To the surprise of fans and American Idol producers alike (in varying degrees of delightful glee and ghastly shock), Clarkson's second album conveyed an entirely different message than the first. Entitled Breakaway, the music simply delves deeper than the playful bubbles at the surface of all pop music. But what constitutes a fan insisting that Clarkson's music has improved? What appropriate standards exist to make such a quick judgment? According to Simon Frith, the ability to implement real meaning in a song rests in the facets of the voice. Through meaningful lyrics, a song can succeed in exceeding expectations set by the pop genre. Miranda Fricker takes this notion further, attesting that different kinds of emotion as reflected in the voice affect the resonance of a song. A minor shift in voice through deepening emotion will change the expectations of the listeners altogether. Therefore, a sufficient standard in judging Clarkson's work exists in examining Frith's idea of the lyrical content balanced by Fricker's idea of sound and emotion.
[...] Perhaps our ready acceptance of songs like Moment like This” make us so marketable, such easy targets for crap; and because pop fans do not protest, the same standard of meaningless music remains to pacify over and over again. Through a shift in sound and emotion, however, Clarkson tests the limits of the pop genre in which she is hopelessly trapped. The typical sound of pop music, at least for women, relies on a balance of a sing-song sort of speaking in the verses, leaving the powerful singing to the chorus in which there will be several impossible high notes that indicate emotional catharsis. [...]
[...] In fact, with a balance of speaking and yelling, she makes the whole song realistically singable and therefore accessible to anyone; this simple change in voice allows the listeners to sing along and empathize in emotional release by drawing from their own personal stories. In essence, emotional detachment would not be the natural response. A later verse further deepens the meaning of the song. Clarkson speaks candidly, the beat in the background a repetitious thumping of drums, conjuring the image of a beating heart to convey a sense of authentic emotion: can I put You put me on./ I even fell for that stupid love song.” In the context of her anger at the American Idol producer, she exhibits a self- reflexive quality in admitting that became under a spell, falling for the “stupid love songs” they made her sing. [...]
[...] In Music for Pleasure, Simon Frith agrees with Fricker's notion as he warns, problem of pop is that fans treat all songs as if they were real and accordingly have a false view of life” (p. 118). He is correct in that the high notes perpetuate the fantasy consumer ideal as they tantalize fans by always dangling something out of reach. There is a mass-distribution of false hopes that anyone can attain the popularity and talent of Kelly Clarkson merely by being discovered. [...]
[...] 85) Here, the key word is “manageable”—in classifying an artist as companies can more easily sell an artist as a means of controlling a distinct demographic. In Kelly Clarkson's case, the producers of American Idol visualized her fan base as young people attracted to easy lyrics and talented range in voice, but unmoved by any deep meaning in music. Frith adds, what is going on here is an idealization, the creation of a fantasy consumer as fantasies, then, genres describe not just who listeners are, but also what this music means to them (p. [...]
[...] Either way, the lyrics evoke the sense of passivity—of some people waiting for something to finally happen to them—so characteristic of American Idol itself. The last couple lines of the chorus change in pronoun to The shift indicates a movement back to singularity—an intimate note for Kelly Clarkson herself. Whether the listener has chosen to attach themselves from the words or not, they can easily understand the spoonfed message here. This song isn't about falling in love or a special kiss as the first lines would have the listener believe. [...]
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