My December (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
My December is the third studio album by American pop rock singer Kelly Clarkson. The album was released on June 22, 2007 throughout most of Europe (such as Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands), on June 23, 2007 in Australia, 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 U.S 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.
My December was released on June 26, 2007 in North America. In numerous interviews and press releases, the release date for My December had been stated as July 24, 2007.
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.
Internationally, the album was released on June 23, 2007 in Australia and June 25, 2007 in the U.K.
Clarkson began writing and composing songs for My December during her international Breakaway World Tour. In an interview, Clarkson was quoted:
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", telling of when she was in Irvine, California. "Irvine" would be later used in the season five premiere episode of One Tree Hill entitled "4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days".
Conflict with record label
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 has stated multiple times that she recognizes that My December may not rival the showstopping sales of Breakaway. However, she compares it 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:
Idol judge, Simon Cowell, commented on the situation in issue of Entertainment Weekly, saying:
The controversy fell quiet for a brief stint, but resumed when Clarkson cancelled her tour for My December and fired her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz. Interestingly, Jeff Kwatinetz had defended My December to Clarkson's label, saying:
Narvel Blackstock, Reba McEntire's husband, has since been 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 dollars 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:
Reba McEntire responded to the situation in the same issue, praising Clarkson:
Further articles displaying Clarkson "downplaying" her label were written. In an edition of USA Weekend, Clarkson stated:
Although American Idol judge Simon Cowell had sided with Clarkson earlier, it seemed he begun to grow sick of the controversy as he was quoted saying,
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:
Some 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, she claims that she was pressured by the label to sing "Never Again" at the charity event Idol Gives Back to promote the song, saying,
Instead, Clarkson sang Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" at the Idol Gives Back special, getting a standing ovation, and saved "Never Again" for her appearance on the season finale show.
The first single, "Never Again", was released on April 13 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. In spite of its uncommercial nature, its opening week sales were comparable to those of Clarkson's first two albums.
Many fans reacted positively to the preview of the album. On sites like Clarkson's official website, AOL, iTunes and Rolling Stone, customer reviews currently average 4 out of 5 stars.
In spite of all the controversy surrounding My December, the album has garnered fairly positive reviews from professionals and critics as well.
Slant Magazine reviewed My December mostly positive, with the album receiving a 3.5/5 star review, equivalent to the score given to Breakaway. An excerpt from the review, in response to the disappointing performance of "Never Again", reads, "But who cares about hits"or appeasing the kids"when the songs are this good?"
The Times writes: "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 the record label, they also claim, "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, writes, "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." However, Rolling Stone praised the album for tracks such as "How I Feel", "Irvine" and "Yeah", noting that Clarkson may have another "'Since U Been Gone' in her yet".
It was suggested that so much controversy could hinder the sales of Clarkson's new album. M. Tye Corner of AOL music says that so much controversy could "affect sales a bit in the first few weeks and when the record comes out," but he thinks that Clarkson will still "come out on the top."
The album scored 64/100 on Metacritic indicating generally positive reviews. Clarkson's debut album, Thankful, scored 62/100. Reviews for Breakaway were not compiled on the site. Her fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, scored 70/100.
"Chivas" (hidden track, starts 5 minutes and 18 seconds into "Irvine") - 3:32
iTunes bonus tracks
Japanese release bonus track
Note: The version containing this song was released on July 25, 2007.
Credits and personnel
Chapman Baehler - Photography
Dwight Baker - Composer
Joe Barresi - Engineer
Rob Bril - Additional Drum Programming
Jeff Carney - Double Bass
Kelly Clarkson - Composer, Executive Producer
Cenovia Cummings - Violin
Kara DioGuardi - Composer
Aben Eubanks - Composer, Guitar, Keys, Lap Steel
Erik Friedlander - Cello
Rachel Goodwin - Makeup
Jason Halbert - Composer, Co-Producer, Keys, Musician
Joyce Hammann - Violin
Aaron Heick - Alto Saxophone
Bob Ludwig - Mastering
David Kahn - Engineer, Keys, Producer, Programming
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). The album debuted at number two in the U.S. 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 debuted at number two in the U.K. selling 40,509 copies, eventually falling to number nine in its second week, and number twenty in its third week.
The album was certified platinum in the United States by RIAA on the 12 December 2007. My December, made it to number 66 on the album year-end-chart of 2007, while Clarkson was the sixty-third top selling artist of the year.
The album debuted and peaked at number four on the Australian ARIA Charts, falling off the Top 20 in five weeks. It fell off the charts after eighteen weeks.
Charts and certifications
Australian Albums Chart
Austrian Albums Chart
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)
Canadian Albums Chart
Czech Albums Chart
Danish Albums Chart
Dutch Albums Chart
Estonian Album Chart
Finnish Albums Chart
French Albums Chart
German Albums Chart
Greek Albums Chart
Irish Albums Chart
Japanese Album Chart
Mexican Albums Chart
New Zealand Albums Chart
Polish Albums Chart
Swedish Albums Chart
Swiss Albums Chart
Taiwanese Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
US Billboard 200
June 22, 2007
June 22, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 25, 2007
June 26, 2007
CD, digital download
July 5, 2007
"Never Again" was the first single from My December worldwide. 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 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 991,000 digital downloads. 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 state that "Sober" was a crucial single for Clarkson, as the lead single for 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 of 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" started gaining airplay in Australia which led the label to officially release it as the second single in Australia. A CD-single was released on September 22, 2007 in Australia. However, it ultimately failed to make a major dent on the charts, debuting at number 36 before quickly exiting the charts.
"Don't Waste Your Time"
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 released in Australia in February 2008. The music video combines real images and computer animated graphics.
U.S. Hot 100
CAN Hot 100
"Don't Waste Your Time"
My December tour
See My December Tour for more information
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.
However, on June 14, 2007, the tour was canceled. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino released a statement:
"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 and elsewhere, Clarkson was scheduled to play 26 dates in 3,000-to-7,500 seat theatres rather than the previous arenas. The twenty-tour city tour began in Verona, New York on October 10, 2007 and finished in Nashville, Tennessee on December 3, 2007.
When the second incarnation of the tour appeared on Ticketmaster, Jon McLaughlin was confirmed to be opening for Clarkson for the majority, if not all of her North America dates.