A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this single describes exactly the type of romantic relationship that teens (and adults) should avoid, the CD it's on (All I Ever Wanted) actually sends a positive overall message. This tune's premise revolves around a girl who admits she and her guy are bad for each other ("I know that I've got issues / But you're pretty messed up, too"). But when he shows up on her doorstep yet again, she second-guesses herself ("Maybe I was stupid for telling you goodbye") and decides to take him back ("Being with you is so dysfunctional / I really shouldn't miss you / But I can't let you go").
What's the story?
After her last album, My December, earned less than rave reviews, Clarkson called on the same team (Dr. Luke and Max Martin) that produced her Grammy-winning hit, "Since U Been Gone," to produce "MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU." While the track's pop-rock flavor sounds a lot like vintage Clarkson, this is not the same well-balanced girl we heard tell her lame boyfriend to get lost in the early days. Instead, Clarkson gives her young fans a disappointing message about staying in unhealthy romantic relationships.
Is it any good?
In "My Life Would Suck Without You," Clarkson tries to capitalize on the old sound that made her ubiquitous -- catchy guitar chords, crescendos, and a rockin' refrain that shows off her powerhouse vocals. Trouble is, it's a little too similar-sounding to her old hits. Plus, this song doesn't offer the no-nonsense lyrics that encourage the singer's primary audience -- teen/tween girls -- to value themselves more than a bad relationship. Parents should make a point of telling kids who like this song that in the real world, the best relationships are the ones that build you up, not tear you down.
Better yet, consider listening to some of the other songs on All I Ever Wanted, because there are healthier messages to be heard.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the important role that self-esteem plays in romantic relationships. Why would you want to stay in a relationship that makes you feel bad about yourself? How should good partners treat each other? What steps can you take to end an unhealthy relationship?