Thankful

At last! More than six months after single "A Moment Like This/Before Your Love" topped the Hot 100, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's debut set sees the light of day.

At last! More than six months after single "A Moment Like This/Before Your Love" topped the Hot 100, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's debut set sees the light of day. The 12-song Thankful does just what it needs to, riding the melodic edge between her appreciable diva range and songs hip enough to appeal to the 21-year-old's peers. New single "Miss Independent," written with Christina Aguilera, is an ideal example, allowing Clarkson to pump some power through those potent pipes while playfully waving her finger with attitude. She tackles pop, gospel, and R&B here, succeeding to varying degrees, but there's plenty to thrill the masses, in particular will-be hits "Beautiful Disaster" and—undeniably the finest moment—the explosive ballad "Anytime," the kind of tour de force that earned Clarkson her crown. There's a lot of love for all things American Idol right now; the outlook for Thankful is platinum-plated.—CT