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4.5 60
by Kelly Clarkson

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There's no question that Kelly Clarkson -- American Idol's first superstar -- can sing. Week after week, the "cool beans" Texan blew away judges Randy "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly" Jackson and Paula "Touchdown!" Abdul with her soul-stirring, powerhouse pipes. She even won over smarmy Brit judge Simon "That Was Awful" Cowell, who


There's no question that Kelly Clarkson -- American Idol's first superstar -- can sing. Week after week, the "cool beans" Texan blew away judges Randy "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly" Jackson and Paula "Touchdown!" Abdul with her soul-stirring, powerhouse pipes. She even won over smarmy Brit judge Simon "That Was Awful" Cowell, who initially didn't remember the bubbly brunette. And while she's proven that she can sell records with her towering 2002 single, "A Moment like This," the question remains whether Clarkson can transform her 15 minutes of reality-TV fame into a bona fide recording career. Well, the arrival of her highly anticipated album debut, Thankful, finds the jury still out. With Clive Davis on board as executive producer, Thankful will likely become a top seller. While Clarkson charmed American Idol viewers with hazel-eyed soul renditions of R&B staples such as Aretha's "Natural Woman," Davis steered Thankful toward songs with more Top 40/pop-rock appeal. Vocally, Clarkson convincingly plays the rocker chick on the edgy, guitar-driven "Miss Independent," co-written by Christina Aguilera, and the Sheryl Crow–reminiscent "Low." But visually, it's hard to imagine the wholesome songbird getting "Dirty." Her true colors really shine on gospel- and R&B-inspired songs, such as the Diane Warren–penned "Some Kind of Miracle," the bluesy title track, and the power ballad "Anytime." It's a solid, even promising debut, but the key to Clarkson's career longevity lies in the choice of appropriate material: She will have even more to be Thankful for if she follows the lead of Justin Timberlake and switches gears from pop to R&B on her next disc.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Anybody older than 18 who's watched American Idol for any length of time will undoubtedly find the similarities between this talent contest and such square '60s/'70s variety programs like The Andy Williams Show startling and unavoidable. Whenever the kids are hauled out to sing an oldie or stumble through a production number, AmIdol goes into a time warp, particularly because they're nearly always singing the same songs that would have shown up on The Andy Williams Show all those years ago. That's because this is a show biz creation, not an organic pop phenomenon. It goes for the choreographed razzle-dazzle, it has the sense of "let's put on a show!" and it's about the televised show; the music is there to serve the program, not vice versa. This makes for splendid entertainment, but the format of the show and its inherent squareness do make it difficult for contest winners to appeal to listeners their own age, since the show has positioned them to be as unhip as possible. Take Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the first American Idol, aired in 2002. Her first single, "A Moment Like This," may have been a number one hit, but it was such a staid adult contemporary tune that it suggested that her career was over before it really began, since it was not a work that played to her age or audience, and it gave her no room to grow. Somebody -- whether it was Kelly herself or her monolithic management -- realized that she was not on a path to either a long career or a successful one-shot album and rethought the game plan for her much-delayed debut album, Thankful. Originally, this album was going to come out mere months after the end of the original American Idol, but it was delayed for a variety of reasons, including Clarkson's taxing schedule and difficulty in cobbling together workable material. Ultimately, the decision to delay the record paid off, because Thankful is a sharp, versatile modern pop record, showcasing her voice, to be sure, but being much better than expectations, much better than the scores of flop diva records that cluttered the pop landscape in late 2002. Why? There are many reasons, but the biggest is that everybody involved managed to make Kelly Clarkson seem younger and hipper without slutting her up like Christina Aguilera (who, ironically, co-wrote "Miss Independent," the first single from Thankful) while retaining a strong sense of melodic songcraft. She still can appeal to a wide, mature audience, but no longer does the music sound quite so static. Witness the new mix of "A Moment Like This" -- it's still the same treacly song, but it now breathes; it doesn't sound stiff and reserved, it gives Kelly's voice room to roam. It's a major step forward toward a fresh sound, and Thankful follows through on its promise, delivering dance-pop that's catchy and flirty without being trampy and ballads that are tasteful without being boring. Amazingly, the album has a light, effortless touch, an impressive feat considering that it was certainly as overworked as any of the big, leaden diva discs of 2002. Much credit is due to executive producer Clive Davis, who masterminded the effort, deftly balancing the dance and ballad sides, making it sound easy. But the record simply wouldn't work without Clarkson, who can navigate the shifts in sound with vigor and personality. Although it hardly breaks any new ground, Thankful is much more demanding than an episode of American Idol, since it's all new material covering the spectrum of mainstream pop music. Throughout this record, she makes it seem effortless and charming. She can croon, she can belt out a song, she can be sexy and sassy while still being graceful and as wholesome as the girl next door. After listening to Thankful, it's hard to imagine any of 2003's American Idol contestants -- including the two favorites, loverman Ruben Studdard and clenched, show tune-loving Clay Aiken, since both have taken one sound and driven it into the ground -- being able to produce a record so versatile while sounding like it's all so easy. True, Thankful isn't a record that's earth-shaking, but in 2003 it is something special all the same: an unapologetically mainstream record that works and is very enjoyable. Maybe American Idol really does turn out pop stars.
Entertainment Weekly
Her voice, at times raspy, at times beautifully sultry, is a potent reminder of why America embraced her. Clarkson glides through octaves with the masterful control of someone who's been doing this for decades. [B+] Henry Goldblatt

