Our Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs list takes a look at the songs of one of the world’s most loved singers and musical artists. Kelly Clarkson became a household name when she appeared on American Idol. She became the first winner of the show. It might have been hard to take her seriously as a singer because she started out on a reality show, but she did what most of the other idols didn’t do. She managed to maintain a long career in the music business. There are only a small handful of Idol winners/contestants who didn’t fade away into the sunset. Clarkson can blow with the rest of them. She is up there with the other divas such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Clarkson was born Kelly Brianne Clarkson on April 24, 1982. She was born to be a singer. Her dream came true when she appeared on the first season of American Idol.
Clarkson got her first record deal after winning American Idol. Her first single was “A Moment Like This” in 2002. It debuted at number one on the charts. This was quite a feat for someone who was a relatively unknown singer at the time. After the release of her single, she released her first CD Thankful in 2003. This CD debuted at number one on the charts. It was an r&b/pop album. It sold over 4 million copies. The critics loved the CD. The singles from this CD are “Miss Independent,” “Low” and “The Trouble With Love Is.” After the release of the CD, she was in the movie From Justin To Kelly. The movie starred American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini. The movie was critically panned. It debuted at a disappointing number 11 at the box office. It made $2.7 million in its opening weekend. The movie grossed a paltry $4.9 million. She didn’t want to be in the movie, but she was contractually obligated to be in it.
After the disappointment of her first movie, she went back into the studio. She fired her management team. She decided to change her music style. She shifted to pop/rock music. She released Breakaway in 2004. This CD was a bigger hit than its predecessor. The CD contains the hit singles “Since U Been Gone,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” “Because of You,” “Walk Away” and “Breakaway.” She had more control on this CD and it paid off for her in the end. The CD sold over 6 million copies. This is arguably one of the best-selling CDs of this century. Clarkson returned to the studio for her third CD. She wanted even more control than she had on Breakaway. She also wanted to change up her style again. She wanted an edgier sound for this CD. Unfortunately, this choice led to creative differences with record producer Clive Davis. Davis wanted her to have a sound similar to her previous albums. She managed to get her way and released the album she wanted. She released My December in 2007. The CD was not promoted very well and failed to match the success of its predecessors. She scored one hit single from the CD called “Never Again.” The CD managed to go platinum despite lack of promotion.
Clarkson returned to the music scene in 2009 with the release of the single “My Life Would Suck Without You.” This single was her return to the charts. This song had the fastest jump to number one in the history of music. She returned to her mainstream roots with the CD All I Ever Wanted. This is a pop friendly album that was more successful than My December. This CD contains the singles “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “I Do Not Hook Up,” “Already Gone,” “All I Ever Wanted” and “Cry.” She released her fifth CD Stronger in 2001. This CD is a mix of pop/rock/r&b/country music. She worked with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Brian Kennedy, Claude Kelly and Howard Benson on this project. She won her second Grammy with this CD. This project received mixed reviews from the critics. It debuted at number two on the charts. This is her first album to go platinum since My December. It produced three singles. The singles are “Mr. Know It All,” “Stronger” and “Dark Side.” “Stronger” is Clarkson’s most successful single.
Like most artists, she released a Christmas CD. She released Wrapped in Red in 2013. This CD was the best selling holiday album on that year. She did cover songs and two original songs. The original songs are “Wrapped in Red” and “Underneath the Tree.” She released her next album Piece by Piece in 2015. This is the last CD she did with RCA Records. She wanted this CD to sound like a movie soundtrack. This CD is a blend of electro pop/orchestral pop/power pop/electronic dance music. This CD was a complete departure from her previous work. Once again she received mixed review for this project, but it debuted at number one. This is her third album to debut at number one. This CD contains the hit singles “Heartbeat Song,” “Invincible” and “Piece by Piece.” She received her fourth Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album for this project. She released her eighth CD titled Meaning of Life in 2017. She was a chameleon yet again because she decided to create a soul sound for this CD. It debuted at number two on the charts. This is her first CD on Atlantic Records. This is the CD she always wanted to make, but couldn’t do it. This project received mostly positive reviews. This CD contains the singles “Love So Soft,” “I Don’t Think About You” and “Heat.”
When Clarkson isn’t recording music, she is judging singers on the reality show The Voice. She is on the other side of the table from when she got her start in the music business. She also hosts her own talk show called the Kelly Clarkson Show. She received and Emmy Award for her talk show. She has come a long way since her journey from American Idol. She proved that she was able to become a superstar despite starting out on a reality show. She had the staying power that a lot of the other contestants didn’t have. She has a lot of hit songs, which will be showcased in this top 10 list. Do you know which one will be number one?
# 10 – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
We start out our Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs list with this empowering anthem called “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” This is the second single off of her hit CD Stronger. This anthem is a blend of dance and electro pop music. This empowering anthem is about recovery after a heartbreaking loss. The song has an uplifting message about moving on despite all of the odds. The music is similar to ”Since U Been Gone.” The music is feel-good music. It makes you dance despite going through your problems. Clarkson’s vocals are on point with the uplifting beat. Her vocals are soft when she opens the song. She gets louder in the pre-chorus into the chorus. She blows once the chorus starts. She showcases her diva-like talents in the hook. She balances her vocals. She sings softly in the first part of the song and belts through the last half of the song. This song is so good that it could have been higher up on the list. This is an indicator of how good the other songs are on the list.
