This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (September 2017)
|Studio album by Kelly Clarkson|
|Released||June 22, 2007|
|Kelly Clarkson chronology|
|Singles from My December|
My December is the third studio album by American singer Kelly Clarkson. The album was released on June 22, 2007, throughout most of Europe on June 23, 2007, in Australia and Venezuela, on June 25, 2007, in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Poland and Mexico and on June 26, 2007, in North America. Clarkson confirmed the name of the album in her journal on her fanclub website on February 27, 2007.
Since its release, My December has shipped one million copies in the United States and has been certified platinum. It has also been certified platinum in other countries, including Canada and Australia. The album was voted as the fifth best album of 2007 by the readers of Billboard. It ranked at number 53 on the Australian Year End Chart. The album was heavily reviewed by critics, who noted the album's stronger rock influence when compared with Clarkson's previous album Breakaway (2004).
|“||Everything caught up with me in a bad way. My body was wearing down, and my emotions were wearing down. I was trying to get over someone. I hadn't seen my friends and family for a while, and it was becoming a nuisance [to see them] because I was so busy. I was traveling, and then there was more added to the schedule. It just got chaotic. I was 24, and that is pretty young to be the boss of so much. And it caught up with me. I couldn't smile. I couldn't do anything. I broke down. I cried so much I couldn't speak. I was that tired. I was drained. I didn't want to act, didn't want to smile — I didn't want to pretend. I just broke. ... It was the lowest point of my life and my career."||”|
During this period, Clarkson wrote songs that would eventually become part of her album, My December, calling it "free therapy". These feelings inspired the song "Irvine", which tells of when she was in Irvine, California. "Irvine" would be later used in the season five premiere episode of One Tree Hill titled "4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days". "Irvine" ends at a length of 4:15, leading to a minute of silence, followed by a three and a half minute hidden track entitled "Chivas".
|“||All of my favorite records — Jagged Little Pill, any U2 record, Tragic Kingdom — I love how it's like a story from beginning to finish. Especially Jagged Little Pill. The last song on My December, "Irvine", it literally was the lowest point I've had in my life. I wrote it after my Irvine show on my last tour. I was just so burned-out. I was really struggling at getting somebody out of my life and finding people that really cared. The whole song is a prayer. I wrote it in the bathroom of the venue after the show. I had to cancel my meet-and-greet; it's the only meet-and-greet I've ever canceled. I couldn't smile. It was just a really, really bad night.||”|
Conflict with Sony BMG
Prior to the album's release, sources reported that Clive Davis, the head of Sony BMG, was dissatisfied with the album. Davis reportedly wanted Clarkson to make significant changes to the album, with some rumors claiming that he even wanted to delete the entire album, and have her record all new material. Clarkson reportedly refused to change any of the material. Initially, these reports were denied by representatives for both RCA and Clive Davis, with Davis specifically stating that Clarkson is "one of the top four artists at Sony-BMG" and wanted to ensure that she is treated as such.
However, Clarkson later confirmed the rumors to be true. Not only did she state that Davis wanted to hold the album from being released as scheduled, she also stated that her label thought the album was "too negative" and dark. Clarkson stated multiple times that she recognized that My December may not have rivaled the showstopping sales of Breakaway. However, she compares My December to Bruce Springsteen's landmark 1982 album Nebraska, which was explicitly anti-commercial but has since gained a huge reputation of, as she said, "an artist's record". Clarkson stated:
|“||I've sold more than 15 million records worldwide, and still nobody listens to what I have to say. I couldn't give a crap about being a star. I've always just wanted to sing and write.||”|
|“||Kelly is not a puppet; she does not like to be told what to do. She could have gone the easy route, which is, you go with ["Since U Been Gone" producer] Max Martin — it's a guaranteed success. She made it absolutely clear that she wanted to steer the musical direction on this record. You just gotta say, 'You know what? This girl has given us millions and millions of sales.' You've got to give her that opportunity. If it works out, fantastic. If she then decides she wants to do a pop album, every good writer and producer wants to work with her. Because Kelly will be here for 30 years. She has one of the best pop voices in the world right now. What she sold in the UK, Europe, Asia had nothing to do with American Idol. It had everything to do with the fact that she made a great record and she's got an incredible voice. She's not a girl who got lucky in a talent competition; we got lucky to find her.||”|
The controversy fell quiet for a brief stint, but resumed when Clarkson cancelled her tour for My December and fired her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz. Jeff Kwatinetz had defended My December to Clarkson's label, saying:
|“||It's an amazing record from beginning to end. I see Kelly as a songwriter who's going to have a 30-year career. If the record doesn't do what the last album did, if it doesn’t sell 5.7 million in the U.S. and have four No. 1 hits, then it’s a failure? No. It’s ridiculous that she’s burdened with these expectations. This record is already a success because she’s pushed herself, she’s evolved and she’s grown. And I hope she keeps doing that.||”|
Narvel Blackstock, Reba McEntire's ex-husband, has was hired by Clarkson as her personal manager. In regards to her cancelled tour, disappointing ticket sales were acknowledged as a factor, and Clarkson stated that it (touring) was "too much too soon". Following the dismissal of her manager and cancelling her tour, Clarkson appeared in an issue of Elle Magazine, where it was revealed that Davis offered Clarkson $10 million to remove five songs from the album in favor of five more radio friendly songs of Davis' choosing — including "Black Hole", which appeared on Lindsay Lohan's album, A Little More Personal (Raw). Clarkson refused the offer, and stated that:
|“||I am a good singer, so I can't possibly be a good writer. Women can't possibly be good at two things. I haven't lost my temper about it. It only drives me more. If your thing is to bring me down, cool. I'll just work harder.||”|
Reba McEntire responded to the situation in the same magazine issue, praising Clarkson:
|“||Back in the day, female artists were told to perform and then go sit in the corner. Thank God for people like Dolly Parton who took charge. Kelly is the same way. She knows what she wants. She's had a rough go of it in the music business. People think she just won Idol and everything else was easy. Not so. She's had to fight.||”|
|“||I'm going to be real honest with you: I am not a fan. I do respect him [Clive Davis], but I don't want to barbecue with him. We don't braid each other's hair. And despite the rumors, he is nowhere near a father figure.||”|
Although American Idol judge Simon Cowell had sided with Clarkson earlier, it seemed he begun to grow weary of the controversy, as he was quoted saying:
|“||Kiss and make up, decide what's best, get on with it! Clive Davis, at 80, is better than 99 per cent of the people in the music business in their 20s, 30s and 40s. And he's not 80, he's less than 80. Kelly is one of the best and she always will be, but Clive is the boss of the record company. It's his job to advise."||”|
A few weeks after the release of My December, Clarkson publicly stated that all of the controversy regarding her "feud" with her label has been "blown way out of proportion". In a statement on her website, Clarkson stated:
|“||There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the release of My December, much of which has focused on a supposed feud with my record label, in particular, Clive Davis. I want to set the record straight on this by saying that I want my band, my advisors, those close to me and my record label to be one big, tightly- knit family. Like any family we will disagree and argue sometimes but, in the end, it's respect and admiration that will keep us together. A lot has been made in the press about my relationship with Clive. Much of this has been blown way out of proportion and taken out of context. Contrary to recent characterizations in the press, I'm well aware that Clive is one of the great record men of all time. He has been a key advisor and has been an important force in my success to date. He has also given me respect by releasing my new album when he was not obligated to do so. I really regret how this has turned out and I apologize to those whom I have done disservice. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. I love music, and I love the people I am blessed to work with. I am happy that my team is behind me and I look forward to the future||”|
Some[who?] felt that Clarkson was shunned by Davis during his appearance on the finale show of American Idol season 6, when he proceeded to promote other Idol contestants' current singles or albums, but failed to mention Clarkson's upcoming My December album, or its first single "Never Again", and furthermore went out of his way to praise professional songwriters such as those who had written "Breakaway" and "Since U Been Gone". He did, however, briefly mention that Clarkson had sold over 15 million albums worldwide to date, when discussing the current state of Idol sales.
In addition, Clarkson claimed that she was pressured by her record label to sing "Never Again" at the charity event Idol Gives Back to promote the song, saying:
|“||My label wanted me to sing "Never Again", and I was like, to promote yourself on a charity event is beyond crass. People are starving and dying and I'm up there singing some bitter pop song? And believe me, everyone wanted me to sing it. Because they are jaded and they have no soul. Imagine sitting in a room full of people totally against you. Can't they hear themselves speaking? Capitalize on AIDS? Are you kidding? Insulting an entire nation of people? I just refused.||”|
Instead, Clarkson sang Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain" at the Idol Gives Back special, getting a standing ovation, and saved "Never Again" for her appearance on the season finale show.
Release and promotion
Clarkson had stated on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that the release date for My December had been pushed up, in an effort to allow fans to become familiar with the album before its upcoming promotional tour. The tour was then cancelled on June 14, 2007, with low ticket sales being acknowledged and Clarkson noting that it was "too much too soon". Clarkson rescheduled her tour to the fall of 2007 and performed in smaller venues than originally planned.
