According to a loose college friend’s Facebook status, American Idol‘s final episode aired last night, following a long and inescapable run that spanned who gives a shit how many seasons and launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and William Hung in the process. Despite being a fucking glorified karaoke competition that’s partially responsible for nudging Western civilization ever deeper into an abyss of cultural degeneration, at least Milwaukee can thank the popular singing program for giving Danny Gokey a chance to shine in the national spotlight.
In 2009, mere weeks after his wife’s passing, the Milwaukee-born Christian musician finished third in the hit show’s eighth season. Though he finished behind Kris Allen (who?) and Adam Lambert (okay, that one makes sense), Gokey’s brief-but-memorable time in the limelight was enough to get him increased local attention—including Summerfest headlining slots and a WAMI Award—en route to a recording deal, a lucrative LensCrafters endorsement, and founding the Sophia’s Heart Foundation (named in honor of his deceased wife).
While Gokey isn’t exactly our cup of tea, we aren’t about to fault the former church music director for the overwhelmingly uplifting nature of his songs. With three albums called My Best Days, Hope Is In Front Of Me, and a holiday record called Christmas Is Here, the positivity of the Idol contestant’s catalog is undeniable. But in the spirit of the singing program’s competitive nature, Milwaukee Record traversed Danny Gokey’s catalog and ranked it from least to most uplifting.
31. It’s Only: It’s only what? This is less uplifting than it is vague.
30. Getaway: Is Gokes telling someone to get away or asking for a getaway from something harsh? Regardless, it’s not pleasant.
29. O, Holy Night: Covers can’t be that uplifting.
28. Tiny Life: While this could be an acknowledgement that life is short and should be lived to the fullest, a nihilist could translate these two words to signify how small and meaningless existence truly is.
27. Give Me Jesus: Sounds like somebody needs help. How uplifting can that be?
26. This Christmas: Go on…
25. Mary, Did You Know?: Hold on! Mary could be getting bad news. “So, uh, about your son…”
24. Like That’s A Bad Thing: So it’s probably a good thing, but he’s kind of being a sarcastic dick about it.
23. Because Of You: Blaming or thanking? This one could go either way.
22. What Christmas Means To Me: This one could also go either way.
21. Life On Ya: Is life piled on “ya” or what? The vagueness and predominately negative connotations leave this near the lower third.
20. One Life: See No. 28.
19. White Christmas: So it’s snowing AND it’s December? Great.
18. Christmas Is Here: At least there’s no mention of snow.
17. The Christmas Song: Technically, it could be performed any month, though it’s probably still the butthole of winter.
16. Hope In Front Of Me: But what’s behind you, Dan? What’s behind you?!
15. I Will Not Say Goodbye: This seems to suggest someone is asking somebody else to say goodbye, which isn’t very uplifting.
14. Crazy Not To: Again with the sarcasm, Danny?
13. Lift Up Your Eyes: Literally uplifting.
12. Better Than Gold: In music terms, that would be platinum. That’s an honor recording artists get when they sell a lot of albums. We’re talking to you, Danny Gokey.
11. More Than You Think I Am: Perhaps a direct response to the text accompanying No. 12.
10. Tell Your Heart To Beat Again: Maybe a plea to learn to love again. Maybe something you scream into the night when someone is recently deceased.
9. It’s Not Over: This phrase is typically said when trailing by an insurmountable sum.
8. This Is What It Means: It, you say?
7. I Still Believe: Still? The message is positive, but something bad must’ve happened to test the protagonist’s faith.
6. Be Somebody: Usually a rally cry to inspire nobodies. However, this is also The Vanguard’s motto, which always inspires us.
5. Pretty Beautiful: But we could be more beautiful. Yeah, it’s not over, but this is what it means?
4. My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me: Suggesting the preceding days were pretty much dog shit.
3. Love Will Take You Places: As long as one of those places isn’t Sheboygan, we’re in.
2. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: Ah, Shark Week!
1. Take It to the Limit