Artist: Kris Allen
Song: “When All the Stars Have Died”
“Sometimes songs are written and sometimes they are received,” Allen reflected upon announcing the new track “When All the Stars Have Died” on his official website. “This was one of those songs. I was driving in my car in silence (without music blaring or a podcast distracting my mind like I usually do). Sitting in a little bit of traffic, I began singing this chorus. Word for word. [The] melody was so clear to me. I made a voice memo and took it to [collaborator] Gabe Dixon the next day and we finished what has turned out to be maybe my favorite song I've been a part of.”
Balladry is certainly not unfamiliar territory for Allen, whose honey-voiced sincerity is at the heart of underrated gems like “Waves,” “You Got A Way,” and “Venice.” But his newest just might be one of his most compelling yet, layered with gossamers of cosmic keys, acoustic guitar fingerpicks, and synth bells. The instrumentation bends in unexpected ways under Allen’s fervent vocals on the choruses, creating a fascinating sonic dissonance when they mesh.
It’s not a conventional summer song by any stretch, but as its celestial title suggests, it’s note-perfect as a late July night slow jam. Allen’s dexterity here as a songwriter and vocalist has reached a new peak, and here’s hoping “When All the Stars Have Died” gives him some long-overdue attention.
Since emerging as American Idol’s season eight champion (he self-released his debut set Brand New Shoes in 2007), Allen has been continually recording and touring. His most recent EP Letting You In arrived in 2016, followed by the full-length album Somethin’ About Christmas later that year. In 2017, Allen and regular backing bandmates Cale Mills, Chris Torres, and Jordan Wright forged a country-rock side project, The Dames.
This summer, Allen will guest as a host and featured performer on the American Idol Live! 2018 Tour. The shows will feature this season's talented Top 7 finalists: Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Catie Turner, Gabby Barrett, Jurnee, Maddie Poppe and Michael J. Woodard. The tour will visit more than forty cities, kicking off on July 11th in Redding, California at Civic Auditorium, and concluding on September 16th at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.