Thankful [Enhanced CD]

Thankful [Enhanced CD]

by Kelly Clarkson


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. [An Enhanced CD version added a CD-R.]

Product Details

Release Date: 04/15/2003
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0888837944724
catalogNumber: 379447

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kelly Clarkson   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Matthew Wilder   Guitar,Piano
Betty Wright   Background Vocals
Bruce Dukov   Violin
Evan Rogers   Background Vocals
Richard Todd   French Horn
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
Face   Musician
Steve Ferrera   Percussion,Drums
Josh Freese   Drums
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Paul Gendler   Guitar
Reggie Hamilton   Bass
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   Guitar,Keyboards
Chris Willis   Background Vocals
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
Jeremy Ruzumna   Organ
Igor Szwec   Violin
Gregory Teperman   Violin
Mary Griffin   Background Vocals
Steve Mac   Keyboards
Darrin McCann   Viola
Abe Laboriel   Drums
Wayne Rodrigues   scratching,DJ
Bob Becker   Viola
Jim Gasior   Piano
Corky James   Guitar
Alexandra Leem   Viola
Teddy Campbell   Drums
Gina Taylor Pickens   Background Vocals
Jennie Lorenzo   Cello
Michele Richards   Violin
Ghislaine Fleishman   Violin
Rebekah Jordan   Background Vocals
James J. Cooper   Cello
Gloria Justen   Violin
Dan Smith   Celli
Jr. Charles Parker   Violin
Sheree Ford-Payne   Background Vocals
Underdogs   Musician
James Hurrah   Guitar
Suzy Benson   Background Vocals
Frederick "Frizzy" Karlsson   Guitar
Aisha Wright   Background Vocals
Daniela Giulia Pierson   Viola
Lorenza Stopponi   Background Vocals
David Yang   Viola

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
David Campbell   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,Horn Conductor,String Conductor
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Scott Cutler   Composer
Clive Davis   Executive Producer
Doug Emery   Arranger,Programming,Engineer
Face   Producer
Steve Ferrera   Producer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Jimmy Harry   Composer
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
Chris Willis   Vocal Arrangements
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
Dino Hermann   Engineer
Steve Mac   Producer
Brett Kilroe   Art Direction
Harvey Mason   Composer
Hemberger   Engineer
Jules Gondar   Engineer
Christina Aguilera   Composer
J.D. Andrew   Engineer
Stephanie Saraco   Composer
Jörgen Elofsson   Composer
Chris Laws   Engineer
Craig Lozowick   Engineer
John Reid   Composer
Rich Balmer   Engineer
Kelly Clarkson   Composer
Conrad Golding   Engineer
Dabling Harward   Vocal Editing
Matt Morris   Composer
Tamyra Gray   Composer
Sean Tallman   Engineer
Jeffrey Chestek   Engineer
Dave "Natural Love" Russell   Engineer
Rebekah Jordan   Composer
Underdogs   Producer
Paul "Chez Feezie" Boutin   Engineer
Carlos Alvarez   Engineer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews