Clay Aiken never won American Idol. Instead, he finished second in the second season. Despite this, Aiken became one of the most successful American Idol contestants. So far, the man has released six studio albums. The curious thing is that he hasn’t released anything since the early 2010s. Something that might be connected with his venture into U.S. politics.
Here is our opinion of the ten best Clay Aiken songs released so far:
10. “When You Say You Love Me”
“When You Say You Love Me” comes from Measure of a Man. Its narrator wants to love. Unfortunately, he hesitates because he has been burned before, so he spends much of the song pleading for his lover to be true. The song shows influences from pop, rock, and country, meaning it has a fair amount of crossover appeal.
9. “Without You”
“Without You” originated with Badfinger. The British group never released it as a single. Instead, “Without You” became well-known because of those who covered it. One example is Harry Nilsson, while another is Mariah Carey. Aiken’s version holds up surprisingly well considering the competition, thus earning it a position on this list.
8. “Measure of a Man”
Chances are good interested individuals can guess “Measure of a Man” is the title track from the studio album of the same name. It asks an interesting question, though its answer is on the more idealistic side of things. Luckily, that makes it more rather than less enjoyable.
7. “On My Way Here”
“On My Way Here” is another title track. For those unfamiliar, it is about how one’s childhood experiences can shape the kind of person one becomes. Supposedly, Aiken was so taken with the idea that he decided to make it the studio album’s theme, thus explaining how “On My Way Here” became a title track.
The song isn’t as well-known as some of his earlier releases. It never reached higher than the number 36 position on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. That is a shame because it is in no way lacking.
“Invisible” is catchy and upbeat. The funny thing is that the lyrics are anything but. After all, the narrator sounds like nothing so much as a deranged stalker, seeing as he wishes he was invisible so he could watch the person of his interest in their room.
There are some songs with somewhat questionable lyrics that are nonetheless vague enough to allow for more benign interpretations. This isn’t one of them. As such, “Invisible” stands out among Aiken’s releases while still benefiting from his skill as a singer.
5. “I Want to Know What Love Is”
Aiken’s A Thousand Different Ways is notable for featuring ten covers and four originals. Given this, interested individuals might be able to guess that “I Want to Know What Love Is” is one of the covers. Specifically, Foreigner released it in 1984. Since then, it has become a rock classic, as shown by its inclusion in Rock of Ages and other uses. Aiken managed to give his version a distinctive twist, thus making it worth mentioning.
4. “The Way”
“The Way” was one of the singles from Measure of a Man. It wasn’t as popular as some of its counterparts. Even so, it managed to reach the number four position on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2004. Besides that, the song also proved surprisingly popular in Canada, where it became one of the singer’s two number-one hits in that country. As love songs go, this is one of the ones that have managed to hold up well over time.
3. “This Is the Night”
“This Is the Night” has a special place in Aiken’s body of music. That is because it was his debut single, released at the same time as “Flying Without Wings” by Ruben Studdard. Funny enough, “This Is the Night” debuted in the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100, thus locking “Flying Without Wings” at number two.
Something that raised more than a few eyebrows, seeing as how Aiken had lost to Studdard on American Idol. Even now, “This Is the Night” remains one of Aiken’s most beloved songs, though time has removed some of its shine.
“Solitaire” started as a Neil Sedaka song. It is centered on a man whose romantic relationship ended because he didn’t put enough effort into it. As a result, he is stuck playing solitaire, which makes more sense when one remembers the term refers to various card games that tend to be played alone.
Famously, Aiken performed his take on “Solitaire” on American Idol, which met with widespread enthusiasm. This can be seen in how his version went on to claim the number four spot in the United States and the number one spot in Canada.
1. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” was released with “This Is the Night” as a double A-side in some countries. That should be enough to tell interested individuals that it was always seen as something special.
After all, A-sides are the main songs on records, meaning they are regarded as having the most commercial potential. “This Is the Night” was more or less guaranteed to be a hit because of the popularity of American Idol in the early 2000s.
As such, there was a great deal of faith in Aiken’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” for it to be packaged with its counterpart as a double A-side, even though that didn’t happen in every country. As for the song’s origins, it is one of the best-known Simon & Garfunkel songs, meaning it is an early indication of Aiken’s penchant for releasing amazing covers.
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