# 9 – Miss Independent
This anthemic song is the lead single off of Clarkson’s hit debut CD Thankful. This catchy midtempo song has a pop and r&b sound. Christina Aguilera wrote this song. Ironically, she was one of the ones who turned it down. This song was supposed to be on Christina Aguilera’s Stripped album. Destiny’s Child also turned down the song. The powers-that-be made the right choice to give this song to Clarkson because her tone is better suited for the song. She utilizes her power vocals throughout the song. She sounds like Christina Aguilera in the bridge. She has quiet verses and explodes in the chorus. She sounds like a seasoned singer. She is a little hard to understand at times, but it doesn’t make the song less enjoyable. You can always look up the lyrics to find out what she is saying.
# 8 – My Life Would Suck Without You
This fast thumping song is a return to her pop roots. The second you hear the pop beat, you know she’s back on the pop scene. Her songs on My December had a darker theme so this was a great return to the artist her fans know and love. This song is about a tumultuous relationship. Clarkson had an issue with one of the writers of the song. She didn’t want to record it, but she gave in and recorded it. Luckily she did because we wouldn’t have this gem if she didn’t change her mind. You would never know she had an issue with the writer because she sings the song beautifully and professionally. Her velvety vocals are breath taking. She vocally soars in the song. The only thing missing are long notes. This song is perfect for her. No one else could have done a better job than she did. It is a guilty pleasure and has a catchy chorus that will stay in your head long after the song is done.
# 7 – Never Again
Our next entry on the Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs list is “Never Again.” This fascinating song is the lead single off of the underrated My December album. The theme of this song is comparable to Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” She strays away from her pop roots with this rock song. She has a good girl persona so this song was a contrast to her character. She proved that looks could be deceiving because she knocked this song out the park vocally. Her vocals are mesmerizing and she doesn’t miss a beat. She was able to keep up with the powerful guitar riffs. It might have been a challenge to keep up with the guitar riffs for another singer, but Clarkson proved that she was no one to mess with vocally. This is one of the best songs off of My December.
# 6 – Heartbeat Song
This is the lead single off of Piece by Piece. This dance song is about restoring your faith in love. Clarkson wasn’t the original choice for this song. The song was offered to other artists including Demi Lovato, but Clarkson decided to record it. The music pulsates throughout the song. The music has rhythm changes before it picks a steady beat. Clarkson’s vocals are melodic with the pulsating beat. Her pipes are arena ready. You can practically hear her singing this in a concert. She showed that she is one of the powerhouse divas when she held controlled notes towards the end of the song. It would be hard to sit through this song without singing it with her. You may not have the same vocal ability, but it is irresistible to listen to it without singing along with it. She has an amazing talent to have her songs stuck in your head for hours.
# 5 – Since U Been Gone
This pop, rock and power ballad is the lead single off of the astonishing Breakaway album. This song wasn’t meant for Clarkson. Pink and Hilary Duff were offered the song first. Pink turned it down. Hilary turned it down because she didn’t have the power to do the high notes. For some reason, Clarkson is always second choice for a song. It doesn’t make any sense when she can pull off almost any song. It was Clarkson’s idea to add the heavy guitar and drum beats to the record. She obviously has an ear for music because that choice worked. She was able to use her powerful vocals in time with the banging rock beat. Pink and Duff would not have been able to handle the high notes Clarkson was able to achieve in the song. The chorus is unforgettable and catchy. This song is impeccable. It’s no wonder this is one of her biggest hits.
# 4 – Already Gone
This outstanding pop ballad is the third single off of All I Ever Wanted. This song is about a love that was never meant to be. This song is laden with controversy. Many critics compared this song to Beyoncé’s “Halo.” Clarkson also noticed the similarities and thought people would accuse her of stealing it from Beyoncé. She didn’t want this song on the album, but it was too late. The song was already released. It’s understandable why people would think it sounds like Beyoncé’s song because the same writer wrote the song. Ryan Tedder denied the claims that the songs are similar. Clarkson doesn’t sing this song in the same key as Beyoncé. Clarkson sings the verses in a higher key than Beyoncé. They both take advantage of their power vocals, but Clarkson is the winner as far as the power vocals go. Clarkson’s vocals are emotional in the song. She sounds as if she’s singing it to someone in particular.
# 3 – Because of You
This awesome Kelly Clarkson song is the third single off of Breakaway. This is a piano ballad. The piano is the costar in the song. This song is about Clarkson’s father. Her voice has vulnerability and pride. She is pouring her heart out in the lyrics. This could have been a cheesy song because of the lyrics, but it wasn’t. She makes it sound heartfelt and inviting. She doesn’t hold notes in the song, but you can still hear the passion in her voice. She starts the song off softly and soars into the stratosphere towards the end of the song. Once again she proved she had the ability to make a song stick in your head.
# 2 – Behind These Hazel Eyes
The number 2 song on our Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs list just happens to be the second single from the Breakaway album. This edgy rock song starts off slow and then picks up the tempo after the chorus. This song is about her ex-boyfriend marrying another woman a month after breaking up with her. This song showcases her vocal prowess. When the song starts, it is soft and quiet to allow the listener to concentrate on her incredible vocals. Once she hits the chorus, the guitar dominates the music while she vocalizes. Another artist might have been drowned out by the powerful music, but Clarkson wasn’t. She was a vocal champion in this song. The song’s strong chorus hooks the listener. She tells the story about her break up in a way that’s relatable to others. This song is flawless and could have been a main contender for the top spot if it weren’t for the next song.
# 1 – A Moment Like This
We have reached the end of our Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs list with “A Moment Like This.” It is only befitting to end the list with the song that made Clarkson a star. This is her first single and it was also on her Thankful CD. This radio ballad has an adult contemporary sound. The music is soft and rhythmic which allows Clarkson’s voice to shine. It shows that she can vocally compete with Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. She builds up to the climatic finale like a champ. The second she sang this song on American Idol, there was no way she wasn’t going to win. She sings the song in a way that avoids making it sound cheesy. It sounds inspirational and motivating. It is the perfect choice for the number one spot.
Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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