Some would brand it a return to form, others would call it a retreat to safety. Kelly Clarkson's My Life Would Suck Without You was birthed out of one of biggest pop myths of the 2000s: the relative commercial failure of her third album My December, rumoured to have been brought about by her label boss Clive Davis after she went against his advice to stay in the same lane as her thunderously successful Breakaway album.
Whether that's true or not, Kelly's follow-up record, led by My Life Would Suck..., is essentially a retread of Breakaway's breezy, breathtaking trailer Since U Been Gone. If that sounds like a bad thing, it's not. My Life Would Suck... is Kelly in full-throtte power-pop-rock mode, aided by mega hitmakers Max Martin, Claude Kelly and Dr Luke. While few can touch Kelly vocally anyway, this is her at the very height of her powers.
Despite that, the song's gestation wasn't easy. Kelly was against releasing the track because of Dr Luke's involvement, saying her previous experience of working with him had been negative. After claiming her label wouldn't release her album if she didn't work with Dr Luke, she tweaked the lyrics to My Life Would Suck... until she was happy with it, but rejected a writing credit because she didn't want to be associated with Luke.
"I was like, 'I don't want my name near his. I want to pretend this didn't happen in my life, and I wanna forget it,'" she said in an interview with US radio station Z100. "I mean God, there's hundreds of thousands of dollars gone because of that. You know what I'm saying? Or millions, because that song was huge."
"I was making a point to the people working with me going, 'This is how much I didn't want to do this,'" she continued. "I don't care about the money... that's not what holds weight in my life." Kelly spoke out against Dr Luke in 2017 after Kesha launched legal action against him, claiming Luke had "sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused [Kesha] to the point where [she] nearly lost her life." Luke countersued shortly after and the case is ongoing.
This week in 2009, My Life Would Suck... debuted straight in at Number 1 (her first in the UK) with week 1 sales of 51,000. While its success essentially proved Clive Davis was right, the victory very much belonged to Kelly. The song's chart sales to date stand at 559,000, including 401,000 downloads. Listen to the Official Singles Chart Top 40 from this week in 2009 below:
Elsewhere on the Official Singles Chart that week, Kelly denied Taylor Swift her first Number 1 with Love Story, zooming from 22 to 2 and becoming her first hit single in the UK. Close behind Taylor was Lady Gaga's Poker Face, which had climbed 12 places to Number 3. Three weeks later it would become her second chart-topper.
Rounding out the Top 5 was T.I and Justin Timberlake's rap ballad Dead And Gone at 4, and the Number 1 from the previous week, Lily Allen's The Fear, at 5.