In the summer of 2002, a 20-year-old girl from Burleson, Texas, appeared on the inaugural season of a little summer singing show. Nine years after being crowned the Original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson is a superstar pop diva—I will fight anyone who tries to argue that point—and one of the best voices in the industry today.
In preparation of next Monday's release of Stronger, her fifth album to date, I've compiled a list of Kelly's top 10 best songs. There were some difficult decisions made, and there are many amazing and classic Kelly songs not represented, but here it is.
In today's Part 1, I've enlisted the help of Kelly Clarkson superfan Alex Goldschmidt to rundown #6-10—even if he didn't fully agree with the list. Get ready to rock out and scream in total fanboy fashion (or is that just me...?).
Honorable Mention: "A Moment Like This" (Thankful)
Oh, I can't believe it's happening to me
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this
Brian Forte: Although it didn't make the Top 10, I would be remiss if I didn't mention it at all. Few American Idol champion songs have so wonderfully captured the essence of that life-changing experience like "A Moment Like This." It was the perfect way for her to launch her amazing journey into stardom.
Alex Goldschmidt: The song that started it all. While it's cheesy and ridiculous in its own way, it's just a Kelly classic through and through. It's best to listen to the song at sunset looking optimistically out a window somewhere in the middle of a snow storm. Or something. Just respect and don't critique it and just love it.
#10: "If I Can't Have You" (All I Ever Wanted)
We can break these rules
If you wanna have some fun
Think of all the love that you would lose
If I can't have you
BF: I love when Kelly slips into full-blown rocker mode. It's impossible to listen to this song and not want to jump around and sing along and flail like a crazy person. And if you need a good song to keep you going at the gym, this is a definite go-to.
AG: One of Kelly's writing collaborations with hit-maker Ryan Tedder, this song really takes her rocker self to some new, grittier territory. It's almost not pop anymore but just rock. You honestly believe that if Kelly can't have you then you better run because she will actually kill you.
#9: "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Breakaway)
Now all that's left of me is what I pretend to be
So together, but so broken up inside
BF: Kelly is a master of songs about heartbreak, and "Behind These Hazel Eyes" is a prime example. Yes, she's hurt and, yes, she's torn to pieces, but there's an empowerment there that few singers can match.
AG: There are many sides to Kellegendary Clarkson. The third single off Breakaway truly showed us how hard she can rock. This girl pains but she'll kill you so don't walk all over her.
#8: "Never Again" (My December)
You wrote me in a letter
You couldn't say it right to my face
Give me that Sunday school answer
Repent yourself away
BF: My December is my least favorite of Kelly's albums—though it should be said they I love the way she decided to do things her way instead of being a puppet to her label—but "Never Again" is definitely one of her best singles. She's pissed off and she's going to let you know about it and I love it.
AG: The first single from the much maligned yet fan-loved My December was Kelly's most deliciously evil. The video is probably her best and it's sad that the album's troubles overshadowed the music.
#7: "Walk Away" (Breakaway)
I know you know I know
So what's the point in being slow
Let's get this show on the road today, hey
BF: Every time "Walk Away" plays, I just imagine standing in front of guy and just wagging my finger in his face. There's so much sass in this song and it's amazing.
AG: I was not initially sold on Kelly's fifth single from Breakaway. It just didn't latch on to me. But if you have ever seen Kelly live, this song takes on a complete life of its own. You can't help but violently kick, dance and scream-sing until you hurt - and you hurt so good.
#6: "Because of You" (Breakaway)
I'm forced to fake, a smile, a laugh
Every day of my life
My heart can't possibly break
When it wasn't even whole to start with
BF: Originally written when Kelly was 16 as a way to cope with her parents divorce, "Because of You" is undoubtedly one of her most heart-wrenching ballads, and a major favorite at her concerts.
AG: Just watch any performance she has ever done of the fourth single off Breakaway. It needs no blurb or description. It's flawless and gorgeous.
Tomorrow, Kelly Clarkson's #1 fan will be here to help me countdown the Top 5, but for now: would these songs make your Top 10? Are you exploding with excitement about Stronger's release next week? And which songs are you hoping make it all the way to the top?
Alex Goldschmidt is a Publicity Assistant at The Karpel Group and a contributor at Pop Bytes. For all the latest information on the Real Housewives, Lady Gaga and Hollywood gossip, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alexandergold.
[Image Source: KellyClarkson.com]