For David Foster’s fans like myself, this has been a very very long wait. His last original studio album, Love Lights The World, was in 1994. The latest album, ELEVEN WORDS, was officially launched on 3 April, with singles available since 14 Feb on streaming platforms. This review article is actually redundant: reviewers write so that people who could not afford to experience the product or service can understand before deciding whether to invest in limited resources (like money) to get it. Since this album is available on streaming platforms – YouTube included – anyone can listen to the entire album without paying. Also, art is subjective, so what I write here is my opinions, and you may have your own. With the time it takes to read this, you might as well listen to it yourself. But, I decide to embark on this article anyway to put down my thoughts.
I like the album concept, the first letter of every song title forms the title “ELEVEN WORDS”, each title meant something to him.
I also liked the design of the singles album art, as the font looks like piano keys.
The sensitive piano track is accompanied by string orchestrations which arrangements are very similar to his previous works, as they are done by his long-time collaborator William Ross.
“Love“ is the first track released in the album, on 14 Feb. This is one of my favourite tracks, mostly because I always prefer using the upper piano keys to emote a sense of tranquility and peace. And in this album, this track is the only one that offers that connection. Although the chord progression and musical structure is too simplistic to come from a maestro, it does not really matter.
“Everlasting“ is another moving track with the running left hand to give some musical momentum. The song adds some colour with his usual chord progressions in the chorus. It’s not a romantic ballad style, but sufficiently evokes passion, and with the minor key, somewhat highlights the uncertainty and worry of the journey. I can see this track being used on a film.
The other tracks left little impression on me. They are pleasant, but lacks the connection with me. The melodic lines lack the outstanding quality for me to hum to. Some tracks with strong words, like “Victorious”, “Nobility”, lack the power in the tracks. It was as if David purposely wanted to downplay the emotions to make this album an cohesively easy-listening album, and I respect that direction. Then I thought I heard some familiar tunes.
“Eternity“ sounded so familiar, until I realised it was a song “Jiangnan” written by J J Lin, our Singapore singer-songwriter. It stood out in the album because the entire album consists of simple melodies, but “Eternity” is so colourful and wild.
“Romance“ started with an unfamiliar intro, then when the melody started, it hit me. David re-arranged “Jasmine Flower“, an 18th century China folk song. David beautifully “re-chorded” this timeless tune. Speaking of which, “Rechordings” is my favourite piano album from David Foster. Even though the entire album are existing pop songs written or produced by him, I enjoyed how he re-constructed the pieces into entirely different tracks that had no hint of its origins. Honestly, when I started listening to the album, I had no idea how the original songs sounded like, and that gave me a fresh perspective of these compositions.
To conclude, David Foster’s ELEVEN WORDS album is well-produced and works to keep the listener at peace. As a fan, I think I would enjoy any songs that go through David’s interpretations. Even though some songs might not sound too impressive given the weight of his name, every artist is entitled to have his humble times.
Listen to ELEVEN WORDS from your favourite streaming platform like Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube Music, and Spotify. Physical album should be out by mid-April.