First Hit #1: February 7, 2009
After a ton of breakup songs, we have a getting back together song, celebrating a relationship that is flawed but rewarding, like so many relationships. Behind it, we have the first and best of the American Idol alumni, who comes in the midst of autotune’s ubiquity to prove the benefit of coming up through a show focused mostly around the voice – Kelly Clarkson manages to do a big voice centerpiece vocal without sounding like a ’90s diva, even as she uses tricks like lots of overdubs. Instead, we get kind of a fun soft rock sound that still, well, sounds a bit ’90s, but a nice kind of ’90s that we haven’t heard that much. The most important thing is we’ve got a song that’s fun, tip to tail, and a song that is a rarity in that it kind of recognizes that relationships aren’t perfect – the couple at the center are happy but they’re far from perfect, like most people together for years, and while the visceral thrill of a breakup is more of a pop driver, this is kind of a more realistic take. Nobody’s in a perfect relationship, but the people in the best ones can still make things function. Like what Clarkson sings about in the song.