RELEASE DATE: Oct. 28, 2008
WEB DEBUT: Oct. 15, 2008
ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: What would happen if Kelly Clarkson had gone the route suggested by Clive Davis and brought in professional songwriters to punch up My December? The result may have sounded something like Funhouse, which has the still-kinda-brash Alecia Moore working with hired hands like Max Martin, Butch Walker, and Tony Kunal (of No Doubt) on a slew of songs about the end of her affair. Funhouse was originally slated to be called Heartbreak Is A Motherfucker, and the sentiment is still there in titles like “It’s All Your Fault” and “Could’ve Had Everything”; it’s also there in the sound of the album, which, contrary to the expectations put forth by the still-annoying “So What,” is overwhelmingly pensive and anxious. “Sober,” which is slated to be the next single, could have been an Evanescence track, with its strings and sorta-morose relationship-as-addiction lyrics; “Glitter In The Air” is a piano-and-Pink ballad that’s as close-talking as Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” This is definitely an album that takes the whole idea of the titular funhouse not being all that fun and throws it back in the face of anyone within listening range, but not necessarily in a bad way. I suspect I’ll be playing the whole thing–well, maybe not “So What,” but the rest of it–a lot over the coming months.
THE BEST TRACK: The Martin-assisted “Please Don’t Leave Me” is a sadder version of “Who Knew,” with an airy, wistful “da da da da” threaded throughout the track–and as a sucker for that slow-burn hit, I’ve already spun it four or five times this morning–but it’s the Walker-produced “Mean,” which is a direct descendant of Aerosmith’s last-call ballad “What It Takes,” that I suspect will be the track on this album with the most staying power.