Rating: 3.7/5

“Going Going Gone,” cowritten by Julia Michaels, is the debut single of ABC’s American Idol‘s inaugural winner, Maddie Poppe. In terms of American Idol singles — most of which are atrocious and receive almost no radio play, with the exception of Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” and Phillip Phillip’s “Home” — “Going Going Gone” isn’t the worst, and it was definitely the best of the three Idol finalists’ singles.

A song about leaving home and finding yourself, “Going Going Gone” fits the journey of a recent Idol winner, and Poppe sings it with as much passion as one can muster for a mediocre song written in under a week. Part of the challenge of these tracks is that in the real music business, you often do have to take songs written by others and make them your own — make them believable — and Poppe does that. Is this song a number one hit? Probably not. But will this track give her enough traction to get her feet underneath her? I think so.

My personal favorite the entire season (besides Michael J., who, as described by Katy Perry, as a martian), Poppe has a unique style and voice. It’s folksy and reminiscent of Joni Mitchell or Fleetwood Mac, but in a modern, more exciting way. On the show’s performance finale, Poppe performed a haunting original titled “Don’t Ever Let Your Children Grow Up” about growing up and “orbiting around buttons on a phone” that proves she’s a natural songwriter, so I’m sure (well, hopeful) that we’ll soon hear much better from her than “Going Going Gone” (provided the Idol contract doesn’t force her to be something she’s not).

It seems that this year is the first year Idol has been honest with its contestants about the uphill battle to come in the real music business — winning Idol doesn’t mean you’ve “made it” — so I’m excited to see what Poppe does next. At only 20 years old, she’s got the spunk to make it happen.


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