Never Again (Kelly Clarkson song)

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"Never Again"
Single by Kelly Clarkson
from the album My December
Released April 24, 2007 (2007-04-24)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded Mower Studios (Pasadena), The Village Recorder Santa Monica)
Genre Pop rock[1]
Length 3:37
Label RCA
Writer(s) Kelly Clarkson, Jimmy Messer
Producer(s) David Kahne
Kelly Clarkson singles chronology
"Walk Away"
(2006)
"Never Again"
(2007)
"Because of You"
(2007)

"Never Again" is a song recorded by American pop singer Kelly Clarkson for her third studio album, My December (2007). Clarkson co-wrote the song with Jimmy Messer while produced by American producer and musician David Kahne. Clarkson stated that the song was written as a counterpart to the songs from her second studio album, Breakaway (2004), and was almost removed because of its harsh lyrical nature. RCA Records serviced the song to mainstream radios in the United States on April 24, 2007. "Never Again" features a stronger rock sound than Clarkson's previous releases, but maintains some pop undertones. It relies on strings, guitar riffs and drums and is centered on angry, abrasive lyrics.

"Never Again" received positive reviews from music critics, with many citing it as a darker counterpart to "Since U Been Gone" (2004) and as one of her best releases. The song fared well in international as well as domestic markets, but failed to mimic the success of her previous lead singles. It peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was also certified gold in Canada and Australia while peaking within the top ten in both regions. The song has sold over one million downloads in the United States. The accompanying music video for "Never Again" was released on May 1, 2007 in the United States. It portrays Clarkson being drowned in a bathtub and in various scenes acting as a ghost, haunting her ex-boyfriend following the end of their relationship.

Background[edit]

"Never Again" was written and composed by Kelly Clarkson and Jimmy Messer while American producer and musician David Kahne produced the song with Messer and Jason Halbert.[2] The song was conceived around the same subject as "Since U Been Gone" and "Behind These Hazel Eyes", which were included on her second studio album Breakaway (2004).[3] The song was written as a contrast to those songs, saying that "neither was originally written" with that thought in mind and were adjusted "after the fact."[3] It was almost removed from My December's track listing, but Clarkson found to be fitting as the album's opener, stating "it's a fun song, and that's why we kept it. It's just got such great energy. It's so blunt — I was so angry — and it reads so well, so we just went with it."[3] Kahne also provides the keys, along with Halbert, and Messer provided the guitars.[2] The instruments were played by Billy Mohler, who plays the bass, and Shawn Pelton, who provides the drums.[2]

Composition[edit]

The song is influenced by the work of Alanis Morissette and Pat Benatar.

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"Never Again" is a pop rock song with a length of 3:37 (3 minutes and 37 seconds). It also incorporates elements of electro and arena rock.[4] "Never Again" consists of ringing guitar riffs, faux-strings, Queens of the Stone Age-style drums, and sharp vocals.[4][5][6] The song has been described as an embittered anthem about the end of a relationship. Clarkson, in an interview with MTV, has cited Alanis Morissette's 1995 single "You Oughta Know" and Pat Benatar as influences for the record. According to her, someone at her label disliked the song because it was too similar to Benatar's music. "I was like, 'Now I really like it! I love her, and what's wrong with you?'", Clarkson said. "I love any kind of rock chick who's just totally into what she's doing. What's funny is that we now think of her as a rock icon, but she was pretty pop as well. And I'm pretty pop too — I'm a rock/pop girl, which is cool with me."[3]

According to the digital music sheet published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Publishing Company, Inc, it is written in the key of G minor.[7] The song is set in common time a follows a moderately fast tempo of 138 beats per minute.[7] Clarkson's vocals ranged from G3 to an E♭5.[7] Many critics made comparisons to "Since U Been Gone" (Breakaway, 2004). Tina Mrazik of Yahoo! Music compared it to "Since U Been Gone", commenting its similarity in regard to vocals.[8] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine describes "Never Again" as a slightly harder and less immediate version of the entire Breakaway album.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe comments that the song "comes much closer, pleasingly so, to the polished angst and power chords of Alanis Morissette and Pat Benatar than it does to, say, "Gimme Shelter" or "Nebraska.""[10] Allmusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine selected it among others as one of the album's best tracks.[11] Chris Willman, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, comments "There was subversive fun to be had in witnessing America's sweetheart using Never Again, the he-done-me-wrong first single, to reinvent herself as a banshee (wishing gangrene on an enemy, no less)."[12] Spence D. of IGN praised the song as an intriguing departure for Clarkson, writing that "she's kicking out the verbals with gusto."[4]

