Kelly Clarkson: Catch My Breath (Single Review)

Ten years ago last month, Kelly Clarkson stood cry-crooning her way through “A Moment Like This” at the Kodak Theater in L.A. as she was crowned the first-ever winner of American Idol.

Five platinum-selling studio albums, ten Top 10 singles and about a dozen worldwide tours later, the powerhouse songstress (and still the greatest Idol of all time) is now getting ready to release her first-ever greatest hits package, Greatest Hits – Chapter 1. (In the pop world, that’s basically eons–Hilary Duff has two greatest hits packages, you know.)

To kick off the long overdue collection, Clarkson is about to release a brand new single: “Catch My Breath,” which just premiered on On Air with Ryan Seacrest moments ago.

From Miss Clarkson herself:

To celebrate the strength and longevity that my fans, friends, and family have supported me with I wrote this song “Catch my Breath” with one of my best friends that has seen me through everything. This song represents who I’ve been, what I’ve felt, and where I’m headed as not only an artist but as a 30 year old that is now smart enough to know that it’s time to stop, catch my breath, and be proud of not only what has been accomplished but of all the people that have helped me become the woman I am today.

The song is a proper introduction to a more self-assured Clarkson who, as she told Ryan earlier this morning, has found a boyfriend: “This is going to sound lame to a lot of, like, feminist women, but I found love…once you find love, it makes you more comfortable,” she eloquently explained. Oh, Kelly.

Floating atop cool synthesizers and a reliably Clarkson-friendly rock-pop pulse produced by Eric Olson, “Catch My Breath” plays like a blend between the lighter moments on Clarkson’s 2004 masterpiece, Breakaway (think a mix between the title track and “You Found Me”) and its grown-up 2011 counterpart, Stronger.

The track was co-penned alongside her musical director Jason Halbert, whose been with her every step of the way since Idol. Accordingly, the lyrics capture Clarkson at her most introspective (a la 2007’s largely self-penned My December), ditching the boy drama and angst, turning inward and sounding more confident and in control than ever before: “Catching my breath, letting it go, turning my cheek for the sake of this show/Now that you know, this is my life, I won’t be told what’s supposed to be right,” she declares.

Sure, there’s some signature yelping throughout the track (that ringing final note during the song’s bridge, especially!), but for the most part, “Catch My Breath” is one of Clarkson’s most laid-back offerings in years. (Also, that c-c-c-c-catch my breath bit during the chorus? Perfection.)

It’s classic Clarkson, and a true breath of fresh air.

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