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"Since U Been Gone" is the lead single from Kelly Clarkson's sophomore album Breakaway.

The song was released on November 16, 2004 by RCA Records.

Song BackgroundEdit

In an interview for Blender, Martin and Dr. Luke revealed that they had originally intended Pink to sing "Since U Been Gone", however, she turned it down.

Dr. Luke also explained that Hilary Duff's management was interested in the song but rejected it because Hilary couldn't reach the song's higher notes.

It was Clive Davis who convinced Martin and Dr. Luke to give the song to Kelly even though they were initially reluctant.

Davis said:

"Max was looking to move on from what he had done with Backstreet Boys, and I really spent time convincing them that an 'American Idol' winner could bring all the feeling and passion that was required to the song."

According to MTV, Kelly had already finished recording her materials for her second album "Breakaway" in late 2004 when she was advised by her A&R to fly to Sweden to meet with Martin and Dr. Luke.

Both Martin and Dr. Luke were associated with pop music but they wanted to produce rock songs.

Realizing that her record was more into the rock, Kelly finally agreed to collaborate with them.

In an interview with Billboard, Dr. Luke explained the genesis of "Since U Been Gone", saying:

"That was a conscious move by Max and myself, because we were listening to alternative and indie music and talking about some song – I don't remember what it was. I said, 'Ah, I love this song,' and Max was like, 'If they would just write a damn pop chorus on it!' It was driving him nuts, because that indie song was sort of on six, going to seven, going to eight, the chorus comes . . . and it goes back down to five. It drove him crazy. And when he said that, it was like, light bulb. 'Why don't we do that, but put a big chorus on it?' It worked."

"Since U Been Gone" was the last track that Kelly recorded for the "Breakaway" album. The song was recorded in Sweden.

At first, she was not fully convinced at the prospect of recording the song saying:

"It didn't have any lyrics and the melody really wasn't finalized [...] the track was done on a computer, there was no band on it. My record label was freaking out about it and I was, like, why?"

Kelly also explained that when she first heard "Since U Been Gone," she felt that it sounded a little bit pop for her direction and she decided to tweak the song musically by incorporating drums and guitars.

Kelly told MTV that the song is about a relationship turned sour although it was going well at the very beginning.

The song was officially released to mainstream radio stations in the United States on November 16, 2004 as the lead single of "Breakaway."

Song CompositionEdit

"Since U Been Gone" was written and produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke.

The song (which is set in common time with a moderate tempo of 132 beats per minute) is written in the key of G major.

Popdose staff noted that the song contains "electronics-enhanced sheen" which infuses an appropriate dichotomy between the loud and soft sound of alternative-rock.

The song also incorporates ringing guitars with plaintive lyrics and a huge chorus.

It has a chord progression of AM–EM–F and Kelly's vocal range in the song spans two octaves from the low note of G3 to the high note of G5.

Film Laureate of Blogcritics praised "Since U Been Gone" for its "high energy, vocally powered, pop/rock jam with a hook that is infectious."

The same opinion was echoed by Entertainment Weekly staff who thought that the song highlighted Kelly's "sublime" vocals and praised the song for its "addictive" hook.

Dave Donnelly of Sputnikmusic compared the musical arrangements of "Since U Been Gone" to Kelly's song "Behind These Hazel Eyes."

He opined that the two songs allow the melodies to represent themselves because the tight musical arrangements complement Kelly's vocals.

The song's narrative is in first person, from the point of view of a woman who is relieved with the end of her relationship.

Steve Lampiris of ZME Music lauded Kelly's vocals as the heart of the song.

He praised the way Kelly sings the chorus, which implies that she was the one who ended the relationship. He also thought that the line "I can breathe for the first time/ I’m so moving on, yeah yeah" was believable "that either her ex is a total prick or she's deserves [sic] an Oscar nom."

In an interview with Dan Snierson of Entertainment Weekly, it was noted that Kelly sang: "So together but so broken up inside/ 'Cause I can't breathe" in "Behind These Hazel Eyes" but in "Since U Been Gone", she sang "But since you been gone/ I can breathe for the first time."

When asked whether she was a bipolar asthmatic, Kelly responded that "Behind These Hazel Eyes" is about a dipstick who is unhappy because she has completely screwed up and "Since U Been Gone" is an expression of relief because her ex is now miserable.

Music VideoEdit

The music video for "Since U Been Gone" was directed by Alex De Rakoff in early November 2004.

Kelly told MTV that she conceived the idea of the video after assuming that revenge is what every girl wants to do when their boyfriend cheats on them.

She added:

"You know, 'Why don't I just go trash her house? [...] And so I do it in the video. All I do is break stuff. It's a cool job. I could get used to this."

