Monday I started my look back at the best music released by former American Idol n 2017 with Idol Chatter’s picks for the Top 5 post-American Idol videos released in the past year.
Today, that look back continues with my picks for the Top 10 post-American Idol songs from the past year.
Coming tomorrow: The Top 5 albums/EPs. If you missed it, I’ve already posted about the best post-Voice music of 2017.
The picks below were by no means easy. By my count, former Idol contestants — and I’m only included contestants who made the live shows — released nearly 300 songs in 2017.
I’m not ranking Top 10 songs; they’re all great. I have limited the selections to one song per artist. And the songs must have been released during 2016.
So here we go … the links take you to the songs on iTunes.
Jena Irene Asciutto — “White Girl Wasted”
“Somebody told me to write a single,” Jena Irene whispers before launching into this truly addictive tune with a throwback touch. It comes from her long-awaited “Cold Fame,” which landed in June. Ironically, Jena didn’t make the song a single. for those who don’t remember, she finished second on Season 13. This comes with an explicit lyric warning.
Jax — “Sleep Like a Baby”
Mess with Jax and you might wind up in a song. Some guy clearly ticked her off to inspire this lullaby-turned-put down, the lead track from her EP “Funny,” released last January. Jax finished third on Season 14 of Idol. This one also comes with an explicit lyric warning. It’s the second straight year Jax has made this list; her debut single “LaLa Land” was in last year’s Top 10.
Crystal Bowersox — “Marlboro Man”
No studio magic here. Just Crystal’s magical vocals on a previously unreleased song from her live album, called “Alive,” that was released in June. The song’s about “a wannabe cowboy,” Crystal says, one who apparently has no trouble turning a girl’s head. Crystal, of course, finished second on Season 9 of Idol.
Scotty McCreery — “Five More Minutes”
Released in May, this song pretty much revived Scotty’s country music career. Written by Scotty, Monty Criswell and Frank Rogers, it was inspired by the idea of having five more minutes to spend with a loved one after Scotty’s grandfather died. The song was 13 this week on Billboard’s country airplay chart and still climbing after 33 weeks on that chart.
Jennifer Hudson — “Remember Me”
Released in March, this was Jennifer’s first single under her new deal with Epic Records. The Season 3 Idol contestant and Voice judge wrote the song with Jamie Hartman for her upcoming fourth album. An EP featuring five remixes of the song came out in April.
David Archuleta — “I’m Ready”
Season 7’s runner-up serves up a great inspirational track with a backstory as good as the song. David said he was struggling to finish the song, but kept getting encouragement from friend Annie Schmidt. She died in a hiking accident before hearing the finished version. In tribute, David used a snippet of a voice mail message from her at the end of the track.
Mandisa — “We All Bleed the Same”
Given the divisiveness in the country over the past year, unity became a theme of lots of releases in 2017. This song from Mandisa’s “Out of the Dark” album is one of my absolute favorites. On it, she gets an assist from fellow Christian artists Kirk Franklin and Toby Mac. Says Mandisa: “We are never going to find healing by yelling and screaming at one another.”
Dalton Rapattoni — “Would You Like That”
Dalton released his first solo album, “Nobody’s Home,” a little more than a year after finishing third on FOX’s final season of Idol. He calls “Would You Like That” the “most personal song” on the album and said it stemmed from an unhealthy relationship he was involved in. It’s absolutely one of the year’s most heartfelt ballads and a great vocal from Dalton.
Paul McDonald — “New Lovers”
This is one of three songs Paul released in 2017 from an upcoming album. “It’s not about getting ‘high or stoned,'” Paul explained on Facebook. “It’s about the inimitable, rare, & magical feeling that is new love. The honeymoon phase — that in itself is much more powerful than any of the drugs.” Paul finished eighth on Season 10 of Idol.
Kelly Clarkson — “Love So Soft”
Often in the past, an Idol alum has released an album and I’m left wondering, “Why in the heck did they make that song the lead single?” Not so with Kelly’s “Meaning of Life” album. “Love So Soft” was a brilliant lead single that cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart and reached the top of the Dance Club Songs chart. Also available: Six remixes of the song.