Album Review: Kelly Clarkson
Some pundits would have you believe that, having scared off the fans with 2007s dark 'My December, All I Ever Wanted' is the sound of Kelly Clarkson scuttling back to pop, tail between her legs.
There's no denying this album is something of a creative compromise for the singer she has a writing credit on only half the tracks here and has to suffer the indignity of singing two (admittedly great) Katy Perry rejects. But sonically, this 'return to form' is not hugely different to 'My December', which was in itself a great pop album with plenty of potential hits, only hobbled by the indifference of a record company that stopped promoting it after one single.
You will have heard lead single 'My Life Would Suck Without You', aka 'Since You Been Gone pt. 2', by now: it's a facsimile of Clarkson's own earlier hit, but a successful one. It helps that she's re-teamed with the winning combo of Max Martin and Dr. Luke, two music supremos who know their way around an anthemic chorus.
Copycat songs are rife here, with Clarkson pilfering from both her contemporaries and her own previous hits. 'Don't Let My Stop You' bears a striking similarity to the stadium rock of Clarkson's own 'Behind These Hazel Eyes'.
Ryan Tedder proves he's a keen recycler by barely rewriting Beyonce's 'Halo' for 'Already Gone' (both songs even start with the same word, "remember", adding to the sense of deja vu), while the enjoyably bratty 'If I Can't Have You' sounds almost identical to Miley Cyrus's recent single, 'Fly On The Wall'.
While all this soundalike action is somewhat lazy, the songs themselves are without fault. Almost every single one of the 14 tracks here could be a single, from the 1960's girl group sound of 'I Want You' to the booming, synth-heavy 'Impossible' to the slow-burning, lighters-aloft ballad 'Save You'.
Compromise rarely sounded this good.
Kelly Clarkson:All I Ever Wanted is out now on Sony