Kelly expressed that in the music video, viewers would get to see her act out of character.

She explained:

"In the beginning, I'm like tipping things over and smearing mud all over the walls and it seems like my apartment, but it ends up being the other girl's that he's with, so it's a humorous video."

The music video premiered on Total Request Live on November 16, 2004.

Video SynopsisEdit

The music video begins with Kelly sitting on a couch in an apartment's living room, holding a heart-shaped locket in her hand.

The next scene shows her in the bathroom where she fixes her face in the mirror, she opens the medicine cabinet and tossing all the pills in the medicine cabinet over her shoulder and messing all the bathroom items on the floor, squirting the toothpaste into the sink.

When Kelly gets to a container of birth control pills, she turns on the water in the sink, snaps the pills out and drops them down the drain.

Kelly then starts to take other items; she throws a container of makeup powder spray in the air and smears a container of facial mud mask on the wall.

During the chorus, she and her band perform the song for a dancing crowd in a club.

After the first chorus, Kelly walks into a room full of closets. She cuts up dresses, rifling through the closets and pulling out clothes, destroying her clothes and singing in a pile of them.

After the second chorus, she walks into a bedroom and begins to tear the pillow on the bed, filling the room with feathers.

The scenes of Kelly singing with her band then alternate with a montage of her destroying the apartment, breaks the glass window from the door, breaks the vase, television, clock, fridge, lights, furniture and the chair.

Later, Kelly takes a framed photo of her ex-boyfriend with another girl in the living room, before pushing a tall CD rack over. She then smashes the framed photo through a glass table, breaking it in half.

Having decimated the apartment, she walks out the door and down the hallway with a hat on her head, just as her ex-boyfriend appears with his girlfriend, walking arm in arm.

Kelly hides her face as she walks away from them. The final scene shows the couple seeing their damaged apartment in shock and the scene of the locket swinging.

Video ReceptionEdit

Stephen Thompson of NPR Music was disappointed with the music video because it "undercuts its message to an alarming degree: The words say 'Since you've been gone / I can breathe for the first time,' but the pictures say, 'Breaking up with you necessitates destroying all of your property."

Video AccoladesEdit

At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, the music video received nominations for three awards; it won "Best Female Video" and "Best Pop Video" & received a nomination for the Viewer's Choice Awards but lost to Green Day's song "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

MusicOMH ranked the music video as the 86th best video of the last decade.

In February of 2012, the music video received a Pop-Up Video treatment by VH1 which shows "pops up" bubbles containing trivia, witticisms and borderline sexual innuendos throughout the video.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Since U Been Gone" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number seventy for the week ending December 18, 2004.

On its second week, the song moved to number fifty-three, before jumping to number thirty-eight the following week.

During the week ending April 9, 2005, "Since U Been Gone" ascended to a new peak of number two on the Billboard Hot 100, second to 50 Cent's "Candy Shop."

This made "Since U Been Gone" the first pop song by a solo female artist to reach the top two chart positions in 2005.

It also became the first non-R&B/hip hop song by a solo female artist to reach top two on the chart since Christina Aguilera's song "Beautiful" hit number two in February of 2003.

Fred Bronson of Billboard noted that had "Since U Been Gone" moved to number one, it would become the 41st chart-topper for the American Idol franchise.

The song stayed in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 for twenty weeks.

After the week ending March 26, 2005, the song topped the US Pop 100 for six consecutive weeks, through the week ending March 26, 2005. It also spent seven consecutive weeks at number one on the US Pop Songs.

On the Billboard's Radio Songs chart, the song peaked at number four on April 23, 2005.

"Since U Been Gone" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on January 25, 2006.

As of January of 2014, "Since U Been Gone" has sold 2,736,000 paid digital downloads.

Critical ReceptionEdit

The song received universal critical acclaim.

In his review for "Breakaway," Stephen Thomas Erlewine of MSN considered "Since U Been Gone", "Walk Away" and "You Found Me" as the spine of the album. He added that the songs sound mainstream and youthful.

Rohin of Blogcritics gave a positive response to the song, emphasizing that "it is almost one of the best pieces of throwaway pop in recent history."

He also thought that the song represents a song "that you can roll down the windows of your car and proudly headbang your way through a yellow light somewhere on a suburban side street."

Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine thought that Kelly did a good impression of Pat Benatar in "Since U Been Gone."

He concluded his review by emphasizing that" Breakaway" proves that she has successfully dodged the sophomore slump but "Since U Been Gone" helped her establish her success.

The staff of Slant magazine later ranked "Since U Been Gone" at number thirteen in their list of Best Singles of the Aughts, writing that the song proves Kelly's powerful ability as a vocalist as well as her versatility as an artist.

