Kelly Clarkson – Catch My Breath
There’s a slightly strange phenomenon in pop that I like to call Crap Single From a Greatest Hits Syndrome and it is surprisingly common. Many such collections are marred by the inclusion of a new track or two, and frequently they are not much cop. Classic examples of this include DJ Culture by Pet Shop Boys, Rescue Me by Madonna and I Think We’re Alone Now by Girls Aloud.
Why does this happen? Several reasons. Sometimes it’s a case of the record company asking if the artist has anything lying around that they wouldn’t mind chucking out because it’s Q4 and a hits collection would be nice. Sometimes they’re a bit tired out creatively, and when you think about it’s probably quite hard to record a hit single to order when you’re used to choosing from an album’s worth. And of course sometimes they just couldn’t give a toss.
As a result these songs tend to under-perform a bit, and that’s partially our fault – I think we sometimes resent new tracks on Greatest Hits compilations because technically they haven’t earned their place. Of course if the artist shoves one out without a new track we get pissed off as well (GHV2) so basically what I’m saying is pop stars really can’t win.
We could go on about this for ages, but instead let’s listen to an emphatically non-crap single from a greatest hits: Kelly Clarkson‘s Catch My Breath.
Now, unusually for a Kelly single this is not an anthem of empowerment, which might be one reason why it bombed in the UK. Instead, Kelly took the task quite literally and wrote a song about having a bit of a rest and a think about the past whilst also looking forward to the future. It’s still quite ballsy though, in a “I won’t do what I’m told” sort of way, though of course since My December that’s exactly what she’s done.
It’s oddly affecting for an out and out banger – quite melancholy in a way but chock-full of enough Kelly-isms to satisfy everyone. I’m pleased to report that the Kelly Breakdown™ is present and correct, where she goes all quiet and reflective and then nails a massive note and starts headbanging again. Brilliant.
In a post 1989 world Kelly needs to be better than ever, and I’m pleased to report that on new album Piece by Piece she is just that. One of pop’s finest.
Entered chart: 02/12/2012
Chart peak: 51
Weeks on chart: 2
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Ain’t nobody singing a Kelly song but Kelly, though let’s not forget Leona Lewis had a go at one once, and made a decent fist of it.