My teenage years summed up in two words would be: Kelly Clarkson. I spent hours upon hours singing my little heart out to her ‘Breakaway’ album, thoroughly believing she had written every single word directly to me. I saw her in concert and got a t shirt which I still occasionally squish into to relive my youth. Fast forward eight years, and a decade since she won American Idol, and Kelly Clarkson’s greatest hits album ‘Greatest Hits – Chapter 1’ has just been released. The album features three brand new tracks as well as a compilation of her most successful tracks from the five albums she’s released (Thankful, Breakaway, My December, All I Ever Wanted, Stronger).
Opening number smash hit hairbrush anthem Since U Been Gone appropriately sets the tone for this feel-good album. This song is promptly followed by My Life Would Suck Without You – both songs containing a big punchy singalong chorus. The next two songs Miss Independent and Stronger are much of the same upbeat nature. Keeping up the tempo and the strong beat through the chorus, these first four songs play perfectly from one onto the next creating a particularly good playlist if you’re getting ready to go out.
You can see the order of the playlist has been selected carefully, for it would appear the songs link in some way. We are then taken to a more angsty and emotional side of Kelly, as she sings Behind These Hazel Eyes. A rockier, heavy sound runs through the production of this track creating the perfect foundation for her belting vocals. We are then introduced to a more vulnerable side in Because of You, and then Never Again almost tells the tale of the aftermath and her new attitude. Cleverly, songs which are completely independent to one another seem to lace together to create a story.
The album also features some classics – Breakaway and A Moment Like This – two beautiful ballads which cement Kelly as one of the greatest female vocalists of our generation. Clarkson explores the country side of her voice in duet Don’t You Wanna Stay with Jason Aldean, a heartfelt number.
New song and latest single Catch My Breath is a definite hit. Co-written by Clarkson herself, the honest lyrics go perfectly with her signature style of catchy pop-rock songs. The track has a familiar feel to it and is sure to make Clarkson fans very happy.
This album really highlights what a successful decade in music it’s been for Clarkson. Above all, her versatility shines through as she effortlessly flits between genres from track to track. If I had to make a recommendation, perhaps the song order needs a slight shuffle, it’s very much all the upbeat tracks are grouped together, as are all the more melodic songs. I would have enjoyed more of a variety from one song to the next, however it was obviously a deliberate decision and that’s just personal opinion. If you’re a Kelly Clarkson fan, this album is perfect for you. If not, then it really is a compilation of her best work.