Behind These Hazel Eyes

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Not to be confused with Behind Hazel Eyes.
"Behind These Hazel Eyes"
A black and white frontal image of Clarkson holding her curly hair at the back of her head. She is looking in front. On her upper left, the word "Kelly Clarkson" and "Behind These Hazel Eyes" are written in yellow and white capital letters respectively.
Single by Kelly Clarkson
from the album Breakaway
Released April 12, 2005 (2005-04-12)
Format CD single, digital download, maxi single
Recorded 2004; Maratone Studios (Stockholm), Westlake Audio (Los Angeles)
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:18
Label RCA
Writer(s) Kelly Clarkson, Max Martin, Luke Gottwald
Producer(s) Max Martin, Dr. Luke
Kelly Clarkson singles chronology
"Since U Been Gone"
(2004)
"Behind These Hazel Eyes"
(2005)
"Because of You"
(2005)

"Behind These Hazel Eyes" is a song recorded by American pop singer Kelly Clarkson for her second studio album, Breakaway (2004). It was written by Clarkson with the song's producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke. The song was released on April 12, 2005 as the second single from the album. Clarkson considered "Behind These Hazel Eyes" as one of her favorite songs and she once intended to name Breakaway after the song. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" is an uptempo pop rock song that incorporates crunchy guitars which are pulsated with driving beats and anthemic choruses; it narrates Clarkson's broken relationship with her ex-boyfriend.

"Behind These Hazel Eyes" received generally positive reviews from critics, who considered the song as a decent follow-up to Clarkson's previous single "Since U Been Gone." Critics also lauded Clarkson's vocal ability which simmers alongside the steroid-charged musical backdrop that is fun, fast and furious. Commercially, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was successful in the United States; it peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became Clarkson's first song to top the Adult Pop Songs chart. It was certified platinum from Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over one million digital downloads. Elsewhere, the song charted inside the top ten in Austria, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The song's accompanying music video was directed by Joseph Kahn and produced by Danyi Deats-Barrett. The concept of the video was conceived by Clarkson and depicts her as a bride who experiences some dream-like hints that her husband-to-be is having an affair with a brunette ceremony attendee. The music video premiered online at MTV and it also received heavy rotation on Total Request Live. The song was performed live by Clarkson at numerous venues, including the Breakaway World Tour (2005) and the All I Ever Wanted Tour (2009).

Background and writing[edit]

In 2004, Clarkson flew to Sweden to collaborate with Max Martin and Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald for her album, Breakaway.[1] Clarkson and Martin were interested in turning in a more rock direction, as opposed to the "slick pop" with which they were identified. The songs "Since U Been Gone" as well as "Behind These Hazel Eyes" were the products of their collaboration.[1] In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Clarkson explains that "Behind These Hazel Eyes" is "about the dipstick who completely screwed up and now is unhappy and you're happy."[2] She also considered the song as one of her favorites that she once intended to name Breakaway after the song.[3] Critics speculated that the song reflects Clarkson's break-up with David Hodges, the ex-member of Evanescence. According to MTV, the song was originally written prior to the break-up. Nonetheless, Clarkson decided to tweak the song lyrics after breaking up with Hodges to express her emotional pain.[4] Clarkson also said that the song almost did not make it into the album.[5] She explained, "It had different lyrics in the beginning [...] I ended up calling Luke [Lukasz Gottwald], the writer, and we did a totally different song to it. It's now my favorite song on the record. Crappy relationships [make for] a good song."[5]

Composition[edit]

The 19-second chorus of "Behind These Hazel Eyes" which features the dominant sound of electric guitar.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Behind These Hazel Eyes" was written by Clarkson, Max Martin, and Dr. Luke and was produced by the latter two.[6] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Publishing, it is set in common time and has a moderate tempo of 90 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of F sharp minor with Clarkson's vocal range spanning over two octaves from F#3 to A5.[7] The song begins with Clarkson wailing "oh oh oh" over a restless percussion.[8] In the first verse, the music becomes quiet to focus on Clarkson's vocal as she wails "Seems like just yesterday/You were a part of me/I used to stand so tall/I used to be so strong/Your arms around me tight/Everything it felt so right/Unbreakable like nothing could go wrong."[8] During the chorus, the sound of electronic guitar is dominant as she vocalizes "Here I am/Once again/I’m torn into pieces/Can’t deny it/Can’t pretend/Just thought you were the one/Broken up deep inside/But you won’t get to see the tears I cry/Behind these hazel eyes."[8] Gil Kaufman of MTV noticed that the song "soared on crunchy guitars, driving beats and anthemic, agitated choruses."[9]

