Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born on April 24th, 1982 in Fort Worth, Texas. She won the first season of ‘American Idol’ back in 2002. Her debut album, THANKFUL, came out in April 2003. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and its lead single, ‘Miss Independent’ was a hit that was nominated for a Grammy. Clarkson put out her second album, BREAKAWAY (RCA-19-S) in 2004. In 2005 it was the world’s seventh best selling album. BREAKAWAY won a Grammy for ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’. In the liner notes, Kelly writes: “God, You are so gracious and giving. There are no words to describe my love and passion for You. These past couple of years have been a bit hard and so crazy and I thank You for being with me and teaching me to just let things go and give them up to You because no matter how strong I think I am, I CANNOT do anything without You”.
The title track, ‘Breakaway’, was the album’s fifth and final single. One of the co-writers is Avril Lavigne. It’s a highly inspirational adult contemporary ballad: “I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly/I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky/And I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change/And break away/Out of the darkness and into the sun/But I won’t forget all the ones that I love/I’ll take a risk, take a chance, make a change/And break away”. ‘Since U Been Gone’ was written by Martin Sandberg and Dr. Luke. It was the album’s lead single and won a Grammy for ‘Best Female Pop Vocal Performance’, although I consider it an energetic rock song. These lyrics rejoice at having one’s freedom: “Since you been gone/I can breathe for the first time/I’m so movin’ on/Yeah, yeah/Thanks to you, now I get what I want/Since you been gone/You had your chance, you blew it/Out of sight, out of mind/Shut your mouth/I just can’t take it/Again, and again, and again, and again!!!”
‘Behind these Hazel Eyes’ peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was in that chart’s Top 10 for fifteen weeks! It’s a strong rock track of heartache: “Now I can’t breathe, no I can’t sleep/I’m barely hanging on/Here I am once again/I’m torn into pieces/Can’t deny it, can’t pretend/Just thought you were the one/Broken up deep inside/But you won’t get to see the tears I cry/Behind these hazel eyes”. The album’s third single, ‘Because of You’, is next. It’s a sad, powerful ballad: “Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk/Because of you I learned to stay on the safe side so I don’t get hurt/Because of you I try my hardest just to forget everything/Because of you I don’t know how to let anyone else in/Because of you/I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty/Because of you I am afraid/Because of you”.
Kara DioGuardi and John Shanks wrote ‘Gone’, a song about a romantic relationship being over: “You know you did it/I’m gone to find someone to live for in this world/There’s no light at the end of the tunnel tonight/Just a bridge that I gotta burn/You are wrong if you think you can walk right through my door/That is just so you/Coming back when I’ve finally moved on”. ‘Addicted’ uses piano and strings and includes these raw words: “I’m hooked on you/I need a fix, I can’t take it/Just one more hit/I promise I can deal with it/I’ll handle it, quit it/Just one more time, then that’s it/Just a little bit more to get me through this”.
‘Where is Your Heart’ is an adult contemporary ballad that questions one’s partner: “Where is your heart?/Cause I don’t really feel you/Where is your heart?/What I really want is to believe you/Is it so hard to give me what I need?/I want your heart to bleed and that’s all I’m asking for/Where is your heart?” Next up is ‘Walk Away’. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a Top 40 hit internationally. 2 of the co-writers are Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida. On this catchy pop/rock song Kelly doesn’t mince any words: “I want a love, I want a fire, to feel the burn, my desires/I want a man by my side not a boy who runs and hides/Are you gonna fight for me, die for me/Live and breathe for me?/Do you care for me?/Cause if you don’t, then just leave”.
‘You Found Me’ sings the praises of a guy: “You found me/When no one else was looking/How did you know just where I would be?/Yeah, you broke through all of my confusion/The ups and the downs and you still didn’t leave/I guess that you saw what nobody could see/You found me”. ‘I Hate Myself for Losing You’ is an honest song: “I woke up today/Woke up wide awake/In an empty bed/Staring at an empty room/I have myself to blame for the state I’m in today/And now dying doesn’t seem so cruel/And oh, I don’t know what to say/And I don’t know anyway, anymore/I hate myself for losing you”.
A rock song, ‘Hear Me’, follows. It shows vulnerability: “I used to be scared of letting someone in/But it gets lonely being on my own/No one to talk to and no one to hold me/I’m not always strong/Oh, I need you here/Are you listening?” Last up is a live version of ‘Beautiful Disaster’, a song from Kelly’s first album. The writers are Matthew Wilder and Rebekah Jordan. Jason Halbert plays piano. The song reflects on a guy: “I’m longing for love and the logical/But he’s only happy hysterical/I’m searching for some kind of miracle/Waiting so long.../He’s soft to the touch/But frayed at the ends he breaks/He’s never enough and still he’s more than I can take”.
BREAKAWAY is mainly a rock music album with touches of adult contemporary music. The album begins with a song about chasing one’s dreams and reaching one’s full potential, but by far the main lyrical theme is heartache and heartbreak. Kelly wants more than just a ho-hum relationship. Benefits of getting out of a bad relationship include gaining one’s freedom and independence, and starting over with a clean slate. A happy love song is thrown in for good measure. Kelly is a powerful vocalist and for the most part the songs here are well-written. I’m rating BREAKAWAY 93.5%. For more info visit: www.kellyclarkson.com.