A Very Special Mix CD: Ten Songs That Kelly Clarkson Should Listen To That Aren’t “Pork & Beans”

Jun 15th, 2009 // 16 Comments

Kelly Clarkson had her turn in the New York Times‘ “Playlist” chair yesterday, and the results were, well, mixed. Weezer’s red album got a shoutout, as did the Irish band The Script, who Clarkson described as–eek!–”OneRepublic meets rap.” Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. Aw, Kelly. Listen. In honor of you being my favorite American Idol (and having one of my favorite albums of the year) (well, except for all those songs by the OneRepublic guy, which are just plodding and terrible and tuneless and ugh), I decided to craft a mix CD for you. Because girl, there is there is so much music out there that you would love–and that would probably love you back!

1. Ida Maria, “Stella”

I know you like Pink’s blend of vulnerability and attitude (although I think you’re selling your own pipes short when you call her voice the best of its generation–hey, look within!). May I introduce you to Ida (that’s EE-da) Maria, a Norwegian singer who has a similar outlook on life, only with fewer circus metaphors in her album artwork?

2. Pulp, “Bad Cover Version”

Think Rivers Cuomo is witty? Just you wait. (NB: I’ll probably include the proper version on the CD.)

3. The Joy Formidable, “Cradle”

Mainly including this track by this bewitching little Welsh band because I segue it into “Don’t Let Me Stop You” on mixes a lot. (That should really really really be your next single, by the way.)

4. Taylor Swift, “Picture To Burn”

I know you like what you call her “simple fairy-tale ballads,” but I think this has a nice bit of fury to it that you’ll appreciate.

5. Amerie, “Gotta Work”

I’m going to guess that you slept on this track when it came out a few years ago. That’s OK, everyone did! Including Amerie’s label at the time, something to which I suspect you can relate.

6. Jane Child, “Don’t Wanna Fall In Love”

You may remember this song from when you were, um, eight. I’m going to assume you missed the Pussycat Dolls’ cover from last year, although that’s actually a good thing because this way you can do your own version of the song and show the pop tarts that you can pretty much own them. (Hey, it worked on those Katy Perry tracks, right?) Just don’t try and mimic her hairstyle and we’ll be cool.

7. Madonna, “Deeper And Deeper”

It all flows, I swear.

8. The Go! Team, “Junior Kickstart”

I actually try to include this on every mix (or playlist, whatever) I make these days, because it provides a nice respite from thinking about lyrics. Plus, this is one of the best videos ever. Ever.

9. Fall Out Boy, “America’s Suitehearts”

OK, so you’ve probably heard this song. But I’m including this because I think you picked the wrong band opening for blink-182 this summer for your shoutout, even if you didn’t listen to these guys when you were in high school. (Oy, I am old. Also, hey, Pitchfork is on my side!

10. Mother Love Bone, “Chloe Dancer / Crown Of Thorns”

From your love of Ryan Tedder, we know that you like piano balladry. But what if you heard a piano ballad by an artist could actually write a chorus? It would blow your mind. Correction: It will blow your mind.

Anyway, e-mail me with your address! I can pop this in the post lickety-split.

An ‘Idol’ Trains Her Ear Across Pop Soundscape [NYT]


  1. Kelly needs to get a p.o. box and open it up for mixtape submissions from all of us!

  2. Kelly on Kings of Leon:

    The rock category is not rock anymore, so I love that they’re a rock band. Nothing about them is not rock.

    Major sigh.

    And regarding…

    A lot of their songs remind me of soundtracks because they’re so epic.

    I think I need to make Kelly a mix CD of The Dears.

  3. I have to give you major props for including MLB & The Joy Formidable.

  4. And… Kings Of Leon are the rock band for people who don’t know sh*t about rock. I’m so sick of seeing them everywhere and all the hipsters name dropping them. It reminds me of people like P Diddy giving Coldplay shout outs a couple of years ago.

  5. @jonian2008: I never thought I’d be saying this, but I’m actually going to side with Kelly Clarkson.

    Seriously, Kings of Leon are a quintessential rock band. Are the sex and drugs, guitars, great songs, good looking band members and universal appeal preventing me from seeing their true non-rock nature? Almost seems to be like Kings of Leon are a band for people who know a lot about rock and expect much more than Coldplay offers.

  6. @krisskraft: I have to agree with both of you. If they only made better music, they’d be everything I want.

  7. “Don’t Let Me Stop You” is easily the best single not to be released as a single released this year. If you get me.

  8. I completely agree that Kelly is underselling herself on the “best voice of the generation” thing. Kelly is so humble and down-to-earth. I love Pink and think she’s got a dynamite and unique voice. But Kelly’s is the voice that I can listen to for hours on end, and it’s such an expressive and wide-ranging instrument: sweet, raw, powerful, heartbreaking, thrilling. Really, all I ever wanted and more :-)

  9. I just think they(KOL) carry a certain amount of pretentiousness since they’ve gotten popular. Just like the rest of you guys, I’ve been aware of them since they first came out and saw them open for Pearl Jam a couple of years ago. Now everyone is all over them hyping the band and they definitely have the attitude of “Yeah, we deserve this.” That’s kind of a turn off to me as well as friends of mine who don’t listen to music anymore have been asking me about them every other week. Just not my cup of tea.

  10. @jonian2008: I couldn’t care less for their last couple of records, but I used to like them alright when they were the mush-mouthed “Southern Strokes” (what a terrible tag!) with terrible beards, worse haircuts, and a few really good unpretentious rock’n'roll songs. That said, they always sounded reasonably pretentious and somewhat aloof in interviews (and not the fun quotable pretentiousness of the Gallaghers).

  11. The Script aren’t “OneRepublic meets rap”, they’re “awful meets horrifyingly terrible”.

  12. Kings of Leon give me the Hate Shakes. This is documented.

  13. @DocStrange: I think that description fits anything that’s “OneRepublic meets something else”.

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