Product Details

Release Date:


  1. The Trouble With Love Is
  2. Miss Independent
  3. Low
  4. Some Kind Of Miracle
  5. What's Up Lonely
  6. Just Missed The Train
  7. Beautiful Disaster
  8. You Thought Wrong
  9. Thankful
  10. Anytime
  11. A Moment Like This
  12. Before Your Love

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kelly Clarkson   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Matthew Wilder   Guitar,Piano
Betty Wright   Background Vocals
Bruce Dukov   Violin
Evan Rogers   Background Vocals
Richard Todd   French Horn
Suzie Benson   Background Vocals
Louis Biancaniello   Keyboards
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
Debra Byrd   Background Vocals
Chris Camozzi   Guitar
Larry Corbett   Celli
Kenneth Crouch   Organ
Joel Derouin   Concert Master
Doug Emery   Keyboards
Steve Ferrera   Percussion,Drums
Josh Freese   Drums
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Paul Gendler   Guitar
Peter Kent   Violin
Rhett Lawrence   Guitar,scratching,DJ
Lee Levin   Drums
Clif Magness   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Cindy Mizelle   Background Vocals
Peter Nocella   Viola
Steve Pearce   Bass
Tim Pierce   Guitar
Olle Romo   Guitar
Tommy Sims   Bass
Leslie Smith   Background Vocals
Carl Sturken   Keyboards
John Wittenberg   Violin
Jeanette Wright   Background Vocals
Ken Yerke   Violin
Conesha Owens   Background Vocals
Danielle Brisebois   Background Vocals
Dan Warner   Guitar
Sam Watters   Background Vocals
Sharlotte Gibson   Background Vocals
Randy Jackson   Bass
Pathik Desai   Guitar
Mike Elizondo   Bass
Emma Kummrow   Violin
Charlene Kwas   Violin
Gregory Teperman   Violin
Mary Griffin   Background Vocals
Steve Mac   Keyboards
Darrin McCann   Viola
Aiesha Wright   Background Vocals
Abe Laboriel   Drums
Wayne Rodrigues   scratching,DJ
Bob Becker   Viola
Jim Gasior   Piano
Corky James   Guitar
David Young   Viola
Dan Smith   Celli
Teddy Campbell   Drums
Jennie Lorenzo   Cello
Michele Richards   Violin
Ghislaine Fleishman   Violin
Rebekah Jordan   Background Vocals
Chris Willis   Background Vocals
Charles Parker   Violin

