Album Review: Kelly Clarkson, “Thankful” (2003)

America loves Kelly Clarkson. Or at least they should, since she won last years title of American Idol. I’ve never been a huge Kelly fan, but I always liked her voice, and thought she had a sweet personality. And being the big AI buff that I am, I’d already vowed to buy all of the top five’s albums when they came out.

I don’t know about the others, but Kelly’s isn’t half bad. Despite the fact that she seems to struggle with whether she wants to be a R&B, pop, rock, or gospel singer, it’s still a pretty solid debut effort. That said, on with the review…

“The Trouble With Love Is” has a kind of old school feel to it that I like. Besides that, TTWLI isn’t all that interesting, and although Kelly’s vocals are great, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before.  I think “Miss Independent” is the perfect choice for the first single. It’s got this funky, kind of rock flair to it, and it’s just a fun song to sing along to. It also has this guitar driven beat that pulsates in the background that I love.

“Low” is the first light rock song off the album. It’s one of my favorites off Thankful, mainly because of the melody and catchy lyrics. Kelly also delivers in the vocal department; going up a whole octave during the chorus and bridge. Kelly channels Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera in Diane Warren penned ballad, “Some Kind Of Miracle.” It’s typical Diane…mushy love lyrics poured over a sappy piano based melody. Of course, I love it.

“What’s Up Lonely” is one of the more forgettable tracks on the album. I originally liked this song, but forgot it as I listened to the other songs on the CD. It’s a cute kind of song in which Kelly talks to the ‘loneliness’ that is following her. I think a different producer could have given it the spark to make it more memorable. Kelly lets out her inner Avril and Alanis in pop-rock song, “Just Missed The Train”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This song is reminiscent of Low, but misses the catchiness of it’s predecessor. Not a terribly bad song, but not the best.

“Beautiful Diaster” reminds me of the 80’s for some reason. I think it sounds like an 80’s song…but I’m not sure which one. Anyway, Kelly sounds lovely as she sings about a guy who is beautiful, but at the same time…a disaster.  Kelly reunites with AI alum Tamyra Gray for this 2003 update on The Boy Is Mine (remember that song?), “You Thought Wrong.” This time, Kelly and Tamyra have joined forces and are mad at the guy that did them wrong. The song, produced by The Underdogs and Face, is decent, but Kelly and Tamyra seem to get drowned out by the overly loud production in the chorus.

The title track, “Thankful” is my favorite song on the album. Thankful is a bouncy, R&B type song, which for some reason, comes off as sounding like a song that’d belong on a gospel album. Either way, I love it, and Kelly should be proud, because she actually co-wrote it.

I know a lot of people were expecting Kelly’s whole album to be full of power-ballads like “Anytime”, and even though I like this song, I’m glad this is basically the only Celine/Mariah/Whitney (excluding SKOM) type song on the album. Kelly’s voice is strong and beautiful, and the only thing that upsets me about this song is that it was originally a duet with Justin (and is featured in their movie From Justin: To Kelly) but they cut him out for some reason. I guess RCA/19 E didn’t want Kelly to have two duets on the album, but honestly, they could’ve scrapped YTW. No offense to Tamyra, but I’d take Justin any day.

I don’t know why “A Moment Like This” and “Before Your Love” are billed as bonus tracks, but whatever. They’re also labeled as a “new mix”, but that’s not true either. The only time I ever really liked “A Moment Like This” was when Kelly sang it at the finale after winning, and I only liked it then because of how sweet it was that Kelly was crying and all. Now the song is just very old and played out and almost annoying.

Again, “Before Your Love” is another played out song, although I can listen to it more than AMLT. There is really nothing to say about this song, since everyone’s already heard it a million times, but I do think that Kelly holds the last note a few seconds longer than she does on her single’s version. So that must be the “new mix” the CD advertises. *rolls eyes*

Kelly Clarkson’s debut is a decent effort, but “Thankful” lacks the quality that I expected from an artist like Kelly.  Hopefully her next album will show some growth and better production value.

Rating: 3_stars.svg

Track Listing
1. The Trouble With Love Is
2. Miss Independent
3. Low
4. Some Kind of Miracle
5. What’s Up Lonely
6. Just Missed the Train
7. Beautiful Disaster
8. You Thought Wrong – (featuring Tamyra Gray)
9. Thankful
10. Anytime
11. A Moment Like This- (New Mix)
12. Before Your Love – (New Mix)

*This is a brittpinkie “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.


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