It’s a rite of passage in the fall. That year’s American Idol winners (and runners-up) unleash their official debut singles on a salivating public. Even as a pop music fan, I can say that most of those debut singles have either been either enjoyable in that generic pop song kind of way (Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent”, David Archuleta’s “Crush”, Clay Aiken’s “Invincible”, Katherine McPhee’s “Over It”) or completely awful (Ruben Studdard’s “Sorry 2004”). And does anyone even remember the debut singles by Taylor Hicks or Diana DeGarmo?

All this to say, the 2009 American Idol winner’s debut single has hit the streets. In anticipation of the November release of his album, Kris Allen has released the single “Live Like We’re Dying” to radio. It’s a peppy, hooky pop/rock song originally recorded by the Irish band The Script. It’s a pleasant enough song and will probably be a hit, but I have two beefs with this song:

1) Lyrically, the song (almost) shares a title and the main sentiment of Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”. Granted, living like there’s no tomorrow is a pretty standard subject in pop music, but this might be just a *little* too close to comfort.

2) Allen’s version is a CARBON COPY of The Script’s version. While Allen has a more soulful voice than The Script’s lead singer, the instrumental tracks are virtually identical. That just seems kind of lazy to me.

Kris Allen is talented in a totally generic way, but then again, the majority of “Idol” winners have been pretty generic, so I guess he fits right in. I don’t necessarily hold out hope for a #1 single or superstardom here (actually, NO ‘Idol” finalist has hit #1 with their debut single-excepting the “acceptance” songs written and recorded specifically for the winners’ respective coronations, i.e. “A Moment Like This”), but I’m sure this will be a hit on what they now call “Adult top 40” radio, where it’ll fit right in beside equally generic acts like The Fray. Now, the real question is…what will Adam Lambert come up with??

For your comparing and contrasting sakes, I have included both the original version of this song and Allen’s cover.