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Take one American Idol winner, add two years of life experience and let simmer. Mix in seven months of songwriting and recording, and the result is David Cook’s powerful new album.

Getting Wordy

A self-professed “word nerd,” David Cook describes aspects of his life in three words or less.

His new album: 
His dog, Dublin: 
His perfect weekend: 
His Idol experience 
in hindsight: 
His golf game: 

David Cook’s fans are hungry — some might even say ravenous — for his sophomore album, This Loud Morning (RCA Records, $14), which comes two and a half years after his self-titled debut. And the Season 7 winner of American Idol knows it. “When we first started with it, I felt a ton of pressure,” he says. “But, far and away, this is one of the best pieces of work I’ve ever done.” We chatted with the 28-year-old about songwriting, second-guessing and getting involved.

Why the wait: “Before Idol, I was always a trust-my-gut type of guy, and as a result, the recording process never really took that long. With this one, we had time, which was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing in that I had time to experiment with sounds and chord progressions and lyrics, and a curse because I second- and third- and fourth-guessed myself.”

How this album is different: “We did close to seven months of just songwriting, and I think we’re expanding the walls a little bit. I wanted to incorporate a lot of piano but still keep that rock edge. I think these songs have a more symphonic undertone.”

How he pushed himself as a songwriter: “The vision I had at the beginning of the record is that I didn’t want to make a ‘concept record,’ but I wanted to make a concept record. I wanted a story line and an arc, but I also didn’t want to pigeonhole myself. You want to write songs that resonate, and you want as many people to grasp the message as you can.”

Why he encourages you to get philanthropic: “For me, cancer has been a big part of my life — losing my brother to it — so I’m easily involved in that cause with ABC Squared (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure) and doing the Race for Hope in Washington, D.C. If I can say anything to anyone, it would be: Just do something. Do anything. If everyone gives an inch, we can build up a lot of miles.”