Lost Hit: Kelly Clarkson’s “If I Can’t Have You” Should Have Been A Single
In this franchise, we highlight album tracks that should have been released as singles.
Inaugural American Idol, vocal powerhouse and all-around earth angel, Kelly Clarkson, turns 37 today (April 24). Instead of focussing on one of her many hits, I decided to mark the occasion by revisiting a song that could have been one. As any Clarkson scholar knows, the pop star demanded more creative freedom after the mega-success of Breakaway. And managed to ruffle a few feathers at her label by going in a darker, edgier direction on 2007’s criminally underrated My December.
For her fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, Kelly returned to pop/rock and immediately landed a chart-topper with “My Life Would Suck Without You.” The Katy Perry-penned “I Do Not Hook Up” followed that song into the top 20 and she landed another massive radio hit with the Ryan Tedder-penned power ballad, “Already Gone.” And then the era came to an abrupt close by releasing the title track as the fourth single. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song — but there were so many other options.
Including the electro-tinged “If I Can’t Have You.” Another Tedder production, the track finds Kelly playing the role of the romantic aggressor. “Can’t breathe can’t sleep with some medication, I’ll kiss goodbye to my reservations,” she declares in the opening verse, before really throwing down the gauntlet in the anthemic chorus. “If I can’t have you then I don’t want anyone,” the seductress declares. “If I can’t have you then all the damage has been done baby.” It’s bold, catchy and very, very radio-friendly.
Revisit the slept-on bop below. As much as I love the soulful songs on Meaning Of Life, I hope Kelly returns to pop/rock one of these days.