5

Since U Been Gone

Kelly Clarkson

Breakaway (2004)

The greatest thing American Idol has brought us is Kelly Clarkson. I don’t think any contestant will ever surpass her. Once she got the obligatory over-blandified debut album out of the way, Kelly injected a bit more of her personality into the mix, and delivered this insanely perfect pop/rock gem. I have so many memories of shouting this at the top of my lungs at parties – which is the exact same thing everyone else there was doing – it’s just so freaking good. Kelly has continued to deliver great music (the “Breakaway” album seemed more like a “greatest hits” it had so many smash singles), even when her commercial fortunes were in doubt (label in-fighting nearly sunk her “My December” album, despite it being in many ways superior to “Breakway”), and I think we will all be enjoying her music for years to come.

Also check out: Kelly’s album cut “Maybe” from ”My December” was on early drafts of this top 50 list but eventually just missed out. The lyrics still kill me – “I don’t need to be fixed and I certainly don’t need to be found – I’m not lost.”

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