Breakaway

Studio Album by released in 2004

Breakaway review

The winner of Fox TV's first American Idol competition, during the summer of 2002 Kelly Clarkson went from an anonymous talent to a nationally known singer performing for an audience of millions of viewers. One of 10,000 aspiring singers, Clarkson distinguished herself not only with her big, surprisingly mature voice, but also with her down-to-earth charm and sense of humor. She doesn't rip her clothes off like Christina Aguilera, make a spectacle of herself like Britney Spears, or plant her face on TV like Ashlee Simpson. Instead, she acts just like the girls you grew up with who were pretty cool and just plain nice to everyone. There couldn't have been a more perfect title to her sophomore effort. Breakaway is just that, a new direction for a very talented artist. Kelly Clarkson just seems like an all-around decent person.

The album is packed with songs by great producers, great songwriters and lead by Kelly's gorgeous and husky voice. It feels like a young woman's diary, filled with pain, pleasure and touch of cynicism that feels just right. First single and leadoff track Breakaway topped the pop charts on arrival, and its rock-friendly thumps, dips, and rolls don't wear out their welcome. Instead, they blend into the firestorm of beats and guitars that is Since U Been Gone, another shout-it-out rocker. Those songs set the tone for the rest of the disc in all its fury: the innocence is long gone, Addicted and Hear Me say. The big, expressive voice ringed by the occasional high-pitch trill doesn't dip entirely off the radar, though. On Where Is Your Heart and the stunning live closer Beautiful Disaster, it's there in full force – a hint, maybe, that despite the wide, smart career step Breakaway represents, her fans come first. It's not hard to detect a little influence of Avril Lavigne on Since U Been Gone and Behind These Hazel Eyes, and there's also a bit of Amy Lee, especially on Addicted and Hear Me thrown in, but this impressive follow-up pushes Clarkson into the running for the best female pop album of the year. Her songs now have a slightly darker, rockier edge, but her amazing vocals are never lost or covered up. Breakaway has more depth and personality in her lyrics and sound rather than Thankful.

Kelly Clarkson was the first American Idol winner and the first vocalist to achieve success, but her 2003 debut, Thankful, didn't completely define her outside of the parameters of the show. So, her second album, Breakaway, released late in 2004, was a pivotal moment for her, a chance to prove that she was not a one-hit wonder, a chance to prove that she could have a real, vibrant career. Happily, Breakaway delivers on that promise. If there was one word to describe Kelly Clarkson's second album, it would be “catchy”. Clarkson did a very good job in developing her rock side without losing her vocal originality. The melodies are arranged immaculately to suit her voice. This filler-free sophomore effort is very enjoyable. Who says second album is the hardest to make? Well, Clarkson did it effortlessly. So, choose talent over image and just break yourselves away from the music stereotypes.