Kris Allen, "Live Like We're Dying"

"American Idol" winner Kris Allen has wisely chosen to scrap his Kara DioGuardi-penned coronation song, "No Boundaries," in favor of this impressive new single about seizing the day. "We only got 864 hundred seconds in a day/To turn it all around or to throw it all away/Gotta tell 'em that we love 'em while we got the chance to say," he sings. "Live Like We're Dying" was originally intended for Irish band the Script, but Allen improves on the unreleased version with a nuanced vocal and a nimble, rhythmic delivery. The tongue-twister verses work in spite of themselves, and even when Allen does his best Bob Dylan impression on the bridge, he emerges safely on the other side. It seems Allen is still emboldened by the risks he took on "Idol," and those who voted for the singer/songwriter in May should be feeling the same after hearing the first track from his Nov. 17 debut.-Monica Herrera