Monday, February 6, 2012

Blast from the Past: Songs & Artists American Idol Should Cover

As I sat down for this week's edition of Blast from the Past, I thought about tying it to the Super Bowl (the game with the number that heralds my age every year. . .I'll be XLVI!!!).  But everyone is doing that this weekend. So, during my walk, I was listening to Pandora, and Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun came on. It's an 80s favorite, but have you ever listened not so much to the song, but to Cyndi's voice? There is real power there! And I got to thinking about songs and artists that the youngsters on American Idol ought to be covering, if they want to blow the judges away.

Now, I haven't watched every episode of the show, frankly having lost interest the year Paula Abdul left. So, some of these songs, and surely some of the artists have been done. Not the point. Put the nostalgia and the personalities. Listen to the voices here.

1. I'm Gonna be Strong, Cyndi Lauper - Girls may be her signature song, but take a listen to this one, the song that got her a recording contract. Close your eyes, and imagine if this voice hit that stage with no buildup.

2. Pavement Cracks, Annie Lennox - As half of Eurythmics, Annie is often remembered in the same category as Cyndi, with unusual hair, makeup and clothing. But she has a clear, unmistakable, beautiful voice.

3. Hard Candy Christmas, Dolly Parton - When Idol contestants try to do runs and trills, it usually seems like showing off, and seems forced. When Dolly does it, it sounds effortless and natural. I'm not a fan of her country music--for the most part--but there is no denying her talent.

4. Promises in the Dark, Pat Benatar - Pat is mostly remembered for her makeup, her leg warmers and other hideous 80s fashions. But she has an astonishing voice with a wide range, exhibited in a variety of genres. This one was chosen for its hard edge, but softness too.

5. Kissing a Fool, George Michael - George Michael has unfortunately been more well known in recent years as a tabloid fixture. But his voice combined with his good looks made for an amazing combination for a while in the 80s and 90s. He seemed to have a complex about the looks part, but the strength of his voice was never in doubt. Listen to this song--particularly the bridge--and imagine Idol judges heads exploding.

6. A Little More Love, Olivia Newton-John - ONJ has always been one of my favorites. Her beauty
was staggering back in the day, but her voice was so pretty and clear. Listen to this one, how in each chorus, she changes the note pattern, and yet is always in perfect pitch.

7. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette - Yes, your memories of Roxette are covered with cheese. But they're better than you remember. As proof, this song. Listen to lead singer, Marie Fredriksson. From the soft notes to the power belting, this would wow the judges.

8. Rockin' Back Inside My Heart, Julee Cruise - Best known for the theme from Twin Peaks, and her performances within the show, Cruise has a voice I once read described as "an angel on quaaludes." Idol might not be able to showcase a voice this unique. But imagine if this song came out of one of those young waifs!

And that will do it for me for now. I'm off to a Super Bowl party, and we'll have to see if I have any more blogging in me afterward! Either way, happy have a good week!

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