For David Cook's second album since his "American Idol" season seven victory, he penned -- no joke -- nearly 80 songs. Ultimately, he managed to narrow it down to just a dozen tracks for "This Loud Morning," out today (June 28).
Cook tells Billboard.com that he's been working on this album since wrapping up the Declaration Tour in December 2009. And naturally, taking his time has allowed Cook to create what he calls a "more complete musical endeavor" than his 2008 platinum self-titled album.
"You can listen to the single if you want to go listen to the single, but if you listen to the record as a whole, it takes on this entire experience," Cook tells Billboard.com. "You gotta go back a few times and listen to catch all of the headphone nuggets."
Cook tells the stories behind the twelve songs that made the cut for "This Loud Morning" in our video track-by-track above. Read below for highlights from our chat with Cook.
"The song is the perfect opener for the record just in the sense that it really sets the scene for what the record's talking about. The song represents wanting to fall asleep to escape that reality and then the very end, finally being able to fall asleep and once that moment happens, it kind of opens up the story line for the rest of the record."
2. "Right Here, with You"
"The bones of that song I got from Ryan Star and Gregg and Johnny Rzeznik [from the Goo Goo Dolls], and we really toyed with that song over the course of a year. The verses changed both in melody and in structure, the choruses changed a little bit -- we wrote multiple versions of that song along the way."
3. "We Believe"
"Season nine of 'Idol' I got to go to Ethiopia for 'Idol Gives Back' and to see that was inspiring. So I took that vibe and I was also thinking about season seven 'Idol Gives Back' -- I saw Annie Lennox perform and it was just her on a piano and all these really powerful images behind her of a trip she had taken to Africa. So I took those two vibes that that's really where 'We Believe' came from. I just wanted to write a big, uplifting song."
4. "Fade Into Me"
"It's talking about basically giving yourself completely to another person and that moment when you and me become us. But I've seen it interpreted as little more of a sexual innuendo song, which I think is funny. But to me, I guess, it's a little more delicate than that."
5. "Hard to Believe"
"We weren't exactly sure how it [the song] was going to pan out, but it became a really important piece to the puzzle really quick. Great vocal hook in that song, which I like."
6. "Take Me As I Am"
"'Take Me As I Am' is probably the most power-ballady of the songs on the record. We got an orchestra from Germany to do the strings, and they really did an incredible job. The song itself I wrote with Marti Frederiksen, who's written a ton of stuff and Scott Stevens, the singer from The Exies... I don't think I'd ever put a song's structure together that quickly."
7. "Time Marches On"
"To me, 'Time Marches On' is the tipping point of the album. Up until that point, I think every song had been about the hopeful side of love and life and all that, and 'Time Marches On' is that tipping point where you move to the next stage of grief where all of a sudden it's like, 'OK, no matter what happens, the clock's gonna keep moving and we all have a finite amount of time.'"
8. "The Last Goodbye"
"Our first single off the new album, and it's a co-write I did with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. The song itself was born out of this experiment I wanted to try. I've always loved those songs where you really get into the lyrics and realize that the musical vibe and the lyrical vibe don't necessarily match up, but somehow they coexist into this great song. I'd never written a song like that before."
9. "Paper Heart"
"Probably my favorite story on this whole record. I hated this song after I wrote it. We finished the song and I just wasn't crazy about it.... But everybody else was so into that song and I just couldn't figure it out. So we chased it down and it ended up being one of my favorite songs on this record."
10. "4 Letter Word"
"I love the tongue-in-cheek aspect of that [this song]. Love is obviously a four-letter word, but it's also implying that love is a curse word. It's a jaded view on love, but it fit into the back-half of this record."
11. "Goodbye to The Girl"
"I love the haunting aspect of the song. When we got done tracking that song, it stayed with me. It's like when you go to a smoky bar and you leave and your shirt smells like cigarette smoke, I felt like that song was the cigarette smoke on my shirt."
12. "Rapid Eye Movement"
"What I love about that is now 'Rapid Eye Movement' and 'Circadian' are kind of sister songs -- they kind of play off each other. But the way that "Rapid Eye Movement" comes out and the way that "Circadian" comes in gives the record more of a cyclical feel, which, as a fan of music, I'm glad that we were able to do that."