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Kelly Clarkson breaks into pop rock

Becca Saunders | Thursday, January 13, 2005

Move over Avril and Ashlee, there is a new pop rock princess on the scene. Kelly Clarkson is a name everyone has heard, unlike most of her songs, which until now were not really worth listening too. In her second album “Breakaway,” Clarkson reveals a new side of herself and a greater depth in her musical ability as an artist. The former wannabe pop princess has increased her breadth as she tackles songs with much harder rhythms and a darker side of her unquestionably strong voice. Clarkson, the winner of the first “American Idol” contest, released a platinum album after the finale of “American Idol” in 2002. The album, called “Thankful” certainly had fans, but Clarkson’s true talent and musical persona was still greatly called into question. “Breakaway” is an answer to the cynics who did not believe Clarkson to be a true “Idol.” In “Breakaway” Clarkson proves that she is a mature musician who has sufficiently stretched herself and her music in her second album, and the results are nothing less than impressive. The first two singles from “Breakaway” sum up the content of the album in a couple of ways. While the singles, “Breakaway” and “Since U Been Gone” are both great songs, they are very different from one another. “Breakaway,” which was featured in “The Princess Diaries 2,” is a ballad backed by a strong melody that showcases the diva side of Clarkson’s powerful voice. Written by Avril Lavigne, “Breakaway” pretty much sounds like a slow track from an Avril Lavigne album, but with a much more powerful voice that was meant to sing ballads. The song talks about a dreamer that “grew up in a small town” and eventually leaves to pursue her dreams. Singing of the difficultly of leaving to do so Clarkson sings, “I’ll spread my wings / And I’ll learn how to fly / Though it’s not easy / To tell you goodbye / I gotta take a risk, take a chance make a change / And break away.” The lyrics are cheesy, but any slight fan of the pop genre cannot help but get caught up in the emotion of this song. There are a handful of ballads backed by strong keys with Clarkson belting out huge notes and crescendos on the album. Conversely, there are also a handful of songs like “Since U Been Gone,” which is a guitar driven rock song with a pop flavor. Hardly sentimental, “Since U Been Gone” is a song about newfound freedom after being dumped by a boyfriend. The song’s energy is undeniable; “Since U Been Gone” is certainly one of the strongest songs on the album. The new direction of Clarkson most likely has something to do with her choice of writing partners and producers for “Because of You” and “Addicted,” that being the former members of Evanescence Ben Moody and Dave Hodges. This also may explain why in “Because of You” and especially in “Addicted” it is hard to tell if you are listening to Amy Lee or Kelly. Overall, “Breakaway” is a good album that shows great potential for Kelly Clarkson. However, Clarkson’s true music style is not clear after listening to “Breakaway” as so many different paths are explored throughout the album. “Breakaway” is precisely what the title suggests for Clarkson, a break from the world of pop and into the world of rock, but how much farther is Clarkson going to travel? Only album three will tell.