A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog item encouraging Adam Lambert to collaborate with Madonna on his debut album, and in the interest of equal time (and equal love) I’ve been pondering dream collaborators for American Idol season 8 colleagues Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen. We’ll get to Kris later this week, but for now, let’s mull Allison, one of the most exciting female rock voices to score a major-label deal in recent memory.
As we saw from her best Idol performances, Allison soars when she’s got great melodies to work with (“Alone,” “Give in to Me”), and what’s more, she’s a heckuva storyteller (“I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” that exit performance of “Cry Baby”). Which is why I’m hoping the good folks at Jive Records won’t force the season 8 rocker into a Daughtry/Nickelback/generic modern rock mold. Instead, why not let Allison log some studio time with the legendary Stevie Nicks, and perhaps Concrete Blonde frontwoman Johnette Napolitano?
A matchup with Nicks is a no-brainer. The Fleetwood Mac star is a revered and timeless songwriter who’s collaborated effortlessly with everyone from Tom Petty to Sheryl Crow, from Don Henley to the Dixie Chicks. Plus, she’d be able to give Allison a stamp of approval that would open up doors to an entrenched classic rock audience that might otherwise bristle at the mention of anyone associated with Idol. Meanwhile, as Stevie proved with her recent Soundstage Sessions disc and corresponding Live in Chicago DVD, she isn’t exactly ready for her rocking chair; a partnership with Iraheta would present her with an exciting project that could introduce her music to a generation of teens and twentysomethings who hadn’t even been born the last time Nicks was rocking the Billboard Hot 100. (By the bye, if you’re a Stevie Nicks fan, click here and check out my colleague Leah Greenblatt’s extraordinary Q&A about the singer’s favorite songs. Not to be missed!)
As for Napolitano, well, it’s been almost two decades since Concrete Blonde’s seminal 1990 disc Bloodletting, and yet the music still sounds fresh and relevant after all this time. A writing session with Napolitano could capture some of Allison’s darker edges without stuffing repeat-worthy melodies down the garbage disposal. In fact, can you imagine how cool it would be to hear Allison tackle “The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden” or “Days and Days”?(The latter tune is embedded after the jump!) Teaming up with Napolitano (and not just a team of today’s most in-demand producers) would also give Allison a hint of trailblazing cool, in much the same way Pink did when she famously tracked down 4 Non-Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry when it came time to record Mizundastood. That collaboration reenergized both women’s careers, and resulted in a pretty ass-kicking set of tunes. I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if an Iraheta-Napolitano partnership yielded similarly scintillating artistic and commercial results. While she’s at it, Allison might want to get on the phone with Beth Hart, Imani Coppola, Jane Child, Kina Cosper, and Toby Lightman. She can thank me later in her liner notes!
Which producers, songwriters, and performers would you like to see paired up with Allison for her debut disc? Sound off in the comments section below, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow me (and all my Idol coverage) on Twitter!