Lyrically, the song narrates the story of a failed relationship which initially started off well. Clarkson regrets having allowed herself to be vulnerable to her ex-boyfriend and she is determined that despite the pain that she feels, he will not get the satisfaction of seeing her cry.[10] Michael Paoletta of Billboard praised Clarkson's vocal, writing "Clarkson simply delivers a loose, tour-de-force vocal that simmers alongside a steroid-charged musical backdrop that is fun, fast and furious."[11] Scott Juba of The Trade praised the production of the song, writing "The song’s strong hook pulls listeners in and involves them in the lyrics without ever becoming gimmicky or manipulative." He also complimented Clarkson's vocal which "oscillates between pain and defiance with near pinpoint accuracy."[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Critics thought that "Behind These Hazel Eyes" showcases Clarkson's vocal prowess.

The song received very positive reviews from music critics. Elizabeth Scott of Sky Living praised the song, writing "while Clarkson is doing well musically, her love life still hasn't picked up and she is heartbroken once again. I'm sure the thought of another top ten hit might cheer her up!"[13] Scott Juba of The Trades considered "Behind These Hazel Eyes" as the highlight of the album, writing "Now that [Clarkson is] a few years older than she was when she recorded her first album, she brings more authenticity to relationship songs."[12] Evan Sawdey of PopMatters compared "Don't Let Me Stop You" (2009) with "Behind These Hazel Eyes" saying that the former "may sound like another rewrite of an older Clarkson hit (in this case, "Behind These Hazel Eyes"), but the observational lyrics about a questionable relationship are what ultimately makes the whole thing click."[14] Charles Merwin of Stylus Magazine felt that the song should sell records more because "the entire musical backing drops out to let Clarkson’s voice through to live or die on its own."[15] Pam Avoledo of Blogcritics believed that "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was superior to the writing of "Since U Been Gone", commenting that "It's punchier, well-written and gives Clarkson a chance to show off her vocal skills without the trendy haughtiness."[8]

In a different perspective, Joe Cross of Cox Communications thought that "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was a decent follow-up to "Since U Been Gone", saying "It's no "Since U Been Gone" which is just a pop-rock juggernaut, but as follow-ups go, it's not too shabby. Clarkson's down-home everything (well, mostly her looks) sells these little heartbreak haikus exceptionally well." He also listed "Behind These Hazel Eyes" as one of the 40 songs that defined the summer of 2005.[16] Maria DiLorenzo of Yahoo! ranked "Behind These Hazel Eyes" at number four in her list of "Top Ten Kelly Clarkson Song of the Decade", writing "beautiful crooning and yes once again an elegant old world romantic video to go along with it. You have no choice but to be enamored by the combination."[17] Chris Kal of WKNS ranked "Behind These Hazel Eyes" at number four in his list of "Top 10 Summer Songs From 2005".[18] Sam Lamsky of PopCrush described the song as "a surefire fan favorite" and ranked it at number nine in his list of "Top 10 Kelly Clarkson songs".[3] Bill Lamb of About.com put the song at number 62 on his list of "Top 100 Pop Songs of 2005".[19] At the 24th ASCAP Pop Music Awards, the song was honored with the Most Performed Songs award.[20] On January 2010, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was the fifth most played song of the last decade by American Idol performers.[21] The song was nominated in the category for Song of the Year: Mainstream Hit Radio in the 2005 Radio Music Awards.[22] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy considered "Behind These Hazel Eyes" as Clarkson's second best single after "Since U Been Gone", writing "It proved a slow burner at the time of release, but this track's greatness continues to be realised over time."[23] On March 5, 2013, Billboard ranked the song at number four on its list of Top 100 American Idol Hits of All Time.[24]

Chart performance[edit]