J. Freedom du Lac, a writer for The Washington Post, commented on the song's poor performance on the charts compared to singles off of Breakaway, writing that it lacks a memorable melody.[13] Cinema Blend's Brendan Butler lauded it as the only radio-friendly tune on My December, writing that "There’s no denying it’s a hot tune that would be better accompanied by tracks not trying to repeat its identical magic."[14] Susan Frances of Hybrid Magazine described it as having the "pop-rock propulson of Chevalle."[15] Tony Heywood of musicOMH labeled it as "A smart mini pop metal explosion of angst and rage."[6] "Never Again" ranked number ninety-nine on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007 and number sixty-three on AT40's 100 Most Played Songs of 2007. It also ranked at number seventy on Billboard's 2007 Year End Chart.[16] On March 5, 2013, Billboard ranked the song #26 in its list of Top 100 American Idol Hits of All Time.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

"Never Again" was a moderate hit in many international territories. In the United States, on the week ending May 12, 2007, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number eight due to the strength of over 100,000 digital downloads sold during the first week of release.[18] The song fell to number twelve in the following week and continued to fall until its fifth week, when it remained momentum and rose to number nine.[19][20] "Never Again" lasted a total of sixteen weeks on the Hot 100.[21] The song also charted on several Billboard charts, peaking at number four on Hot Digital Songs, number seventeen on Adult Pop Songs, number twenty-two on Pop Songs, and number forty-nine on Radio Songs.[22] It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on July 31, 2007 for sales of 500,000 units.[23] Since its release, the song has sold over 1,179,000 downloads in the United States.[24] In Canada, the song entered the Canadian Hot 100 at number nine on the week ending June 2, 2007 and rose to number eight the following week.[21][25] The song was certified gold by Music Canada on December 4, 2007 for sales of 40,000 units.[26]

Internationally, "Never Again" experienced similar to less commercial success. In Australia, the song entered the Australian Singles Chart on June 10, 2007 at number five, where it peaked, and lasted with the top ten for seven weeks after.[27] It ended up on Year-End Chart at number 40 and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 35,000 units.[28][29] In the United Kingdom, the song debuted and peaked at number nine.[30] It stayed present in the top seventy five for a total of eight weeks.[21] In Ireland, the song peaked at number eleven in its second week on the Irish Singles Chart and lasted five more weeks on the chart.[21][31]

Music video[edit]

Clarkson's character's ghost haunting and following her ex-husband in the music video.

The music video, directed by Joseph Kahn, was shot in Los Angeles at the Staples Center from April 11 to 13, 2007. Kahn directed two of Clarkson's previous videos: "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Walk Away". The video premiered on TRL on May 1, 2007, peaked at number one on May 10, 2007, and held the top position four times. It also debuted at number 8 on VH1's V-Spot countdown and has since climbed to number 3 on V-Spot's latest episode. The music video was made available for download on the U.S. iTunes Store on May 11, 2007.

The plot involves Clarkson's character's ex-husband (Dominic Figlio) attempting to drown her in her bathtub. Then, he heads to an airport to meet his mistress, but he is wracked with guilt over what he has done. Apparitions of Clarkson are present in his car, and again at the airport to haunt him. Clarkson said the video was similar to the 2000 film What Lies Beneath because, as she put it, "You don't know if he killed me or if he's just being haunted by his conscience."[3] Clarkson then resurfaces from the bathtub, as her ex-husband wakes up from the dream, still in his car. When he walks out, Clarkson leaves the house and drives off in the car, leaving her ex-husband behind. Clarkson also performs the song with her band in an empty white room, all wearing white clothes, during various scenes in the music video. Clarkson said the white theme was present not because she was getting "artsy-fartsy" but "because it's been ripped of innocence. Anyone who's ever been in love, when it goes bad — and sadly, everyone can relate in some manner — it just gets cold and it's hard to get past that."[3]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of My December, RCA Records, in association with 19 Recordings.[2]

Recording and mixing
Personnel
  • Songwriting - Kelly Clarkson, Jimmy Messner
  • Production — David Kahne, Jason Halbert, Jimmy Messner
  • Vocals — Kelly Clarkson
  • Mixing — Andy Wallace
  • Mixing (assistant) - Mike Schielzi
  • Drums — Shawn Pelton
  • Keyboard — Jason Halbert, David Kahne
  • Bass — Billy Mohler
  • Guitar — Jimmy Messner

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[32] 5
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[33] 36
Canadian Hot 100[34] 8
Czech Airplay Chart[35] 66
European Hot 100[36] 23
Germany (Media Control Charts)[37] 19
Greece Singles Chart 15
Ireland (IRMA)[38] 11
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[39] 20
Slovakia [40] 46
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[41] 39
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[42] 27
UK Singles Chart[43] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[44] 8
US Billboard Pop Songs 20
US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 12
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 24

All-time chart[edit]

Chart Position
Australia (ARIA)[45] 781

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Sales
United States Gold[46] 1,106,000[47]
Canada Gold[26] 40,000
Australia Gold[29] 35,000

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States April 24, 2007 Contemporary hit radio[48] RCA Records
Digital download[49]
Hot AC radio[50]
Canada[51] May 1, 2007 Digital download Sony BMG
Ireland[52] May 18, 2007
Australia[53] May 26, 2007 CD single
Germany[54] June 1, 2007
New Zealand[55] June 4, 2007 Digital download
United Kingdom[56] June 11, 2007 CD single RCA Records
Canada[57] July 3, 2007 Digital download (Dance Vault Remixes) Sony BMG
Norway[58]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1239638
  2. ^ a b c d My December (inlay cover). Kelly Clarkson. RCA Records, 19 Recordings. 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jennifer Vineyard; Yasmine Richard (April 19, 2007). "Kelly Clarkson On Her Revealing New LP: 'I'm Not Even This Open With Boyfriends!'". MTV. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c D., Spence. "Kelly Clarkson — My December Review". IGN. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ Levine, Nick. "Kelly Clarkson: 'My December' - Music Album Review". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Heywood, Tony. "Kelly Clarkson — My December | album reviews". musicOMH. OMH. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Kelly Clarkson — Never Again Sheet Music (Digital Download)". Musicnotes. Alfred Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ Mrazik, Tina. "Review of Kelly Clarkson's "My December"". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ Cinquemani, Sal. "Kelly Clarkson: My December". Slant Magazine. Slant Magazine. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ Rodman, Sarah (June 25, 2007). "Ex-'Idol' shares grief and grit". The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "My December — Kelly Clarkson". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ Willman, Chris (June 22, 2007). "My December Review". Entertainment Weekly (Entertainment Weekly Inc.). Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ Freedom du Lac, J. (June 26, 2007). "'My December': Kelly Clarkson, Striking Out On Her Own". Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ Butler, Brendan. "CD Review: Kelly Clarkson's My December". Cinema Blend. Cinema Blend LLC. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ Frances, Susan. "Kelly Clarkson — My December review". Hybrid Magazine. [noun] digital media. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ No byline (December 11, 2007). "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 21, 2007
  17. ^ "Top 100 'American Idol' Hits of All Time". Billboard. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
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  24. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/1550541/ask-billboard-a-whole-lotta-shake-in-going-on?page=0%2C2
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  28. ^ "ARIA Charts — End Of Year Charts — Top 100 Singles 2007". Australian Recording Industry Association. ARIA — Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "ARIA Charts — Accreditations - 2007 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. ARIA — Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  30. ^ "2007 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive — June 23, 2007". The Official Charts Company. June 23, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  31. ^ "TOP 50 SINGLES, WEEK ENDING 21 June 2007". Irish Singles Chart. GFK Chart-Track. June 21, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Kelly Clarkson – Never Again". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  33. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kelly Clarkson – Never Again" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  34. ^ "Canadian Hot 100 Chart Positions". Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems.
  35. ^ ds. "Čns Ifpi". Ifpicr.cz. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
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  40. ^ ds. "Sns Ifpi". Ifpicr.cz. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  41. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kelly Clarkson – Never Again". Singles Top 60.
  42. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Kelly Clarkson – Never Again". Swiss Singles Chart.
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  46. ^ "RIAA". 
  47. ^ "RIAA Sales". 
  48. ^ "®R&R :: Going For Adds™ :: CHR/Top 40". Gfa.radioandrecords.com. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  49. ^ : (2007-04-24). "Never Again (2007) | Kelly Clarkson | MP3 Downloads 7digital United States". Us.7digital.com. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  50. ^ "®R&R :: Going For Adds™ :: Hot AC". Gfa.radioandrecords.com. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  51. ^ :. "Never Again (2007) | Kelly Clarkson | MP3 Downloads 7digital Canada". Ca.7digital.com. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  52. ^ : (2007-05-18). "Never Again (2007) | Kelly Clarkson | MP3 Downloads 7digital Ireland". Ie.7digital.com. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  53. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20071012173230/http://sonybmg.com.au/cd/releaseDetails.do?catalogueNo=88697109642
  54. ^ "Never Again: Amazon.de: Musik". Amazon.de. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  55. ^ : (2007-06-04). "Never Again (2007) | Kelly Clarkson | MP3 Downloads 7digital New Zealand". Nz.7digital.com. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  56. ^ "Never Again: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  57. ^ :. "Dance Vault Mixes - Never Again (2007) | Kelly Clarkson | MP3 Downloads 7digital Canada". Ca.7digital.com. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  58. ^ :. "Dance Vault Mixes - Never Again (2007) | Kelly Clarkson | MP3 Downloads 7digital Norge". No.7digital.com. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 

External links[edit]