Single Review: Kelly Clarkson “Breakaway”

Album: The Princess Diaries 2 Soundtrack
Year: 2004

“Breakaway” is not only Clarkson’s new single but new marketing theme as well. With this single, her official website has had a slight redesign. The colors changed from the dull white and tan to a light navy blue. The original photo, which featured Clarkson smiling for the camera in a crocheted sweater, conveyed sweetness and innocence. In the new photo, only Clarkson’s face can be seen. With kohl eyes and an intense look, she is aiming to be thought of as sexier and tougher than previously shown.

Written by Matthew Gerrard and Avril Lavigne, “Breakaway” finds Clarkson wanting to leave her ordinary life behind and achieve something better. In the first verse, the listener learns that the setting is a small town and how it made her dream of bigger things (“Grew up in a small town/and when the rain would fall down/I stared out my window/dreaming of a could-be”) In the chorus, she proclaims she will do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true (“I’ll take a risk/take a chance/make a change/and breakaway”) In the second verse, she’s thinking of maybe going to Los Angeles (“want to feel the warm breeze/sleep under a palm tree”) with whatever transportation gets her there (“Get onboard a fast train/travel on a jet plane/far away”) Although in the final verse, the listener learns that perhaps it’s the city she wants (“Buildings with a hundred floors/swinging around revolving doors”)

With fluid and low-key vocals, she is able to get the past another mistake that was often made during her first album: oversinging. Although she raises her voice at the end, it’s for a short time. But mostly, she uses her lower register. It’s a welcome change from the overreaching high notes and straining which ruined some otherwise decent songs from Thankful.

While she is slowly but surely shaking away the tiresome American Idol label of her career, she needs to find better music to accompany the change. “Breakaway” is plain, adult contemporary rewrite of what would’ve been the standard Matrix rock song. She needs music with zest and imagination to it.


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