I’m a fair-weather American Idol fan, meaning if there’s a compelling reason to watch I will, but I’m not an Idol groupie. The last season I actually followed with any amount of enthusiasm was the Bo Bice v. Carey Underwood season (2005), and that mainly because Bice was an Alabama and Huntsville native. So for those reasons I totally missed the David Cook season (2008) and wasn’t aware of his awesome cover of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby,” until I heard it this week while driving around Hawaii. I tried unsuccessfully to Shazam it. I eventually found it using google but then was frustrated because I couldn’t buy it on iTunes. I still haven’t found a way to buy it; doesn’t appear to be on Amazon Mp3 either and those, so far, the only two places I buy music online.
Here’s why it matters: One, I hear that song I think of Ashley, my best friend from 5th grade through high school. The original Mariah Carey version came out when we were juniors or seniors, I forget. She had the CD (or maybe it was even the cassette, we were still kinda doing both and were in transition then), and I remember sitting in her car in the parking lot at our high school listening to it with the bass as loud as it would go — it’s a great song for thumpin’ bass. To this day when I hear it on the radio I crank up the bass and the volume and am taken back to that time.
So the song itself has some personal meaning and history. But then David Cook does an amazing job at transforming it into something different. It’s the same words but the sound and emotion and the feelings evoked are totally different.