Photographer: Matt Clayton.
Released in the midst of a two-year religious mission to South America, No Matter How Far isn't quite a brand-new album from American Idol runner-up David Archuleta. It rounds up ten tracks Archuleta recorded between 2010-2012, eight of which have surfaced in other territories of the world prior to this 2013 American release, primarily on the 2012 Filipino release Forevermore. This history explains the scattershot nature of the album, as it does try to be a little bit of everything to everyone: there are old-fashioned ballads sitting next to slickly synthesized stabs at crossover adult contemporary hits, a few insistent pop tunes ("Love Don't Hate," the brisk "Heart Falls Out") to offset the syrupy ballads. As always, Archuleta is a sweetly appealing singer who never quite seems to belong in his time, and concentrating on cast-offs and also-rans only emphasizes his odd place in the pop firmament: he's a throwback to another era, one where you could have a career singing covers of hits and never quite reach the top of the charts. Archuleta has managed to pull that off, sustaining a somewhat viable career even as he serves a religious mission, thanks entirely to his stint on American Idol, but that doesn't mean his recordings feel any more in step with the times. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine