Album Review: Kelly Clarkson, “Breakaway” (2004)

When I think of Kelly Clarkson, I think of American Idol. I think of her movie (that I liked, even though it flopped), From Justin To Kelly: The Tale of Two American Idols. I think of her debut album,Thankful, which had the song “A Moment Like This” on it. You know, the song she sang on American Idol. Kelly Clarkson and American Idol are synonymous. And it’s not really a good thing anymore.


I suppose Clarkson realized the same thing about her career, and when it was time to record material for her sophomore album, Breakaway, she figured she’d get as far away from American Idol and anything even remotely related to it as she could.

The result is a mature album, full of songs co-written by Clarkson, and Evanescence-sounding vocals; a complete departure from the Kelly Clarkson we used to relate with American Idol.

The album begins with title track, Breakaway.  This is pretty much the only “light” or “fluffy” song on the album. Which makes me wonder why it’s the tile track, because this song does not encompass the theme of the album at all. Anyway, this is a pop song about going after your dreams.  It’s fairly stereotypical pop-fluff, but a decent enough song, all the same.

I really like Since U Been Gone. It starts off wonderfully, with Kelly singing “Here’s the thing, we started off friends,” and then the beat kicks in. By the chorus, the tempo picks up more, and Kelly is practically screaming. This song has so much energy in it…it’s a great song to listen to when you’re in the mood to jump around and dance. Most reviews of this album have several Avril Lavinge comparisons in them, and Behind These Hazel Eyes is definitelyAvril. I’m pretty sure if I had just listened to this for the first time, not knowing it was Kelly, I’d say it’s a song by Lavinge. Clarksonsort of sounds like her, and the whole way the song is composed is just Avril Lavinge. The heartbroken lyrics, the guitar-based chorus, the agony-ridden vocals…the whole thing reminds me of her. Which is a bit unfortunate ’cause I’m not a big Lavinge fan, so I usually skip this song.

Here it is-the second comparison.  Because Of You reminds me (as well as several other reviewers) of something by Evanescence. The soft, piano based verses sound close to “My Immortal”, andthe chorus jumps up in tempo…just like most of Evanescense’s songs. This could be due to the fact that one of their members, Ben Moody, co-wrote and produced this track.  Anyway, this is quite a good song. Kelly sings about a negative relationship with someone (I’ve heard it’s about her parents), and the impact they’ve had on her life. The lyrics are vulnerable and honest, for example: “Because of you/I’m ashamed of my life/Because it’s empty/Because of you/I am afraid”.

I LOVE Addicted. The song is very slow, and almost depressing, but it works well. And the lyrics are amazing. Some of my favorites are in the chorus (“It’s like I can’t breathe/Without you interrupting me”) and during the bridge (“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”). The subject matter reminds me a bit of Christina Aguilera’s song, “Walk Away”, but this track has a bit more edge to it. I love it!

Where Is Your Heart is the closest to anything you’ll find on Thankful. It’s the only ballad on the album, but it still comes off as being a lot more mature than anything on Clarkson’s debut. I think my favorite thing about this song is the honesty in the lyrics. Lines from the chorus, “Where is your heart?/Cause I don’t really feel you” and “Is it so hard/To give me what I need/I want your heart to bleed/And that’s all I’m asking for” as well as other parts in the song are ones I can personally relate to, so maybe that’s why I like this song so much. When Clarkson is singing this song, you can’t help but feel that she is singing the words from her heart; that’s she had this exact experience in real life, which makes the song even more likable.

Walk Awayreminds me so much of Fefe Dobson. If you don’t know who she is, she’s like a watered down version of Avril Lavinge. And she released a single this summer called “Boys and Girls” (I’m in LOVE with that song), and Walk Away reminds me so much of it, since they both have an 80’s pop feel. Walk Away is another fun song…it makes me want to dance around in some leg warmers and sing into my hairbrush while pretending it’s a microphone.

The album goes downhill from this point on.You Found Me is just OK…it’s not really a skip, but not good enough to stand out, either. It’s just a bit boring. Gone has a peppy, 80’s feel to it. It’s upbeat and makes me want to dance, but besides that, it’s not that great. The lyrics are pretty boring and Clarkson doesn’t sound special in it or anything. I usually skip this one, unless I’m in a hyper mood. I Hate Myself For Losing You is probably the worst song on the album. I NEVER listen to it. It’s over dramatic, the lyrics suck (“What do you do/When you look in the mirror/And staring at you/Is why he’s not here” *rolls eyes*), and even Clarkson’s voice can’t do it justice. It kind of upsets me that they chose to put this song on the album, and skipped on such a great song as “Don’t” (a song Clarkson sang on tour with Clay Aiken…it was TONS better than this track!). I’m not sure why I like Hear Me, but I do. Lyrically, there’s not much different going on, but musically, it’s great to listen to. It starts off slow and sweet, but picks up during the chorus, as Kelly sings “Hear me/I’m crying out/I’m ready now/Turn my world upside down/Find me!”

The album ends with a live version of Beautiful Disaster.  If you have Thankful then you know that this song is included on that album as well. This version is composed of just Clarkson and the piano instead of all the production on the original, which works nicely. I do like this version better, but it is a bit unnecessary.

Breakaway is a great sophomore release from Kelly Clarkson.  She has successfully grown as an artist and moved away from her American Idol image, and the result is a well-written, nicely produced album, mostly filled with hit songs.

Rating: 3_stars.svg

Track List
1. Breakaway
2. Since U Been Gone
3. Behind These Hazel Eyes
4. Because of You
5. Gone
6. Addicted
7. Where Is Your Heart
8. Walk Away
9. You Found Me
10. I Hate Myself for Losing You
11. Hear Me
12. Beautiful Disaster – (live)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7UrFYvl5TE]

*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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