In Pop Trash, we review the detritus of pop culture — the hidden gems and junky throwaways that the entertainment-culture complex produces daily.
Last night on American Idol, Ryan Seacrest urged us to vote in the show's songwriting contest; reportedly, thousands submitted their original songs, and the producers have narrowed the contest down to twenty finalists. The winner has his song performed by the Idol champ on this season's finale. You can listen to those twenty songs on American Idol's Website; sadly, they're presented anonymously, so you may never know if your friend from college who always played guitar in the coffee shop has a shot at stardom. We listened to the songs to find out if they're any good. (Spoiler alert! No.)
Title: "Next Big Thing"
Genre: R&B à la Destiny's Child
Falling asleep in a bus station
In my mind I see a standing ovation
It’s so clear and even in my sleep
I’m dreaming the dream others just can’t see
My name shinning on us from big lights
Could this be the start of a future so bright
On TV knowing you can be
The star that you’re meant to be
Our take: This blunt American Idol uplift narrative seems too on-the-nose; couldn't we at least make the show's competitive nature subtext to the winning song? Not the actual text?
If it wins, who could sing it?: Melinda's seemingly genuine modesty might make her the only Idol contestant who could pull this All About Me number off.
Genre: Piano ballad
And we'll have blue skies
Only glad eyes
We’ll be happy
Our take: Vague, insubstantial and show-tuney, like the first-act number that gets cut after the second workshop of a musical.
If it wins, who could sing it?: It'd be nice to see LaKisha, a torch singer trapped on a pop-singer contest, sing this one perched on a stool.
Title: "Forever Starts Today"
Genre: Power ballad
I’ve been waiting
I’ve been waiting
But that was yesterday
Forever starts today
Our take: Forever starts when? Leaving aside the mind-bending temporal logistics of this track, we don't mind its catchy melody and rousing climax. Too bad it's almost totally meaningless.
If it wins, who could sing it?: Jordin's got the pipes to hit the notes and make us forget how fundamentally empty this tune truly is.
Title: "Love Me till the Lonley's Gone" [sic]
Genre: Britney ballad
Pull my body near to you nice and slow
Lay me down and gently kiss my lips
Holding on all night long
Love me ‘til the lonely’s gone
Our take: As suggestive as American Idol can get, this track needs a sensual powerhouse who can amp up the sexiness and raw power of the song.
If it wins, who could sing it?: Um, Blake, obviously.
Songwriter 2007 [American Idol]