Single Review: Kelly Clarkson “Since U Been Gone”

Since U Been Gone
Album: Breakaway
Year: 2004

According to MTV.com, Kelly Clarkson has accepted the fact that she will always be thought of as the first American Idol winner. From the MTV feature: “I will never break away from ‘American Idol.’ I’m the first one. It’s on the grave. I’ve come to realize that and it’s OK, I don’t care.”

It’s also an excellent answer to an otherwise tricky question. The American Idol label usually means “mediocre music sung by wannabe professional singers on a reality show.” While music’s quality is debateable, the talent is not. The American Idols and Clay Aiken have proven themselves to be able to sing live week after week without a vocal aid or lip-synching.

In “Since You’ve Been Gone,” written by former Evansensce members David Hodges and Ben Moody, Clarkson confronts her ex-boyfriend after he asks for another chance. In the first verse, she talks about their history. They were friends first and then became couple. He began being the best boyfriend ever. However, she didn’t know where she stood with him even though she made it clear she saw a future with him (“Here’s the thing we started off friends/
It was cool but it was all pretend…You dedicated you took the time/Wasn’t long till I called you mine/And all you’d ever hear me say/Is how I pictured me with you/That’s all you’d ever hear me say”).

In the chorus, she lets him know she’s better off without him and feels free (“But since you’ve been gone/I can breathe for the first time/I’m so movin on/thanks to you/now I get/what I want”).

In the second verse, she reveals she felt like he played her and he wasn’t honest about his feelings toward her. (“How can I put it? you put me on/I even fell for that stupid love song…How come I never hear you say/I just wanna be with you/I guess you never felt that way”). In the bridge, she finally tells him he doesn’t have a chance with her and she has forgotten about him already. She doesn’t want anything to do with him (“You had your chance you blew it/Out of sight, out of mind/Shut your mouth I just can’t take it/Again and again and again and again”).

While performing the single on the American Idol Christmas Special, Clarkson displayed a lot of enthusiasm. She was into the song herself and she enjoyed singing it on stage. In the studio version, Clarkson’s voice has a sultry indifference to it during the verses. She’s peeved, but she’s being cool about it. However, in the chorus, she lets her frustration loose.

On “Low” she proved she could handle rock-influenced songs better than dance pop singles. Now, Clarkson finally follows through on the promise and uses her strengths in her voice.

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