Nobody Is Happy About Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone”

Jul 27th, 2009 // 18 Comments

Kelly Clarkson’s third single from All I Ever Wanted is the weepy ballad “Already Gone,” and the inaugural American Idol has already shown off a superior rework of the track on late-night TV. Could that rearrangement be the result of the recorded version of “Gone,” written by OneRepublic caterwauler / inexplicably in-demand songsmith Ryan Tedder, sounding a lot like another pop song of the current moment—Beyoncé’s “Halo”? Which, what do you know, was also written by Tedder! How about that!

Clarkson chatted with the CBC about the similarities between “Halo” and “Already Gone,” and boy is she peeved. And really, who can blame her?

“Ryan and I met each other at the record label, before he was working with anyone else,” Clarkson begins, gritting her teeth. “He’s from Oklahoma, I’m from Texas; we got along really well and had some of the same influences. We wrote about six songs together, four or five of them made the album. It was all fine and dandy. I’d never heard of a song called Halo. Her album came out when my album was already being printed. No-one’s gonna be sittin’ at home, thinking ‘Man, Ryan Tedder gave Beyoncé and Kelly the same track to write to.’ No, they’re just gonna be saying I ripped someone off. I called Ryan and said, ‘I don’t understand. Why would you do that?’”

The palpably frustrated Clarkson claims she “fought and fought” to try and prevent her label from releasing Already Gone as her third single, out of respect for Beyonce.

“In the end, they’re releasing it without my consent,” she sighs. “It sucks, but it’s one of those things I have no control over. I already made my album. At this point, the record company can do whatever they want with it. It’s kind of a shitty situation, but.… You know, you learn.”

I suppose it’s too much to hope that labels will “learn” to stop using the hacktastic Tedder as a go-to guy for songwriting, but we can always dream. (A better lesson would be one that resulted in Kelly fleeing the stable of Sony Music labels ASAP, ahem.) In any event, over the weekend the video for the track made its way online—and guess what, there’s some controversy about that as well!

The clip was directed by Joseph Kahn, who during the shooting of the clip complained via Twitter, “I don’t think I won a single battle”; after the video leaked over the weekend, he gave a cryptic statement about whether or not his vision would be fully realized, saying, “That meatloaf is already cooked, and my hand hurts from everyone slapping my spices away.” I guess not everything can be as crowning an artistic achievement as the clip for the Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up.”

Kelly Clarkson – Already Gone [YouTube]
American idyll [CBC via MJ]
Joseph Kahn [Twitter]

  1. No wonder I loathe Halo so much- it has the Mark of Tedder stamped on it!

  2. Damn, she just cannot get a break. I think she’s got a really solid voice and while I’m not a huge fan of her I’ve bought a couple of the singles. Knowing Tedder was involved in writing it I would have steered clear of this one anyway. Some writers/musicians/producers/etc have a fairly limited canvas upon which they work, which makes them lousy collaborators.

  3. @Varina: “Halo” is best when Bey semi-scats.

    Lest we forget, Tedder (and JESSE MCCARTNEY) co-wrote “Bleeding Love.” That knocked my socks off last year and seems like the only reason (c’mon, no one enjoyed “Apologize” or “Stop and Stare”–what, you say 14-year-olds exist?) Tedder would get work.

    Still, when Katy Perry is outwriting you…

  4. I think (sadly) Kelly still benefits too much from the major label system to leave it, but I appreciate how aware she is that her albums and singles don’t mean that much in the grand scheme. I hope she gets filthy rich for the next 10 years and then retires to someplace in rural east TX and lives in an Airstream trailer on 50 acres of land and just whatever the hell she wants.

  5. I, personally, can’t wait to see what the comparative success of these two singles does to the discussion of race in the world of popular culture (see also Usher = R&B v. Justin Timberlake = Pop). Though I do thnk that both Chris Brown and Rihanna (coincidentally) had successfully broken out of that semantic ghetto before their “unpleasantness”.

  6. @brasstax: I feel the same way. Why is that? What’s Kelly Clarkson done that other stars haven’t that makes her seem so… genuine, and fosters so much goodwill in people who would traditionally not have time for her?

  7. @Halfwit: She never acts petulant or entitled, she’s always charmingly candid, and she sings her effing face off.

    As a gay guy, my heart also goes out to her for the reasons we’re apparently not supposed to talk about in public, but y’know, whatever, her life. All I’m saying is I hope she winds up sharing that Airstream with the right person for her.

  8. I like it. It reminds me a lot of Praying For Time. Although, come to think of it, I can’t quite figure out why.

  9. @dyfl: I somehow missed that whole swirl of lesbian rumors. I’ll take her at her word, though.

  10. It also reminds me of a mid-period Oasis track (forget which one now).

    Weird thing about this argument is that it’s known Halo was offered to and rejected by Leona Lewis in Spring 2008. When exactly was this written? And how did it sound then?

    His second best song as a writer/producer after Bleeding Love is probably Take A Bow on Leona’s album. This was due to be a single but got knocked on the head when Rihanna released the Ne-Yo penned song of the same name to great commercial success – though months after Leona’s song of the same name, and similar theme, had appeared on her album in Europe.

  11. @dusty vinyl: That would be “Don’t Go Away”, by Oasis, right? Which is fitting, since it’s become “Already Gone”.

    I really wonder what Kelly’s done to get screwed around again and again like this…

  12. ya apparently the The Halo that was rejected by Leona was augmented to sound like Already gone, at the request of Beyonce.

    I agree Dusty Vinyl, that Take a bow is probably Ryan’s second best song after Bleeding Love.

  13. Cheers Thierry – think that’s the one!

  14. Rumor has it that Already Gone was written waay before Halo and that Kelly actually shared credits with Ryan in writing the MELODY and the lyrics. Beyonce heard it and wanted a similar music.

  15. Not to rag on Kelly (who I generally like), but I think Halo is miles ahead of this song, which strikes me as eminently forgettable. Somehow it makes Kelly Clarkson actually sound flimsy, which is pretty impressive work for such a strong voice.

  16. It has a Girls Aloud-y quality to it, but it’s fairly ordinary as a song. Halo is a much better production overall.

  17. adam

    hi all

    i think its a very beautiful song , i think kelly clarkson was super in the video and full of feelings , all emotions really were clear on her face and her sound , and her expresions she makes while singing was fantastic , the lyrics were sad & emotional in a good way

    i think the song was great

  18. protagonistmlm

    kelly shouldn’t be accused of ripping off beyonce since she was the first printing her album, all i ever wanted. right?

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