Kelly Clarkson – Greatest Hits
Ten years in the game, now is as good a time as any for Kelly Clarkson to mark her first decade as a successful artist with a compilation album. Unlike most, she’s been able to maintain her popularity during the entire duration of her career despite a dip in the middle of it but she came back relatively strong. It’s all represented on her first Greatest Hitsalbum.
The strengths of this collection is that it includes all of her big hits: Since U Been Gone, Miss Independent, Stronger, etc. Pretty much what you’d expect from her. The limitations come with merely technicalities. Greatest Hits implies that there are other hits that weren’t included on here. The only hit of Kelly’s missing from this is I Do Not Hook Up, otherwise, all of her other singles were non-hits.
A more suitable direction, in the long run, would have been to compile a Best Of collection which would have also allowed a greater diversity of Kelly’s songs. Granted, songs like Walk Away, Since U Been Gone and My Life Would Suck Without You are all worthy contenders for the best of pop music in the 2000s, the musical variation amongst them is limited as Kelly approaches them all the same way; likewise for her ballads like Because Of You and Already Gone. This is especially potent considering that her most adventurous album My December is only represented by an obligatory track, Never Again, despite it actually containing some pretty decent material.
The other weakness comes with the inclusion of the Christmas track I’ll Be Home For Christmas which is, at least to my knowledge, not quite up to par with the other “hits” on this album, since this is a Greatest Hits, and come April, will sound completely out of place. Nothing against the sounds of the season but unless it’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and you’re Mariah Carey, or it’s a collection of Bing Crosby hits, holiday songs just feel off on albums like this.
Three new songs were recorded for this collection including the underwhelming first single Catch My Breath, which is essentially a musical response of Kelly’s achievements for the first ten years. Standard inspirational lyrics where Kelly sings about not being held down. People Like Us has more energy and looks forward rather than reflecting and is simply the better of the two songs and despite the common production, it sounds fresh by Kelly’s standards. The third new track, Don’t Rush, is a duet with country star Vince Gill which satisfies Kelly’s recent expansion into country.
Kelly has mastered the sound of pop although judging by her more recent discography, she hasn’t evolved it much in recent years. However, her two country duets on here show her striking ability as a country vocalist and indicate what her next step should be. Unless she’s able to change up her sound for her pop records, she should move toward the sounds she’s embraced and been embraced by when she’s done collaborations with country music’s finest as well as her occasional country remix. Greatest Hits: Chapter One is a fine collection for fans of pop music in general but if there’s to be a second chapter, Kelly desperately needs to expand.
1. Since U Been Gone
2. My Life Would Suck Without You
3. Miss Independent
4. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
5. Behind These Hazel Eyes
6. Because Of You
7. Never Again
8. Already Gone
9. Mr. Know It All
11. Don’t You Wanna Stay [with Jason Aldean]
12. Walk Away
13. Catch My Breath
14. People Like Us
15. Don’t Rush [with Vince Gill]
16. A Moment Like This
17. I’ll Be Home For Christmas