unrelenting wave like some monstrous emotional tsunami. I had understood and accepted his going fairly well until listening to these same songs conclude the album they had begun, but without HIM. The music with the Voice silenced. Minus one? Might as well be minus a thousand when that one is David Archuleta.
Yet something about the pain held me like a consoling embrace. After the initial shock wore off, it still hurt, but it hurt so good, I kept hitting replay. Maybe this was something I needed to feel. Carried to me on the sound of music, poignant and lovely, came the loss I had accepted intellectually, but emotionally had avoided.
I began to see a beautiful composition unfold in the placement of these three songs, like bookends, at either end of an album intended as a parting gift for his fans. In the beginning is Forevermore, the title track that also begins the karaoke set at the end.
I realize these songs are covers written by others, but I can envision David closely examining each one in turn, like jewels chosen lovingly for his fans. “There are times,” even now, when I think he still views us as some elusive dream of youth, never imagining that one day he would be so fiercely loved by so many, for so long.
I just can’t believe that you are mine now
You were just a dream that I once knew.
I never thought I would be right for you.
Time and again
There are these changes that we cannot end
As sure as the time keeps going on and on
My love for you will be forevermore
We need to know that he takes none of us for granted, grants none of us more value than another, that we are all his song and the reason he does what he does. We need to know that he loves us and that our knowing this is important to him and always will be. Forevermore. Period. The End.
I’ll Never Go, an ethereally tender ballad that rocks out hard at times is the third song in the trilogy at the beginning of the album, and placed second at the end. There is a new-found depth to David Archuleta’s lower register on this song that can trigger sudden, involuntary, open-mouthed, head drops, accompanied by enlarged eyes and a vacant downward gaze. Not even kidding. Luckily these episodes last only a few seconds but take precautions while driving. I mean, how can one even begin to describe his voice on this song? Think of sailing on a sea of deep, dark, velvety smooth ganache beneath a night sky without a star and only his voice to guide you.
“Only wait awhile and listen.”* It is there. Even on the karaoke tracks, David has not left us completely, nor will he ever. On the “minus ones”, where for me the sea was not calm and rough waves pummeled repeatedly the sad refrain, he is gone…he is gone…I heard a familiar voice…
I’ll never go far away from you,
even the sky will tell you,
that I need you so,
for this is all I know,
I’ll never go far away from you.
Even the sky will tell you.
Wherever we are, he will find a way to be near. The emotional connection between David Archuleta and his fans is real, as anyone who has ever attended one of his concerts or watched them on YouTube understands. It is a connection that transcends time, space, and any circumstance.
“Please tell the fans…a part of my heart will always be with them.” Tweet DavidArchie/(ks) on 5/9/12
On these minus one tracks at the album’s end, David’s not quite minus voice singing, “Even the sky will tell you” is followed, not coincidentally I think, by Rainbow. Of the three songs placed at the beginning and end of the album, Rainbow, with its message of hope seemed to have had particular importance for David and was perhaps the one he most wanted his fans, for our sakes, to embrace. From all accounts we have and even with the time constraints, it was the song he seemed to take the most care to get right. Tweets by Kari, dated April, 27th, after posting the above photo of David in the studio recording Rainbow, stated that there were, “a few versions of Rainbow recorded.” Also, on a photo taken with his driver in the Phillipines, David wrote the words, “Sherman, Thank you for helping us get to where we need to safely for the last month and for playing Rainbow all the time. haha. I wish you all the best!” In a vlog recently posted but filmed before he left, he spoke of his concerns for our welfare while he is away. He is very cognizant of how much a part of our lives he has become and what a great hole he has left for us to fill. He never intended to hurt us and I think his tender heart is pained by this inescapable fact. Did you know that he worries about us too?
“I’m worried about it because I do worry about my family and people I care about and even the fans you know? Wondering how everyone’s gonna continue with life as I’m not that normal part of it anymore, but, I can’t wait to bring back the person I become.” Vlog, May 28, 2012
So I think the moral of the trilogy is that David will always love us, and in whatever circumstance will find a way to be near us. But most of all, he wants us to live happily ever after, forevermore, even while he is away, because…
oh, can’t you see
That no matter what happens
Life goes on and on
So baby, just smile
Coz I’m always around you
And I’ll make you see how beautiful
Life is for you and me
Take a little time baby
See the butterflies’ colors
Listen to the birds that were sent
To sing for me and you
Can you feel me
This is such a wonderful place to be
Even if there is pain now
Everything will be all right
For as long as the world still turns
There will be night and day
Can you hear me
There’s a rainbow always after the rain.
*Galway Kinnell, from the poem, Wait.