The album had been put up for pre-order on iTunes on June 12, including an offer from Ticketmaster for preferred seating to the upcoming tour. However, the offer was removed after the tour was cancelled. The album itself remained available for pre-order. A deluxe edition was also released with extra songs and a making of the album video.
My December Tour
Clarkson announced on her website that the My December Tour would start on July 11, 2007 in Portland, Oregon. The tour had 37 dates across the U.S. and Canada. Mat Kearney was scheduled to open for her and another possible special guest may have accompanied her.
"Ticket sales have not been what we anticipated and we came to the realization that we had bit off more than we could chew. In the end, we are in the Kelly Clarkson business and for that reason we believe that this decision will only benefit her and her fans in the long run."
Clarkson posted a response on her official website promising a new tour would happen:
"I promise you that we're going to get back out there as soon as is humanly possible to give you a show that will be even better."
A new My December Tour for Fall 2007 in North America was announced on September 4, 2007 in Billboard.com. Clarkson was scheduled to play 26 dates in 3,000-to-7,500 seat theatres rather than the previously scheduled arenas. The twenty city tour began in Verona, New York on October 10, 2007 and finished in Nashville, Tennessee on December 3, 2007.
"Never Again" was released as the first worldwide single from My December. Clarkson confirmed its release on her official website on April 4, 2007 and debuted the song on Los Angeles' 102.7 KIIS-FM's radio show On-Air with Ryan Seacrest on April 13, 2007. The song was released on the iTunes Store on April 20, 2007 and was made permanently available for sale on April 24, 2007. It debuted and peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, but unlike her previous singles, it encountered radio resistance. Despite its poor radio airplay, the song logged an impressive number of over 100,000 paid digital downloads in its first week on the charts. As of May 2010, the song has sold over one million digital downloads. Clarkson confirmed "Sober" as the second single from My December on her journal in the Official Kelly Clarkson Fan Club. The song was released to airwaves on June 6, 2007. Industry experts stated that "Sober" was a crucial single for Clarkson, as the lead single from My December, "Never Again", charted well due to strong digital downloads but encountered radio airplay resistance in a number of U.S. markets, especially when compared to the radio success of all five of her singles from her previous album Breakaway. "Never Again" had been descending in radio airplay after failing to break the top 20 on the Pop format, and therefore was one reason why "Sober" was released so soon after "Never Again" (just over five weeks later, and three weeks before the release of the album). Whether radio accepted "Sober" was considered key in determining the sales potential of My December. After the failure of the song (Clarkson's least successful single in the U.S. to date), sales of the My December album in the U.S. largely ceased, and no further U.S. singles from the album were released. However, in an interview with Nashville radio station 107.5 The River, Clarkson said that she released "Sober" so early because she wanted to show the diversity of music in My December. In July 2007, "Sober" was a highlight of Clarkson's five-song set at Live Earth at Giants Stadium, with the audience audibly applauding her vocal line during the song's climax near the end. It has also been considered as a fan favorite from the album. "Sober" did have a featured spot in Clarkson's My December Tour, being played at the start of the encores and receiving a strong audience response. No music video was made for the song. "One Minute" managed to gain airplay in Australia, which led the label to officially release it as the second single there. A CD single was released on September 22, 2007. However, it ultimately failed to make a major dent in Australia, debuting at number 36 on the charts before quickly exiting. "Don't Waste Your Time" was released as the third and final single. It was released in several European countries via iTunes in November 2007. It was released as a CD single in Germany in December 2007. It was also released in Australia in February 2008. A music video was released to promote the song and combined real-life images and computer animated graphics.
|The Boston Globe||(mixed)|
The first single, "Never Again", was released on April 13, 2007 in the U.S., and despite debuting in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to strong digital sales, it never achieved substantial airplay and was pulled from many stations only a couple of weeks following its release. Otherwise, the album opened successfully; its opening week sales comparable to those of Clarkson's first two albums. It was suggested that so much controversy would have hindered the sales of Clarkson's then-new album. M. Tye Corner of AOL Music had opined early on that the controversy could "affect sales a bit in the first few weeks and when the record c[ame] out." In spite of the controversy surrounding My December, the album garnered fairly positive reviews from music professionals and critics. The album scored 64/100 on Metacritic, indicating generally positive reviews. Slant Magazine reviewed My December mostly positive, with the album receiving a 3.5/5 star review. An excerpt from the review, in response to the disappointing performance of "Never Again", read: "But who cares about hits—or appeasing the kids—when the songs are this good?" The Times wrote: "Clarkson has the moxie to rock without worrying about what anybody else thinks... Her gift is finding the source of vitality in absolute mainstream, people-pleasing pop, which by its nature breaks stylistic rules in favor of magpie mash-ups, bold appropriations and happy accidents."