"Behind These Hazel Eyes" debuted at number eighty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending, April 23, 2005.[25] The song peaked at number six on the week ending June 11, 2005.[26][27] It stayed inside the top ten in Billboard Hot 100 for fifteen weeks.[28] On the week ending August 27, 2005, the song topped the Adult Top 40 and stayed in the position for five consecutive weeks.[29][30] On the Billboard's Radio Songs, the song peaked at number four on August 6, 2005.[31] The song also appeared on the US Pop Songs at number thirty on the week ending April 30, 2005,[32] and peaked at number two on the week ending July 9, 2005.[33] It spent seven consecutive weeks at number two and was held off the top spot by Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together". It became the sixteenth ranked single of the 2000s decade on the Pop Songs chart complied by Billboard.[34] On January 31, 2008, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[35] The song has sold 1,508,000 digital copies in the United States as of Mach 2013. [36]

Internationally, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was a commercial success. In Australia, the song debuted and peaked at number six on the week ending July 3, 2005.[37] In New Zealand, the song entered New Zealand Singles Chart and peaked at number seven on the week ending July 4, 2005 as the highest debut of the week.[38] In the United Kingdom, the song also debuted and peaked at number nine on the week ending October 1, 2005.[39] In Ireland, the song debuted at number nine on the week ending September 22, 2005,[40] and peaked at number four on the week ending November 3, 2005.[41]

Music video[edit]

Background and release[edit]

The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn and was produced by Danyi Deats-Barrett.[42] It was shot for two days in April 2005 in Toronto at a Church and a sound stage while Clarkson was on tour.[43] According to Kahn, Clarkson was sick during the production and could not speak. During Clarkson's wardrobe fitting, they communicated together using notes written by her.[44] Though she is seen speaking and is interviewed in the behind the scenes footage.[45] Access Hollywood reported that a single sprinkler was used to produce rain in the music video. The concept of the music video was conceived by Clarkson. She explained, "The whole thing is a metaphor about a broken fairy tale [...] You think everything is going well, and then reality kicks your butt. It's kind of a sad video, but it's going to be my best one. It's real, and that's why people like me."[43] Clarkson also added that after the production of the music video was completed, she had bruises and a green-and-yellow splotch on her left biceps.[43] The music video premiered online on May 9, 2005, on MTV.[46] On May 16, 2005, it premiered on Total Request Live where it debuted at number five on the chart the following day.[47]

Synopsis[edit]

The music video begins with Clarkson standing in a room wearing a white wedding dress. Holding a bouquet of red rose, she is surrounded by her bridesmaids as they prepare for her wedding. She sits down on a sofa and sees a wedding photo of her fiancé with another woman as a storm begins to form outside. The bridesmaids try to close the windows but fail so they run out of the room leaving Clarkson alone, who is seen dropping the bouquet of rose as well as the wedding photo from her hands onto the floor. The next scene shows Clarkson walking down the aisle in a church wearing a black dress. She sees a bride standing at the altar with her fiancé, getting married. When she draws the veil of the bride, she realizes that the bride is the woman from the photo. Clarkson, who is now wearing a white wedding dress, runs out of the church and into a dark swamp. A montage of Clarkson singing with her band in a dark swamp is shown alternately with scenes of Clarkson running in the forest and laying on the ground. Clarkson is also seen standing inside an abandoned house, wearing a voluminous black dress. As the rain starts to fall, Clarkson finally collapsed, kneeling on the ground while looking at and being comforted by her other self who is singing with the band. The scene shifts to a present day, where Clarkson is standing at the altar, exchanging vows with her fiancé. Before he puts the ring on her finger, she looks at the guests and notices that the woman from the photo is among the audience. She sees her fiancé exchanging a smile with the woman as the woman blows him a kiss. Clarkson then reaches for the ring and throws it at her fiancé, before running away from the altar. She throws her wedding bouquet into the lap of the woman and shoves her way past the wedding guests who are trying to stop her from leaving. The video ends with Clarkson stepping out the doors into the bright sunlight.

