There aren’t a lot of American Idol winners that can match Kelly Clarkson’s success. After all, she has since sold more than 25 million records on a worldwide basis. Furthermore, Clarkson has been involved in a wide range of other projects, with an excellent example being how she has been hosting her own talk show since 2019.
9. When Christmas Comes Around . . .
So far, Clarkson has recorded not one but two Christmas albums. They aren’t bad. However, Christmas albums are fundamentally Christmas albums, meaning that they are very specific. In any case, When Christmas Comes Around . . . is much the same as its predecessor in that it boasts both Clarkson’s interpretations of Christmas classics and Clarkson’s originals.
8. Wrapped in Red
Based on the name, interested individuals might be able to guess that Wrapped in Red was Clarkson’s first Christmas album, which was released in 2013 rather than 2021. Once again, it makes for an enjoyable experience provided that it is the Christmas season thanks to a combination of stellar singing, excellent production, and memorable instrumentation.
7. Piece by Piece
It is interesting to note that Clarkson’s Christmas music has had a significant effect on her music as a whole. In fact, Wrapped in Red is sometimes considered to be the start of a new phase in her musical career. Something that was followed up upon by Piece by Piece in 2015. For the most part, it was received well. However, there were those who thought it was a bit too over-produced. Still, it should be mentioned that this studio album became Clarkson’s third studio album to debut at the number one position on the Billboard 200 in the United States.
Stronger was Clarkson’s fifth studio album. Like its counterparts, it received a fair amount of praise upon its release. Much of this praise was focused upon Clarkson’s consistently excellent vocals. Furthermore, people noticed the R&B, country, and dance-pop influences, some of which had already shown up in earlier releases. As such, plenty of individuals thought that Stronger managed to live up to its name by being another improvement on what had come before it. In contrast, others thought that it didn’t go far enough in this regard, meaning that as far as they were concerned, Clarkson’s music didn’t make as much progress as what they would have liked to see.
It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that Thankful made Clarkson’s career. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that it proved that she would be more than just a one-hit wonder. For those who could use a refresher, Clarkson released her debut single “A Moment Like This” in September of 2002. Said song was very popular, so much so that it claimed the number one position. As such, one might have expected Clarkson and the people working with her to capitalize on that success by getting her debut studio album out as soon as possible. That didn’t happen. Clarkson had a very demanding schedule at the time. Furthermore, she faced serious challenges finding songs that suited her image as well as her preferences, which makes sense considering the circumstances under which she was working. As such, Thankful didn’t get released until more than six months after “A Moment Like This” had claimed the number one position. Even so, it did very well, as shown by how it went double platinum in the United States as well as platinum in Canada.
4. Meaning of Life
A lot of artists wane over time. However, Clarkson seems as strong as ever. This can be seen by her eighth studio album Meaning of Life, which is both confident and cohesive even though it departed from the kind of music that Clarkson is best-known for. Apparently, her previous contract stated that she had to make pop music and only pop music. Fortunately, a new contract with Atlantic Records meant new terms, thus providing Clarkson with more creative freedom. The result was Meaning of Life, which featured pop plus the soul and R&B music that she had apparently been wanting to make for quite some time. Something that came through quite well on the studio album.
3. My December
My December was made at a low point in Clarkson’s life. She has outright stated that a number of things caught up with her all at once, with the result that she “broke.” This presumably wasn’t helped by Clarkson’s reported conflict with music executives over what kind of music she would release. She wanted more say, which was quite reasonable considering that she had already managed to sell more than 15 million records by that point in time. Meanwhile, the music executives wanted Clarkson to include more radio-friendly songs, which would have enabled them to further increase sales. She managed to stand up for herself, thus resulting in the My December that exists now. It might not have been as commercially successful as it could have been, but it was very much capable of standing out.
2. All I Ever Wanted
After My December, Clarkson had a smoother time with the making of All I Ever Wanted. This time around, the studio album existed on the boundary between pop and pop rock while incorporating influence from dance, rock, and soul. Generally speaking, its songs were quite good. However, there are those who felt that it wasn’t quite as good as its immediate predecessor because the singer’s emotions weren’t as evident here.
Thankful was successful enough. However, it was not just beaten but beaten decisively by its successor Breakaway, which was so popular that it remained in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 for more than a year’s time. As such, the studio album went six times platinum in the United States, with total sales worldwide hitting 12 million. Every single one of its five singles became hits. Thanks to that, Breakaway is believed to have reoriented mainstream pop around itself in the mid 2000s.