AllMusic, however, gave a more lukewarm review, giving it 3/5 stars, saying: "It's what Kelly wanted to do, so on that level it's a success, and one that listeners who share her viewpoint (and quite likely her age) will respond to but for everybody else, My December is a disappointment." Commenting on Clarkson's feud with her record label, they also claimed: "My December proves that both camps were correct: Davis is correct that there are no big crossover hits here, yet it's also true that this is an artistic move that Clarkson needed to make. If left up to Davis, she would simply be another vocalist singing professional product." Rolling Stone, giving a similar lukewarm review, wrote: "Clarkson clobbers you over the head with her emotions and arena-ready choruses. The result is a record that's bland in some spots and annoying in others."
My December, in its debut, not only was one of the best selling albums of the week, but sold faster than Clarkson's previous album, Breakaway (which peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart). The album debuted at number two in the United States with sales of approximately 291,000 copies — a mere 6,000 copies less than Clarkson's debut hit Thankful sold in its first week. It came behind Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, which sold about 326,000 copies that week.
The album also debuted at number two in the United Kingdom, selling 40,509 copies in its first week. The album eventually fell to number nine in its second week, and number twenty in its third week.
My December was certified platinum in the United States by the RIAA on the December 12, 2007. The album made it to number 66 on the U.S. albums year-end-chart of 2007, while Clarkson herself was the sixty-third top selling artist of the year in the United States.
As of September 2017, the album has sold 858,000 copies in the United States.
|My December – Standard edition|
|5.||"Don't Waste Your Time"||3:36|
|10.||"How I Feel"||3:41|
|12.||"Can I Have a Kiss"||3:32|
|13.||"Irvine" (includes hidden track "Chivas")||8:45|
|My December – iTunes Store edition (bonus tracks)|
|14.||"Dirty Little Secret"||3:34|
|15.||"Never Again" (Dave Audé Radio Remix)||4:11|
|16.||"Never Again" (Dave Audé Club Mix)||7:55|
|My December – Japanese edition|
Adapted from AllMusic.
- Chapman Baehler – photography
- Joe Barresi – engineer
- Rob Bril – additional drum programming
- Jeff Carney – double bass
- Kelly Clarkson – executive producer, main artist
- Cenovia Cummings – violin
- Aben Eubanks – guitar, keys, lap steel
- Erik Friedlander – cello
- Rachel Goodwin – makeup
- Jason Halbert – co-producer, keys, musician
- Joyce Hammann – violin
- Aaron Heick – alto saxophone
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
- David Kahne – engineer, keys, producer, programming
- Brett Kilroe – art direction, design
- Jeff Kwatinetz – executive producer, manager
- Andy Laster – barritone saxophone
- Campbell McAuley – hair
- Jimmy Messer – additional engineer, bass guitar, co-producer, guitar, keys
- Lori Miller – violin
- Billy Mohler – bass guitar
- Chris Owens – assistant engineer
- Shawn Pelton – drums
- Mick Rossi – conductor and additional orchestrations, orchestra arrangements and orchestrations
- Mike Scielzi – assistant mix engineer
- Sara Seiver – cello
- Roger Shell – cello
- Antoine Silverman – violin
- Andrew Sterman – conductor, tenor saxophone
- David Siskovic – additional beats
- Jennifer Sousa – A&R coordination
- Wendy Sutter – cello
- Hiroko Taguchi – violin
- Entcho Todorov – violin
- Emma Trask – styling
- Andy Wallace – mixing
- Mike Watt – bass guitar
- Paul Woodiel – violin
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||4|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||8|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||23|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||62|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||2|
|Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)||33|
|Danish Albums (Tracklisten)||17|
|Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)||7|
|Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)||19|
|French Albums (SNEP) ||180|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||5|
|Greek Albums (IFPI)||16|
|Irish Albums (IRMA)||2|
|Japanese Albums Oricon||42|
|Mexican Albums (Top 100 Mexico)||27|
|New Zealand Albums (RIANZ)||8|
|Polish Albums (ZPAV)||39|
|Scottish Albums (OCC)||3|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||38|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||5|
|UK Albums (OCC)||2|
|US Billboard 200||2|
|U.S. Hot 100||U.S. Pop||CAN Hot 100||AUS||UK|
|"Don't Waste Your Time"||—||—||—||—||—|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|Brazil||June 22, 2007||Sony BMG||88697069002|||
|Australia||June 23, 2007||8869706902|||
|China||June 25, 2007||RCA||88697069002|||
|Japan||Sony BMG||BVCP 24121|||
|Canada||June 26, 2007|||
|Thailand||July 5, 2007||Sony BMG||N/A|||
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