Stephen Thompson of NPR Music called the song as "one of the decade's finest pop anthems" which is infused with energy, charisma and full-throated intensity.

Steve Lampiris of ZME Music opined that the song is "one of very few perfect pop songs released in the last ten years," stating that it is hard to determine the principal reason that makes the song very successful.

Gary Trust of Billboard thought that "Since U Been Gone" is a defining song of the 2000s.

He commented on its status as a blueprint for female pop songs, as seen in song productions by artists such as Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Pink.

AccoladesEdit

At the 48th Grammy Awards, "Since U Been Gone" won the category of "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance."

At the 2005 Teen Choice Awards, the song won the category of "Choice Single."

It also won the award for Best Pop Sing-Along Song at the 2005 XM Nation Music Awards.

The song received a nomination in the category of "Song of the Year: Mainstream Hit Radio" at the 2005 Radio Music Awards, but it lost to Mariah Carey's song "We Belong Together."

At the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, the song received nominations for two awards.

It received a nomination for the "Hot 100 Single of the Year," but lost to Mariah Carey's song "We Belong Together" and for the "Digital Song of the Year," but lost to Gwen Stefani's song "Hollaback Girl."

Live PerformancesEdit

Kelly performed "Since U Been Gone" at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.

Her performance garnered positive reviews from critics, who considered it one of the highlights in the event

Performing barefoot, she sang the song as rain cascaded onto the audience.

Kelly told People that one of her favourite moments on television was performing "Since U Been Gone" at the MTV Video Music Awards, saying:

"I hate being all dressed up, so the fact that I was soaking wet with mascara smeared all over my face was definitely the highlight of my evening!"

Becky Bain of Idolator thought that the performance was Kelly most memorable live performances while Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times thought her performance was very solid despite the feeling that she sounded better dry than drenched.

Kelly performed the song on Saturday Night Live in 2005, along with the 2006 BRIT Awards which took place in Earls Court, London.

"Since U Been Gone" was performed by Kelly in her many headlining tours. It was included in the setlist of her My December Tour as an encore.

While performing at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, Kelly performed "Since U Been Gone" and let the audience sing the song's chorus.

Her performance of the song at the Beacon Theatre, New York City stirred crowd into a frenzy, causing the show to be closed abruptly.

During her All I Ever Wanted Tour, she performed the song at the Hammerstein Ballroom where Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone remarked that "the room turned into an electric sea of flailing arms and pogo-ing heads."

In 2011, she performed "Since U Been Gone" as well as "Mr. Know It All" on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" while promoting her fifth album Stronger.

At the VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul television special, Kelly performed a medley of "You Keep Me Hangin' On", "Spotlight", "Real Love" and "Since U Been Gone" with Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson.

The song was also performed by Kelly during her 2012 Stronger Tour.

While touring at the Times Union Center, Albany, New York, Kelly performed the song with a musical arrangement.

Grey Haymes of Times Union remarked that the song was "re-made and re-modeled with a throbbing, fuzzed-out bassline and an irresistible techno pulse as the foundation for her hook-filled pop song."

He also added that it was one of the several surprises from the concert.

Song LegacyEdit

As of 2014, the song has appeared in more than 40 different albums either remixed or in its original format.

It propelled Kelly to success in mainstream pop music and was regarded as a pop rock milestone in the 2000s.

Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying:

"Can anyone do bitter better? Nothing packs more romantic rage than the original Idol's 2004 kiss-off to a coldhearted ex."

The song was ranked by Pitchfork Media as the 21st best track of the 2000s; they wrote that:

"Since U Been Gone gave us one of the most blunt rallying cries of the last ten years, a perfectly realized sing-along chorus that will be a karaoke staple for years."

Bill Lamb of About.com ranked the song as the 13th best pop song of all time, expressing that:

"Kelly Clarkson has stated that she insisted on adding the rock feel to the recording. The result was a record that captured the prevailing sound of mainstream pop with near perfection."

NME placed it at number 135 on its list of the "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years", writing:

"What should have been a slice of American schlock power-pop turned into a brilliant kiss-off, in any genre."

The A.V. Club staff rated the song as one of their favorite gleeful breakup songs, writing:

"The minute that bass and drum machine start, this song is an anthem of the scorned, a call to self-actualization, and an instant hands-in-the-air dance party."

Rolling Stone ranked "Since U Been Gone" at number 482 of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010 whose readers listed it as the ninth-ranked single of the last decade.

The AOL Radio Staff put the song at number 10 on their list of "10 Best Break Up Songs."

The song also appeared at number one in Sarah Muller of MTV's "Valentine's Day Playlist: Top 10 Breakup Songs."

On March 5, 2013, Billboard ranked the song at number one on its list of "Top 100 American Idol Hits of All Time."

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