Kelly Clarkson Returns To Pop, Clive Davis Ascends To Divinity

Jul 27th, 2007 // 14 Comments

decembre.jpgFox News’ Roger Friedman gleefully reported today that “sources” have told him the newly apologetic Kelly Clarkson will return to pop music, with a new album of songs selected by record mogul Clive Davis and his associates to come sometime in 2008. If it’s true, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the controversy surrounding My December, and the album’s solid–though unremarkable–sales figures. However, Friedman’s over-the-top reverence for Davis borders on outright fanboy drooling, and serves to highlight one of the more peculiar aspects of this whole Kelly/Clive debacle: Have we gotten to the point that people are so cynical about pop music that they prefer to reserve fandom for an industry executive who has facilitated hits rather than those who write and perform them?

It would be extremely charitable to consider what Davis does a form of artistic patronage, but even still, who is going to think more favorably of the Medici family than Michaelangelo, Raphael, or other artists who may share names with Ninja Turtles? I suppose the easy answer is “unhinged capitalists who only think in numbers and resent all forms of artistic ambition or expression,” but maybe I’m being old-fashioned, and Friedman et al are on the same wavelength as those who insist that DJs and other people who manipulate and contextualize pop culture are the truly important artists in this Web 2.0 world.

Perhaps Clive Davis isn’t just “the record industry’s most astute executive maybe of all time, ” but in fact the most important artist maybe of all time.

Y’know, maybe.

Kelly Clarkson Gets the Message, Returns to Pop [Fox News]

  1. zaky

    Spot on, Idolator. You are 100% correct with this one.

    It’s sort of pathetic, though, how Clarkson has been completely marketed and hyped as a ‘real artist’ who ‘writes her own stuff’ (read: gets a publishing royalty for writing one word) and even after ALL that hoopla, the label stabs itself in the foot by saying that Clarkson will now release an album of pop music. So much for ‘real artist’.

  2. ascot-revival

    Does this make Davis the heir to the Spector throne?

  3. Bazooka Tooth

    I would like to offer this story, and the line about Clarkson recording songs picked by a 200 year old man, to all those who constantly pay deference to American Idol and treat it’s winners as legitimate musicians worthy of praise (Dennisobell, I am looking at you, (but mostly because you are the only one i remember making statements about Am. Idol and KC–nothing vindictive meant)).
    This shit makes me laugh– American Idol fucking sucks, the music is terrible, and the “artists” who win are a joke.

  4. nonce


    If My December is the 2007 equivalent of Metal Machine Music, then we’re living in dark times.

  5. gorillavsmarykate

    I give this article a 7.4. Which is to say, I hated it.

  6. papercoversrock

    It would probably be safe to take Fox News’ “cultural coverage” with a metric ton of salt, no?

  7. chrisb

    Roger Friedman is an enormous douche. I can’t believe any of you are actually taking anything he writes seriously.

    Besides, My December IS pop music.

  8. The Van Buren Boys

    @Aquemini: I am generally willing to give Kelly a pass on the whole Idol thing (sort of). At the time of the first season nobody imagined just how big it was going to be. During the first season nobody (at least the public) knew just how orchestrated and and fake it all is. This is unlike now, where the show is generally just an avenue for karaoke singers and attention whores. I give Kelly credit for at least attempting to take some control over her image and career regardless of her success in doing so.

    With that said, I truly despise American Idol. It represents society’s celebration of fame and “celebrity” over real artistic achievement. Anytime Chris Daughtry can be considered “rock ‘n roll” is a sad time. If he’s rock ‘n roll then I’m Mick Jagger.

  9. Maura Johnston

    @chrisb: He is a douche, but he’s a douche who also doubles as a mouthpiece for Clive Davis, so it’s been interesting to me to see his little bits of propaganda on said “genius” man’s behalf.

  10. plasticaisle

    This issue with the major label pop machine influencing and shaping artists is why I was drawn to independent music at a young age in the first place. I think it’s fairly obvious when an artist is being put through the accessibility processor and honestly, my opinion hasn’t really varied much over the last 25 years. I do love the occasional glossy pop hit (and for that I feel no shame) but I’d rather hear something without a sheen that reeks of market testing. The reality is that Davis is a business man first and he knows what sells. Just like McDonalds knows how to sell fast food.

    And let’s face it, KC’s record still had that sheen. It wasn’t Sleater Kinney even if it tried to be….props to her for at least trying.

  11. Thierry

    @ascot-revival: Not unless he shoots Kelly.

  12. Thierry

    @The Van Buren Boys: Daughtry wasn’t rock and roll – if I remember correctly he was “a rebel”. *throws up*

  13. Chris N.

    Has Kelly become a scientologist?

  14. dabug

    Matthew, you’ll be interested to know that this is the same writer who wrote a really nasty hit piece on Lindsay Lohan connecting her music to Universal’s payola scandal, effectively causing me to come up with the War on Lindsay. Of course, Clive’s one suggested tune that we actually know of this whole idiotic saga is Lindsay’s “Black Hole” from second alb RAW, which is basically her hit-songmaker version of My December (which tanked — this is why Clive picked the track in the first place!). So what a lot of people are overlooking in their speculation is that Clive’s vision of “pop” wasn’t THAT far removed from what Kelly actually ended up doing without his “blessing” or whatever other effed up God/godfather metaphor anyone wants to make.

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