Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone”
I was never an American Idol fan, so my introduction to Kelly Clarkson came in from her second single, “Miss Independent.” I dug the song, and contented myself with enjoying Clarkson’s brand of chipper, if slightly mainstream, pop. Of course, in 2004, I reinvented my musical taste and became much more of a Music Snob, looking down on artists played to the sheep of my high school, and reveling in bands only if other people hadn’t heard of them first. I’m not proud of it, but there it is: I was the guy whose music made me Better Than You.
My occupational switch basically threw Kelly Clarkson under the bus—there was no way her new, slightly rock-infused sound was hardcore enough for me, and in her I could only see a poser, making a mockery of the music I held dear. Never mind that “Behind These Hazel Eyes” could easily be a Paramore song with its drive and energy; she was mainstream, and that was punishable with supercilious shunning. Yep, I was a self-righteous little bastard, and I’m glad those days are (mostly) behind me.
Anyway, “Since U Been Gone.” After a while, I managed to pull my head out of my ass and realize, “Hey, this is pretty catchy!” The final selling point came from a school dance, and watching the crowd react to the song and its quasi-moshy chorus. Everyone was having a good time, and didn’t give a crap about how “cool” it was to like Kelly. I was also able to finally listen for the rock undertones found in most of her work on Breakaway, and further give in to my love of pop.
Sure, “Since U Been Gone” has cooled off in the years since, and I’ve gotten older, but I’m comfortable enough in my musical taste to embrace its positive aspects. Heck, if you get me liquored up enough, I’ll probably still do that jump-up-and-down thing when the chorus comes around.