Technical Credits

Matthew Wilder   Composer,Programming,Producer
Desmond Child   Composer,Producer
Evan Rogers   Composer,Producer
Cathy Dennis   Composer,Producer
Gary Burr   Composer
Louis Biancaniello   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Jeff Chestek   Engineer
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Scott Cutler   Composer
Clive Davis   Executive Producer
Doug Emery   Arranger,Programming,Engineer
Steve Ferrera   Producer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Jimmy Harry   Composer
Jimmy Hoyson   Engineer
Rhett Lawrence   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Pro-Tools
Lee Levin   Engineer
Clif Magness   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Csaba Petocz   Engineer
Olle Romo   Pro-Tools
Robin Sellars   Engineer
Carl Sturken   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Diane Warren   Composer
Andy Zulla   Engineer,Pro-Tools
Dave Arch   String Arrangements
Matt Howe   Engineer
Damon Thomas   Composer
Jim Watts   Pro-Tools
Danielle Brisebois   Composer
Babyface   Composer
Sam Watters   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Steve McMillan   Pro-Tools
Frank Harkins   Art Direction
Quentin Dunn   Engineer
Dino Hermann   Engineer
Steve Mac   Producer
Brett Kilroe   Art Direction
Harvey Mason   Composer
Greg London   Engineer
Hemberger   Engineer
Jules Gondar   Engineer
Christina Aguilera   Composer
Matthew Morris   Composer
J.D. Andrew   Engineer
Stephanie Saraco   Songwriter,Composer
Chris Laws   Engineer
Craig Lozowick   Engineer
John Reid   Composer
Rich Balmer   Engineer
Jeff Kanan   Engineer
Kelly Clarkson   Composer
Conrad Golding   Engineer
Dabling Harward   Vocal Editing
Marcelo Marulanda   Engineer
Tamyra Gray   Composer
Rebekah Jordan   Composer
Chris Willis   Vocal Arrangements
D. Warren   Composer
Carlos Alvarez   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Thankful 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
her song breakaway enchanted all of us and behind these hazel eyes was almost as good so was beautiful disaster,beacause of you and hear me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw kelly on american idol.When i heard her sing i was amazed that she had a great and beautiful voice. i was also thrilled when she was crowned the american idol. she definitley deserved to win. As a kelly clarkson fan, her first cd is amazing. I love all the songs on this album but my two favorites are from a moment like this and thankful. I recommed this album to anyone who is a kelly clarkson fan. You'll love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
kelly has a such an awesome voice and she makes every and all songs sound soo great!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know about anyone else, but I am TIRED of Kelly Clarkson. Just because she won on a television show doesn't make her anything spectacular. Millions of people can sing. That annoying song of hers is played ALL THE TIME on the radio, and her voice is juvenile and poppy at best. People are impressed because she "helped" write four of her songs? What about Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple, who write ALL their songs? Whitney Houston is a diva. Christina Aguilera (for all her faults) is an amazing singer. Clarkson just got lucky with a record deal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd rocks!! I didn't watch much of the first season, but now I can see why she won. This american idol has definetly topped the charts in my mind!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Kelly Clarkson fan, I was also eagerly awaiting the debut album from the American Idol winner. But when I got home and popped the CD in, I found I was a little disappointed. The quality of the CD was not that great. The quality of Kelly's voice was amazing, but on some of the tracks, it sounds like she's singing in my high school auditorium (which is almost acoustic free). As for the "remix" versions of "Before Your Love" and "A Moment Like This"... there really doesn't seem to be any change. Just rerecorded, and even that is hard to notice. The only tracks I found really amazing were "Miss Independent" and "Anytime". Don't get me wrong, Kelly's voice is amazing and this CD is definitely worth picking up, but the production of the actual album could've been planned and done a little better. Hopefully her sophomore album will be stronger.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I brought this Cd when it first came out and i love all the song on that CD it is wonderful my favorite song is Anytime its the best song ever, but yeah other than that i had never heard something like this with variety of music. She is just wonderful and people who dont like this CD are a bunch of haters I am sry but it is a great I cant wait till her second CD comes out well lates.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is interesting to say the least. When I first heard the two singles off this album, "Britney" with power is what I thought the album would be. The album however, is very different. It is full of power ballads and very few slow songs such as "Before Your Love" and "A Moment Like This". While I'm anticipating the results of this new found direction by Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis, I'm hoping that their choice to go with rock/r&b more than pop doesn't ulimtately destroy this album in the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really like Miss Independent, and A moment like this. She is Really cool. GOOD LUCK KELLY!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson proves her title is more than well deserved by delivering an album chock full of tasty treats. Be careful...you can't listen to just one. The real substance here is the voice. It is hypnotic, disarming, and powerful. "Thankful" performs like the blue blooded champion it claims to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is overbelted! Everything. Even when she's singing a ballad, its supposed to be soft, not a rock song. This album si an attempt to be the next Mariah, though no one can top her. a real dissappointment
