Song 307: Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone” (2004)


Is there anybody who doesn’t like “Since U Been Gone?” If so, is that person (because surely there can’t be more than one) trustworthy? These are important questions, but they’re also rhetorical: everybody likes “Since U Been Gone,” except for people who cannot be trusted.

Am I kidding? I guess. But I genuinely can’t understand how anybody couldn’t like this song, even after nine years of it being everywhere. It’s just so liberating, so exciting, so fun. You’d expect a song called “Since U Been Gone” to be a ballad about how life is sad, sad, sad since you left me. All the skies are gray, all I do is sleep all the time, I go through the things we bought together and cry. (The “U” in the title is especially tricky, because it makes the song seem Prince-like, bringing to mind some sad songs with similar nomenclature.)

But no: “Since U Been Gone” is all about how great life is without you around, which is awesome. And Kelly Clarkson (still the only great American Idol winner) is made for this song, which needs a voice that can kick your ass. I remember thinking at the time the rock-and-dance arrangement of this song was really new. I don’t know if that’s true, but after all these years, it still sounds novel to hear Clarkson belt out a barnburner in front of a rock band (or whatever the producers actually assembled behind the scenes).

If you are the one person in the world who doesn’t like “Since U Been Gone,” I guess we can be friends. But it would involve lots of money, favors, and daily compliments about my good looks. Because, honestly, what kind of monster must you be?


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