We're almost to the end of the Max Martin special, but not before detailing his resurgence. By 2004, the typical teen pop sound was out. Pop music was majorly impacted by either r&b or rock influences. The latter came about largely through Avril Lavigne, and then you would get nearly every young female singer trying for a similar sound.
Kelly Clarkson wanted to rock. As the winner of the first season of American Idol, she had to deal with the stigma of being considered a non-versatile, uncool singer, whose career would fade and be limited to cheesy ballads. Although I like those cheesy ballads, that's not what happened. Her debut album was very successful in the U.S., not so much elsewhere. When it came time for her sophomore effort, her label reached out to Max Martin.
By this time, Max was making the rock/teen pop fusion in earnest. He had a new collaborator, Lukask "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, and they would write and produce the songs. One of the last songs submitted for Kelly's album was "Since U Been Gone". The original arrangement was more poppy, but Kelly herself insisted on adding more guitars. Max and Luke were pleasantly surprised, and they went on with creating what would become one of the biggest singles of 2005. They also collaborated with Kelly to co-write "Behind These Hazel Eyes", another hit single off the album. Originally, the lyrics were completely different, but were rewritten shortly before the album's American release in November 2004 (BTW, i've posted the first, U.S. cover, back when she had brown hair...I wish she'd go back to that. She's beautiful, but I think the blonde makes her look washed out.) when her boyfriend dumped her for his ex-girlfriend. With these songs, Kelly managed to finally become huge all over the world!
Since U Been Gone (Rock Da Radio) - Kick-ass dance remix by Jason Nevins. This mix incorporates the guitar riffs of the original into it, unlike the regular Nevins mix that uses more synths. Since U Been Gone (VH1 Acoustic) - Gives a totally new spin on the song, but I think it works. This is a live, laid back performance that has a lot of feeling, and also some vocal changeups. Since U Been Gone (Unreal Booty Babes Remix) - Not completely sure of the origin of this, but sounds a lot like Benny Benassi ("Satisfaction" of Wendy's commercial fame). I think this remix was rejected by Kelly's label, and then a group called the "Booty Babes" re-recorded it as a cover that has actually done quite well in Scandinavia. Since U Been Gone (Select Mix) - Basically an extended version of the original. The more the better, right? :P Behind These Hazel Eyes (Ultimix) - This remix was done by Joe Bermudez and Josh Harris. This is probably what the album version would have sounded like had it been recorded five or six years ago. It has a more pop, beat-oriented production that makes it sound like a really good early Britney track. Click here to see a new version of the music video edited to a short version of this remix (.mov file). Behind These Hazel Eyes (Wolf Radio Mix) - In my opinion, this is the best of all the dance remixes to this song. I believe it's unofficial, but it's great. It reminds me of early-mid '90s dance music like Real McCoy, which always made me giddy. Behind These Hazel Eyes (Dane-E Remix) - Total German/Euro remix along the lines of Cascada. I love that, so this is good. It's basically along the same lines as "Everytime We Touch" - first verse, huge chorus, the pumping reprise of beats doing the same thing. I don't know how to describe it, but if you've heard that song you'll see the similarities. It sounds like it was ripped from vinyl; i'm sorry. Behind These Hazel Eyes (Ruff Draft Remix) - I guess this is supposed to be a hip-hop remix? I don't know, I like it. There aren't any actual rappers in it, though there's a dude occassionally yelling between the verse and chorus, but it's not distracting. The beats work.
P.S. If anybody knows where I can get a high quality (not radio rip) copy of the Mynt Remixof BTHE I would love you forever, and then share on the blog!
My next post will finish the whole shebang, with all the 2005 output and a look into the future. Enjoy!