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG!Kelly Clarkson's "miss independent" is a freakin' good song!I love it!she has a new sound,and it sounds great.Add this on your shopping list next time:buy Kelly Clarkson's album!!!! and Be thankful! >^_^<
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD shows that Kelly Clarkson has an amazing voice, ruling out any doubts that she is the American Idol. her songs are clean-cut, sweet, and full of feeling. My favorite songs are Just Missed The Train, Beautiful Disaster, and Thankful. I can't wait to hear more from Kelly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kelly's CD was absolutely amazing! What a wonderful way to start a long-running carrer. The CD was very inspiring and made me realize that she is an American Idol.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD was GREAT!!! Only Kelly could give us a CD like this one!! Our American Idol... Finally puts out a CD!! This CD could not have been better!! This CD leaves me begging for more Kelly!! Thanks Kel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I was pretty much the only person who didn't watch American Idol, though I did catch bits and pieces on the radio in the mornings when the DJ's were talking about it. I did see the finale though and picked up Kelly's album, and it is absolutely fantastic! That girl sings her booty off on this record! She has got such an amazing natural talent! Seriously y'all...it's awesome! (And believe me, I was very "iffy" because AI was so freakin' cheesy but she's great!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kelly Clarkson is not a diva like Mariah Carey or Celine Dion, but give her 10 years, and she will be! Clarkson has proven on her debut album *thankful* that she indeed has staying power. The songs here may not be the best, but the addition of her powerful voice, a cross between Pink and Whitney Houston, Clarkson shines through. From full pop, to rock, to soul and R&B, she knows how to sing them all. I believe she will continue to grow with each effort and emerge a butterfly soon enough (like some OTHER super-butterfly diva). All Clarkson needs to do next is find her comfort-zone. Once the songs fit the voice, there'll be no stopping her. Escpecially in a music world filled with flat voices, and useless rap, and songs that are number one today and forgotten tomorrow, Kelly stands out as a true voice and talent. I urge you to get the album, believe me, you will be *thankful*!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was doubtful at first, but some songs truly gave me chills- it was great
ThyWickedJuggalo More than 1 year ago
kelly clarkson is one awesome artist she has real talent if you look what? i recommanded they also have talent also im proud to be a fan of twiztid icp and dark lotus if you want to get dark lotus debut album featuring abk on vocals check out HatchetGeardotcom trust me and guess what? screw all the icp haters all the twiztid haters and all the dark lotus haters kelly clarkson is frikin awesome
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who gave this cd a 1,2, or maybe even 3 stars doesn't know what they're talking about!!! This cd is awesome!!! My personal favs are "A Moment Like This" and of course, who couldn't just love "Miss Independant"? Well, I guess it's all just opinion, but I think she rocks!!! Plus, This years American Idol singers are GREAT!!! I HIGHLY recommend you but this cd- just enjoy it and you'll see what I mean!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always loved Kelly's voice and bubbly personality, but this album is so amazing! She really did all of us American Idol fans proud! WE <3 KELLY!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is absolutley amazing! Kelly's voice sounds incredible and the fact that she helped to write four songs on her debut album is truly unbelievable. Critics are going to be blown away by her talent!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kelly Clarkson the winner of American Idol has incredible vocal talent her voice is amazing she sounds so a like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston and she is wonderful. The album is wonderful and my fave songs are Before Your Love amazing power ballad A Moment Like This also a power ballad and Anymore also a powerful ballad Kelly is the new generation of Mariah Carey. Kelly has more powerful voice than Whitney has she is more like Mariah and Celine. I recommend this album to all Celine And Mariah Carey fans you love Kelly she is the new DIVA.