Kelly Clarkson Releases 'Thankful'

After listening to Thankful, it's hard to imagine any of 2003's American Idol contestants — including the two favorites, loverman Ruben Studdard and clenched, show tune-loving Clay Aiken, since both have taken one sound and driven it into the ground — being able to produce a record so versatile while sounding like it's all so easy. True, Thankful isn't a record that's earth-shaking, but in 2003 it is something special all the same: an unapologetically mainstream record that works and is very enjoyable. Maybe American Idol really does turn out pop stars.

Release of the album was preceded by the single "Miss Independent", which become a top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit and a #1 top 40 smash. In thanks to the success of the single, as well as buzz from her American Idol win (Clarkson also appeared several times on the show's second season to promote Thankful), the album sold well in the United States. It managed to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 with 297,000 copies sold. The album sold over 1 million copies in six weeks. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Thankful has sold 2,740,000 copies to date in the US.

Further single releases "Low" and "The Trouble with Love Is" did not replicate the success of the previous single. "Just Missed the Train" and "You Thought Wrong" had been planned for possible single releases, but after the underperformance of "Low" and "The Trouble with Love Is", they were canceled.