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Album Review

Kelly Clarkson was the first American Idol winner and the first vocalist to achieve success, but her 2003 debut, Thankful, didn't completely define her outside of the parameters of the show. While the dance-pop and adult contemporary ballads on that record were fresher than the music on AmIdol, Clarkson still hadn't escaped the show's shadow entirely: since it was a hit so close to her time on TV, it was easy to pigeonhole her as simply a creation of television, not a popular singer in her own right. So, her second album, Breakaway, released late in 2004, was a pivotal moment for her, a chance to prove that she was not a one-hit wonder, a chance to prove that she could have a real, vibrant career. Happily, Breakaway delivers on that promise. This time around, the dance-pop elements have been almost entirely stripped away, and the record instead is a rock-influenced, MOR pop affair, not entirely dissimilar to Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography, only a little bit smoother and not as heavy on guitars. Since Clarkson is a better singer than Simpson — not only does she possess more chops, but she has more on-record charisma — she can sell the material even when the slow tempos in the middle of record drag its momentum; she prevents the songs from sounding too samey. While there may be one too many ballads here, they often are very good and sometimes are excellent, like the light, layered, yearning title tune. Clarkson may be a fine ballad singer, but what gives Breakaway its spine are the driving, anthemic pop tunes like "Since U Been Gone," "Walk Away," and "You Found Me." These are the numbers that sound simultaneously mainstream and youthful, which is a hard trick to pull off, and they are the tracks that illustrate that Kelly Clarkson is a rare thing in the 2000s: a pop singer who's neither hip nor square, just solidly and enjoyably in the mainstream. After a bunch of rather blah mainstream pop albums, including a glut of half-baked AmIdol projects, this is a nice, low-key relief.

Customer Reviews

One of the best albums from KC!

Kelly Clarkson is one of my favourite singers, and this album is just one reason why! 1. Breakaway - Kelly is saying in this song not only is she breaking away from her small town life, but she is also breaking away from the bubble-gum pop sound of her first album. Great album opener and title choice. 5/5 2. Since U Been Gone - Kelly's vocals are just awesome on this song, the tune is easy to sing-a-long to, and the music video makes it greater! One of Kelly's finest. 5/5 3. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly's angry tune is breaking more into her pop/rock atmosphere, and is a great song for the album. 5/5 4. Because of You - The sad song about Kelly's real-life parents divorcing brings back memories for me. Kelly masters how teens are scared to be in a relationship (or marriage) because she thinks she will get hurt like her mother ("I watched you die, I heard you cry"). 5/5 5. Gone - One of the best on the album. The lyrics, tune, vocals and everything in this song are just fantastic. The only part in the song that I would change is where she goes "What you see's not what you get..." over and over again, but I'm going to dismiss that because the song is one of my favourites. 5/5 6. Addicted - The melody, message, lyrics, and Kelly's vocals are just amazing on this track. It really should have been a single. 5/5 7. Where Is Your Heart - A beautiful power ballad. 5/5 8. Walk Away - The most fun song on the album. Great choice for the closing single, because she is walking away from this album and on to the next. The song is about how she is looking for something very specific, and if her potential boyfriend doesn't have it, then he should walk away ("I'm looking for attention, not another question, should you stay or should you go? Well if you don't have the answer, why're you still standing here? Hey, hey, hey, heeey, just walk away!") 5/5 9. You Found Me - One of my favourites from the album. The melody is catchy, the lyrics flow perfectly, and it's just plain fun. 5/5 10. I Hate Myself for Losing You - My newest favourite, Kelly sings about that boy who she left but now wants back ("How do you cry when every day you said, 'don't ever bring him back again'?") 5/5 11. Hear Me - If I had to choose one song to not listen to on the album, it would be this one. I just don't really like it. 4/5 12. Beautiful Disaster (live) - My favourite song from 'Thankful' turned into a wonderful live version for 'Breakaway'. Kelly Clarkson sounds amazing live all of the time (not just most like some singers). Putting a live version of this fantastic song on this album was genius. 5/5 TOTAL: 59/60 A! Kelly Clarkson's best album alongside All I Ever Wanted.


so this album came out in 1950? This is kelly's best album, beautiful disaster is great.

good album

this album has really good tracks. it's not something i'm crazy about but tis' good. what's with the 1950? interesting...


Born: April 24, 1982 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The winner of Fox TV's first American Idol competition during the summer of 2002, Kelly Clarkson went from an anonymous talent to a nationally known singer in a matter of months, performing for an audience of millions. One of the show's most naturally gifted singers, the affable Texan then went on to enjoy a successful pop career, with only Carrie Underwood rivaling her as American Idol's most commercial export. Clarkson was born in Fort Worth and raised in Burleson, Texas, and her vocal talents...
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