Clarkson wrote this song about emotional abuse and neglect of a troubled parent/s.when she was 16 years old in less than 25 minutes.
It briefly and pointedly describes about how Clarkson reacted to her parents divorcing when she was 6 years old. The song, she admits, has a depressing tone and yet has become an icon in popular music, as thanks to radio, there wouldn’t be many unfamiliar with the lyrics.
Perhaps it is relatable, touching a cord of sadness and also of hope that things will work out for the best. No one really enjoys conflict, least of all children.
Clarkson revealed the song, itself, was initially rejected by Sony record executive Clive Davis, who berated her when she presented it to him. She elaborates here:
“I cried because he hated it and told me verbatim that I was a ‘sh–ty writer who should be grateful for the gifts that he bestows upon me. He continued on about how the song didn’t rhyme and how I should just shut up and sing. This was devastating coming from a man who I, as a young girl, considered a musical hero and was so honoured to work with.”Kelly Clarkson
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.
Lyrics appear to be critical of her parent, presumably her father as her mother reportedly retreated to swallowing pills as a way to cope with the dysfunction. But there’s more to the song than first appears, as the video depicts a plot that centres on Kelly arguing with her partner as her child watches on. There follows a poignant moment when she realises history is repeating itself.
It is also interesting to note that Clarkson’s family did approve the video, prior to its release.
The video ends on a positive note.
Be it awareness or enlightenment, the lesson or message is that it is possible to break an intergenerational cycle of dysfunction in families.