Revisiting “Thankful” by Kelly Clarkson 20 Years Later

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Kelly Clarkson


I’m going to be super upfront with you. I didn’t really watch American Idol season one. I had no idea what to expect given ‘Pop Idol’ and Simon Fuller, but it turns out I didn’t hate ‘A Moment Like This’. I gave season 2 a chance, and when Kimberly Caldwell was eliminated I began a protest. This protest saw me not watch another episode of American Idol until the eventual 2016 finale, which saw a very pregnant Kelly perform ‘Piece by Piece’, but we’ll talk about that another day.

But on this day (April 15) in 2002, Kelly Clarkson released her debut album titled ‘Thankful’.

Released just prior to the Oscar award winning film ‘From Justin To Kelly” a film which Kelly “cried so hard to get out of…” and begged for her solo single ‘Miss Independent‘ to be released prior to the film otherwise she had ‘no chance at a career’. Thankfully Mr. Fuller obliged.

The Album

Released just five days after the single “Miss Independent”, ‘Thankful’ propelled Kelly’s career, or, well… it got her out there. “Thankful” was a rush recorded and released album. The release of Kelly’s album was already determined before she even recorded material for it (as displayed on the back cover of ‘A Moment Like This’). Keep in mind that Kelly won American Idol in September of 2002, went on tour from October to November, filmed a movie and recorded an album… all before April 15 of 2003.

Like with any rush released album, you could say it lacked certain elements of creative integrity you would come to expect out of Kelly who has been very hands on approach with the writing of subsequent albums (including the upcoming ‘Chemistry‘ which we have already talked about… a lot).

The Songs

While the album was rush recorded, and it did lack creative integrity, Kelly did find time somewhere, to write three songs, including the third and final single ‘The Trouble With Love Is’ (which was featured in the movie “Love Actually”).

The title track “Thankful” is a delightful little bop, but I’d be fine with never hearing it again honestly…. and then …… we have


“You Thought Wrong”


When I tell you this song could have changed the actual world! The song was written and features fellow American Idol contestant Tamyra Gray, and………… oh………. my……………….. g a h.

You thought we didn’t know
You thought we were in the dark
But boy your covers blown
Because we both know now
You thought you had us both at your beck and call
But now who’s the joke
And look who’s laughing now

If this had been released as a single, and it featured a proper good music video with heavy promotion, it could have propelled Kelly’s and Tamyra’s career – but alas – Simon Fuller and co. hate good music, it’s fine… we don’t have to talk about it.

In addition to those, we have some covers (because… rush recorded) including ‘Just Missed The Train’, ‘Some Kind of Miracle’, and ‘Anytime’ (I didn’t actually know ‘Anytime’ was a cover until literally just now…).

The Conclusion

Overall — We give the album an 8, it is a strong debut despite it’s many flaws (I mean what even is a white background album cover?). If ‘You Thought Wrong’ wasn’t on it, I’m not sure it would have such a high rating, but thankfully (ha) that song was included, and it’s never too late to release it as a single!!

Listen Now:

Watch Now:

Miss Indepdenent


The Trouble With Love Is

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