Kelly Clarkson rose from reality TV to become a superstar. The first ever winner of FOX's "American Idol", Clarkson has never looked back since. Just recently she reached 100 number ones on the Billboard charts. She continues to be one of the biggest female names in music. Here are the top ten songs that represent the best of Kelly Clarkson:
This is one of Clarkson's most commercially successful songs. It went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (one of three charts worldwide where it held the top spot). And it's still her second most popular single on iTunes. However, no one is going to argue that this song has the lyrical depth or vocal ability of many other tracks in her catalogue. It gets on the list for being a fun and favorite listen, yet Clarkson has put out much stronger material on albums both before and since.
More recently the singer has included more of a country influence in her music. She teamed with Jason Aldean for the duet "Don't You Wanna Stay," which was included on her Greatest Hits record. It was a sizeable hit for both artists, being certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It also reached number 35 on the Hot 100. The ballad has some wonderful high notes and harmonies for Clarkson, who shows off her power in this memorable tune.
Clarkson's first album Breakaway was a clear product of the "American Idol" machine but that doesn't mean it didn't have some good songs on it. "Beautiful Disaster" remains an entertaining listen thirteen years later. It gives Clarkson some solid lyrics to work with, and she sings them spot-on, instead of trying to oversing them like many developing artists might. She's already performing beyond her years. It's a nice hint toward the phenomenon that Clarkson was about to become.
From her most recent album Piece by Piece, "Heartbeat Song" returns Clarkson to her pop roots. There's even a little hint of what sounds like dance in there. This is the assertive, outgoing Clarkson that audiences have come to know and love. She comes armed with a catchy chorus that's hard to forget. The song has a little too much going in the effects department to be ranked any higher, but it's easy to see why this was a single off the new record.
This was Clarkson's anthem for the underdogs and it worked. "People Like Us" went to number 65 on the Hot 100. It's one of those songs that is easy to love because it's easy to identify with. She sells the empowering statements with conviction and the beat makes this a song that one can rock out to with abandon. It also gets even better when you hear her perform it live and see the energy that she puts into it; be sure to keep an eye out for future concert dates at AXS.
Clarkson can have a very powerful voice, but it often gets swallowed up in the music and/or production elements of her songs. That wasn't the case with "Already Gone," which was her vocal showcase. The result was landing on eight worldwide charts, including number 13 on the Hot 100. "Already Gone" might have been uncharacteristically quiet for the singer but that's what makes it a Top 5 song. It finally strips out everything else and reminds us just how talented she is.
By Clarkson's sophomore album Breakaway she had started to find herself as an artist. "Because of You" wound up becoming one of her most enduring songs. It's not a typical pop song by any means; instead it's just her singing her heart out. It's also a very memorable way of expressing the lasting effects of a relationship gone bad. In fact, the song was so memorable that she later turned it into a duet with Reba McEntire, who'd become family when Clarkson married McEntire's stepson.
As the first single from Clarkson's Greatest Hits record, "Catch My Breath" cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it also happens to be one of her best outings. It's similar to "People Like Us" in that it's a fast-paced single with a spirited message. But "Catch My Breath" gives more room for the singer to show off. She's at her best when she gets to perform huge songs, and this is definitely one of those.
"Breakaway" remains a timeless favorite in the Kelly Clarkson catalog because it's one of those songs that resonates no matter how old it is. Ever since its debut, it's been a single that audiences can put on, sing along with, and have their spirits lifted by. Of all the inspirational-type songs Clarkson has recorded none of them have been more touching than "Breakaway." It also happens to be one of her most entertaining tracks as well. Reaching number six on the Hot 100, this song will probably still be being blasted another thirteen years from now.
When you think of Kelly Clarkson, you think "Stronger." Not just because she vocally sings the doors off every place she performs it in. Not just because it happens to be her biggest commercial success, having gone quadruple Platinum and becoming a number one hit. But this song has turned into an anthem for everyone who has struggled with adversity. The number of stories and YouTube videos of people being inspired by it are countless, and so it must top our list because it's the song where Clarkson hasn't just changed her career - she's changed lives.
It's clear that Kelly Clarkson has come a long way from "American Idol." Clarkson does not have any tour plans currently scheduled for 2016, but future concert announcements can be found on her website. She's also preparing for the release of her first children's book, "River Rose and the Magical Lullaby." The book is now up for pre-order here. Fans can keep up with the latest news and information on Kelly Clarkson at AXS.