Because of You

because of you

Because of you, by Kelly Clarkson, is a song about her father and what her parents’ divorce has brought to her. Being classified into pop music, the song contains expressive emotions. It was released in 2004, included in Kelly’s second album Breakaway. She wrote the song when she was only 16 years old to cope with the emotional depressing due to her parents’ divorce. Kelly wanted to include this song in her first album Thankful, but was denied by her record label who thought it was not a good fit. The cover of the album is a self-portrait of Kelly, and there is not anything special about the photo. However, we can still see the distress from her facial expression and stretching hair movement. Because of you, is a typical sad song, which sounds really grieved and heartbreaking. Kelly herself also admitted that it is the most depressing song that she has ever written. The song always makes me feel sad and complicated every time I listen. It has a very simple and typical structure of pop music with refrain after verse each time.


“Because of you

I never stray too far from the sidewalk

Because of you

I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt

Because of you

I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me

Because of you

I am afraid”

The lyrics above are the refrain part of this song. “You”, in this case, refers to her parents’ divorce. To be more specific, it can also only mean her father, who irresponsibly left her and her mother. Because of the never-want-looking-back experience, Kelly has a traumatic childhood. She dares not to play wildly since she cannot afford any hurt anymore. Because the betrayal of most loved one, she loses the ability to trust others. You can feel the pain she has been endured directly from just reading the lyrics.

“I lose my way

And it’s not too long before you point it out

I cannot cry

Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes

I’m forced to fake

A smile, a laugh every day of my life

My heart can’t possibly break

When it wasn’t even whole to start with”

This is one of the three parts of revers, telling the detailed description and implication of what Kelly was going on her mind after the divorce. The frustration and pretense is obviously revealed and can be addressed immediately. Tellingly, the last line exposes the unspeakable pain barely. Her heart cannot break just because it is not complete in the first place. Is there anything else that is more painful than this?

Many people who have gone through parents’ divorce or grown up in single-parent family, find really connected when hearing the song. Although I don’t share this common experience, it is still one of my favorite songs and I do share some feeling in here. My father raised me in the way of raising a boy. He taught me to study, live, and think independently in the age when I was not even sure about what do all these words mean. I basically took care of everything myself, and I think independence is a great quality and personality so I feel thankful and grateful to my dad. However, on the other hand, I also kind of blame him for not receiving enough love or concern from parents when I was young. Also, because of the high invisible standard that my parents have set up deep in their heart, I am afraid of failing their expectation too. As a result, I have been influenced so much by my parents’ thought and decision. I value their words a lot and follow the step that they have paved for me. So when I heard this song for the first time, I somehow saw the reflection of myself and could not get rid of it ever since.



  1. Although I wouldn’t call myself a Kelly Clarkson fan, I do remember connecting to this song shortly after it was released. As a child of divorce, I felt as though this song encapsulated exactly what I was feeling after my parents got divorced. My whole world turned upside down and I was left struggling to make sense of everything. I can definitely understand how you connect to this song, although your parents aren’t divorced. It must’ve been hard to be a child and be so independent. Like you said though, you are now independent and independence is very important, especially for a college student. In the same way, I wouldn’t have what I consider to be some of my best characteristics if I didn’t experience hardship as well. Referencing one of Kelly Clarkson’s more recent songs, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

  2. Despite growing up in a single parent household I don’t relate to this song but I definitely see how some people might. I think this is a great song for children and teenagers struggling to make sense of their familial situations when they don’t align with the idealized typical nuclear family. Thanks for posting! I’m not a Clarkson fan but I always wondered who the “you” in this song referred to.

  3. I would have never guessed that her parents divorce was the purpose behind this song. I completely agree with you on how the line “My heart can’t possibly break, When it wasn’t even whole to start with” exposes the depth of the her pain and really hits me on an emotional level. That is what I find remarkable about her work on this song. It can be interpreted in many different ways, but for her is will always be about her father and her parents divorce. Same as you, I didn’t grow up in a single-parent household, but I still am able to connect with this song on a personal level. Great job analyzing her song!

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