The Playlist: American Idol across the years
American Idol just returned for its 16th season this past Sunday, and though it may be dismissed as irrelevant or shallow from time to time, there’s no doubt the show has produced a slew of great radio pop and rock artists, who in turn have gone on to write and sing songs that continue to echo in people’s memory for years after their time in the spotlight. With the new season beginning, I took stock of my own music collection and sure enough, I am no exception to loving some of the tunes of various Idol alumni, so in the spirit of the show, here are my five favorites.
1. “Feels Like Tonight” — Daughtry
Chris Daughtry’s run on “Idol” came during the rise and explosion of post-grunge acts like Nickelback and 3 Doors Down, so it comes as no surprise that his rock sound reflected that sound. But what Daughtry did after his elimination from the show was to surpass a lot of his contemporaries with this song. Though not even written by Daughtry (the song was written by Dr. Luke and Max Martin), it’s Daughtry’s passion and absolute monster delivery on every word that still gives me chills when I listen to this song.
2. “My Life Would Suck Without You” — Kelly Clarkson
The original winner of “American Idol,” Kelly Clarkson is synonymous with the show and the ups and downs that winners can have long after their run. Clarkson has always been one of the winners who has remained in the limelight and has continued to produce many hits, including this fast paced and manic pop-rock track. It’s furious and hooky, and captures the vibe of an Avril Lavigne song with Clarkson’s powerhouse voice. It may not be her most iconic hit, but it’s still one I consider to be among her best.
3. “Battlefield” — Jordin Sparks
The youngest winner in the show’s history, Jordin Sparks crafted a monster hit in “Battlefield.” Another strong and powerful voice like Clarkson, Sparks delivers a soulful, bombastic song that hit the top 10 hard back in 2009. Since then, Sparks has been on TV and on Broadway, but it was this track about the tribulations of love that introduced her to the masses.
4. “The Time of My Life” — David Cook
This song was written by a fan of “American Idol,” Regie Hamm, for the American Idol songwriting competition. After being chosen and sung by season seven winner David Cook, there’s no question as to why it won. It’s a powerful anthem of motivation and striving, and Cook’s slightly gruff, yet smooth voice was the perfect one to deliver it. Cook has since had a great career as an artist and will soon be appearing on Broadway, and his journey began with this song. Pretty fitting as the song that launched him into the world is one about seizing destiny.
5. “Before He Cheats” — Carrie Underwood
Perhaps the most famous and illustrious of all “Idol” winners, Carrie Underwood has had a monster career since her time on the show, becoming a pillar in the modern country music community. This song has become a country music staple, and one of the most biting songs about cheating ever, as well as one of the best about destroying a car. It’s slinky and sly, and Underwood uses all of her vocal talent to really belt it out. The world was just starting to see her talent, but this song would only mark the beginning of a celebrity career that has spanned over a decade.
The Playlist is a weekly look at songs centered around a certain theme with the goal of providing readers with an opportunity to discover their new favorite songs.
Carrie Underwood is one of the most iconic and successful winners to come out of ‘American Idol’, whose new season started this past weekend.