Reception[edit]

James Dinh of MTV Newsroom listed "Behind These Hazel Eyes" as one of the music videos with "a bad case of the runaway bride syndrome," writing, "Throughout the clip, Clarkson finds herself running through a swampy mud land until she snaps out of her visions, refuses to proceed with the wedding and makes a shocking escape out of the church."[48] Andrea Holmes of AOL ranked "Behind These Hazel Eyes" at number five in her list of "Top Wedding Music Videos: 15 Clips for the Big 'I Do'." She commented, "The perfect illustration of our point about wedding videos, 'Behind These Hazel Eyes' takes an atypical approach to marriage [...] Throughout the video the weather is dark and rainy, matching the story line, but when Clarkson ditches the wedding and runs out of the church, she is greeted with sunshine.[49] In an interview with MTV, the lead vocalist of Yellowcard, Ryan Key, praised Clarkson in the music video. He said, "She is so unbelievably gorgeous in that video that is all over TV right now [...] The wet wedding dress and the wet hair and ... come on, man! Who knew? She is so hot. She looks so good in it."[50] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy opined that the music video is Clarkson's best video to date.[23] The music video had a successful run at Total Request Live where it topped the chart for 33 days, a record that Clarkson holds for the longest stay by a female artist at number one on the chart.[51][52]

Live performances[edit]

Clarkson performing the song wearing the wedding dress featured in its music video

"Behind These Hazel Eyes" was included in the setlist of her Breakaway World Tour (2005). During her concert tour at Germain Arena, Clarkson performed the song wearing the same wedding dress she wore in the song's music video.[53] Clarkson also performed "Behind These Hazel Eyes" on her All I Ever Wanted Tour (2009). While touring at Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, Clarkson sang the stripped down version of the song, accompanied by guitars and vocal.[54] Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone felt that Alanis' influence was evident on the chorus of "Behind These Hazel Eyes" which was performed acoustically in the event.[55] Clarkson explained that the arrangement was intended to maximize audience sing-along potential in which Jim Cantiello of MTV thought was effective.[54] On December 2011, Clarkson also performed "Behind These Hazel Eyes" on Chicago Theatre as part of the Miracle on State Street benefit concert. Bob Gendron of Chicago Tribune reviewed Clarkson's performance, writing "the Texas native could've impressed simply by projecting her booming voice and relishing its prodigious range. Yet she seemed determined to reinforce female empowerment themes often missing from her mainstream-pop contemporaries' hits."[56]

Cover versions[edit]

"Behind These Hazel Eyes" was covered by Cassadee Pope in the third season of The Voice. According to Pope, she decided to sing the song in order to reach out to her father who divorced from her mother when she was still 11 years old.[57] Her rendition was praised by Christina Aguilera saying, "I got to feel your heart."[58]

Track listings[edit]

  • Digital download and CD single[59]
  1. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Album Version) – 3:16
  2. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Live @ Sony Connect) – 3:39
  3. "Behind Theze Hazel Eyes" (Enhanced CD Video) - 3:16
  • Behind These Hazel Eyes – EP[60]
  1. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Joe Bermudez & Josh Harris Mixshow Edit) – 3:29
  2. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Joe Bermudez & Josh Harris Mixshow Remix) – 5:24
  3. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Joe Bermudez & Josh Harris Mixshow Instrumental) – 5:25
  4. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Joe Bermudez & Josh Harris Top 40 Radio Remix) – 3:10
  5. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (Joe Bermudez & Josh Harris Acappella) – 2:58

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Breakaway.[61]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[85] April 12, 2005 Mainstream radio RCA Records
Australia[86] June 17, 2005 Maxi single Sony BMG
France[87] August 1, 2005 Digital download (Dance Vault Remixes)
Ireland[88] September 9, 2005 Digital download
Germany[89]
Norway[90] September 12, 2005
United Kingdom September 19, 2005 CD single[91]
Maxi single[92]
Germany[93] October 21, 2005 Maxi single
Germany[94] October 28, 2005 CD single

References[edit]

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  90. ^ http://no.7digital.com/artist/kelly-clarkson/release/behind-these-hazel-eyes
  91. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-These-Hazel-Kelly-Clarkson/dp/B000AUZUGE/
  92. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-These-Hazel-Eyes-Cd2/dp/B000AUZUGO
  93. ^ http://www.amazon.de/Behind-These-Hazel-Kelly-Clarkson/dp/B000AUZUGO
  94. ^ http://www.amazon.de/Behind-These-Hazel-Clarkson-Kelly/dp/B000AUZUGE

External links[edit]