The sweet sounds of summer linger on in our hearts forever, bringing us back to those summertime memories whenver we revisit the music which defined those special moments. To commemorate Summer 2010, I have compiled a list of ten songs that have been on heavy rotation on my iPod. And yes, this playlist is very American Idol and Glee-centric...
The highly-anticipated Madonna tribute episode of this year's television darling, Glee, brought out the best song and dance performances of the season from its multi-talented cast members. Their vocally-charged group number of the Queen of Pop's most enigmatic and powerful single is sure to leave you with chills. The rock cover of "Like A Prayer" by the band We Are The Fallen is also worth a listen.
This revamped version of the latest single from "Just Like You" combines Allison Iraheta's distinct vocals with Orianthi's stellar guitar playing, giving the song a harder rock edge. This is one of my favourite songs from Iraheta's debut album because of the inspiration message it carries: don't waste your time on people who bring you down because they're not worth it. Surround yourself with positivity and you'll find that life is beautiful!
Ever since I first heard the dynamic Carly Smithson perform on Season 7 of American Idol, I knew she was destined for success as a female powerhouse vocalist. That being said, you can imagine just how thrilled I am about her recent project as the lead singer of the rock band, We Are The Fallen. Smithson's soaring vocals on the ethereal and heart-wretching piano ballad, "I Am Only One", is a standout track on WATF's debut, "Tear The World Down", an album wrought with deep and dramatic emotions.
With his laidback demeanor, boy next door charm and hilariously goofy moments ("I was thinking Bob Marley! Yeah!"), Jason Castro - the daydreaming dreadhead from Idol's seventh season - stood out as one of the most unique contestants of the show's history. Castro's "If I Were You", a track (accompanied by his trademark ukulele!) from his debut album, exemplies just who he is as a musician - sweet and soothing with the right dash of quirkiness!
During the highly criticized Season 9, the raspy-voiced Lee DeWyze and rockin' Janis Joplin-esque singer Crystal Bowersox emerged as strong contenders for the coveted title of the next American Idol (with DeWyze eventually claiming that glory during the finale in May). I was delighted when DeWyze and Bowersox performed this beautiful duet of "Falling Slowly" (from "Once") during the fourth week of competition. Their soulful voice complement each other's perfectly, and I sure hope they choose to collaborate together again for their solo projects (due out in October/November of this year).
Admittedly, the three singles from Adam Lambert's "For Your Entertainment" have not been my favourites from his debut album ("Sleepwalker" for the Fall single, please!). However, as it usually happens with Lambert, his songs have a tendency to grow on me. His third and most recent single release, "If I Had You", is an incredibly hypnotic dance track with a catchy mantra which claims that "all we need in this world is some love". Watch out for an appearance from Lambert's tourmate and friend Allison Iraheta in the accompanying music video!
This recent single from sweet songstress Brooke White is a re-release from her pre-Idol album, "Songs From The Attic". Recorded especially for the film soundtrack to NBC's "Secrets From The Mountain" (produced by Idol judge Randy Jackson - who also acted as the executive producer for White's "High Hopes & Heartbreak"), this new version of "Change" features additional instrumentation and even more striking vocals from the sensitive songwriter. White's ability to compose lyrics which are universally experienced are most apparent in this song, and her optimism and sunny disposition are strongly showcased when she re-assures us that 'someday, it's gonna change'.
Out of all the remarkable young talents from Glee, Kevin McHale (who portrays wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams) is my favourite vocalist of the bunch. I always fall for soulful crooners with deep, rich vocals. In the episode "Dream On" from the Back 9, Artie imagines the possibility of being able to walk again and accomplish his greatest dream of all: to dance - ideally with his love interest, Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz). McHale's solo of the classic standard "Dream A Little Dream" is wistful and romantic to the touch. Whether you have a summer romance or not, there's no doubt that you'll find yourself swooning over this song.
As far as I'm aware of, Tyler Hilton has no connections with American Idol other than being neighbours with Season 7 winner, David Cook(*cough*writetogether*cough*), and he has only auditioned for Glee (twice now), but this song from the EP, "Ladies and Gentlemen" is so amazing that I just had to include it on this particular playlist! As Hilton has shared in several exclusive interviews, his upcoming album, "The Storms We Share" (to be released this fall - finally!), is a reflection of the shared experiences and feelings every person grows through, thus tying us all together. "Keep On" is an inspirational tune which fits the bill perfectly, encouraging us that, no matter how bad things get, if you just 'live on, be strong and keep on', it will all be okay.
While we're still on the topic of soulful crooners who possess soothing, rich tones, I've saved my favourite recent release for last - David Archuleta's "Something 'Bout Love". From crushes to love, the Idol sweetheart has shown tremendous growth as an musician with this new single, which displays a maturity beyond his nineteen years. The studio production is more promiment here, but Archuleta proves that his vocals can exceed the barriers while still retaining the powerful and emotional style of performance he is best known for. The song's lyrics (which Archuleta had a hand in co-writing) promote a meaningful message: love of all forms, with all of its heartbreaks and hardships, is something worth fighting for.
It's safe to say that this uplifting single has me in high anticipation for his upcoming sophomore effort this fall. The record, album, entitled "The Other Side of Down", is set for worldwide release on October 5th.