by Larry Flick for Rival Magazine
Over the course of three albums, three Eps, and a fistful of singles, the 38-year-old winner of American Idol season 7 has evolved from his stance as a brooding young rocker into a confident, if complicated man. Gone is any hint of the glossy television program that propelled him to fame. It’s been replaced by the rough-hewn swagger of a journeyman artist whose songs have become vivid, unflinching illustrations of his inner emotional life. Recent years have also seen him move from commercially conscious efforts to sonic experimentations that often reveal a restless spirit. With his new independent EP, “The Looking Glass,” Cook has effectively merged the full spectrum of experiences into a cohesive, wholly satisfying collection. It’s fascinating that these songs, his most accessible to date, are the result of almost total isolation.
“The record is largely defined by my experience during the pandemic,” Cook says. “Having to be inside by myself and come up with enough songs for a record forced me to lean on different sensibilities. I had a singular path to walk, and that allowed me to totally tune into how I wanted each song to sound without a lot of outside input. The result is a stronger narrative.”