Kelly Clarkson Is Back To Burning Brightly

ARTIST: Kelly Clarkson
TITLE: All I Ever Wanted
RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2009
WEB DEBUT: Feb. 20, 2009

ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: The “pop redemption” album from the inaugural American Idol is the latest album to debut online early because of a glitch by one of those so-called “legitimate download sites”; this time, the culprit is apparently the iTunes Store in Norway, which put the album on sale briefly earlier this afternoon.

So how is it? It’s a fun collection of pop tracks that’s carried in large part by Clarkson’s endlessly rootable personality and (slightly sweetened, but still undeniable) pipes, if a bit overlong. She makes “Long Shot,” the Glen Ballard composition that Katy Perry rendered annoying, twitchily listenable; meanwhile, “I Do Not Hook Up,” which was co-written by newly minted American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, sounds kind of like it could have snuck into the track listing of Folie A Deux without disturbing much of that album’s overall feel. The album’s weakest tracks are the ones penned by OneRepublic’s main moaner Ryan Tedder—midway through the overly ponderous “Save You,” I thought, “uh oh, this album might wind up being a bit long.” (Although given the way that my resistance to Tedder’s work is directly proportional to the American public’s embrace of it, the track will probably wind up being embraced by the Delilah crowd a few months from now.)

THE BEST TRACK: “Whyyawannabringmedown” is an energetic number that has Kelly getting probably as close to punk-pop as she’s going to get. But really, all of the tracks co-written by former Color Me Badd crooner Sam Watters (there are three in total: “Why”; the Spoon-biting title track; and “I Want You,” which is a delectable retro cream puff) are the standouts. Can we maybe get a whole album of Clarkson songs penned by him and his partner Louis Biancaniello next?

  • Mike Barthel

    The enduring legacy of “Dick in a Box.”

  • brasstax

    How do these big ticket albums keep getting “accidentally” released early? They should put up posters in 150pt type around these offices with release dates.

    That said, I’m about to listen to the hell out of this.

  • Maura Johnston

    @brasstax: all it takes is one incompetent employee!

  • brasstax

    btw, I’ve finally warmed up to “My Life Would Suck Without You,” but I still think it sounds more Disney/Hannah Montana than I’m comfortable with.

  • LeighBlack

    Once I saw it leaked, I left work early so I could come home and download it. It doesn’t disappoint! I’m quite enjoying it.

  • Anonymous

    Memo to record labels: If you want us to pay money for your high-profile albums, don’t make it so damned easy for us to get them ahead of the release date!

  • brasstax

    “Whyyawannabringmedown” is melting my brains right now.

  • musicquizking

    “Whyyawannabringmedown” is actually a cover of a band called Aranda. Here is the original:

  • Weezy F Baby

    @VivaLaMainstream: that’s some fuzzy logic right thurr.

  • Anonymous

    All Australian readers will find this sentence extremely enjoyable: “Clarkson’s endlessly rootable personality”

  • brasstax

    Just listened to Katy Perry’s non-album version of “Hook Up,” and if there’s ever been a clearer contrast between Kelly and everyone else, this is it. This song is too big for someone with talents as limited as Ms. Perry’s.

  • propaganda-artist

    I’m so relieved to learn that this album is at least decent. I love Kelly and I really wanted her to succeed.

    @brasstax: And “whyyawannabringmedown” is totally melting my brains right now, too.

  • dyfl

    “Can we maybe get a whole album of Clarkson songs penned by him and his partner Louis Biancaniello next?”

    That would only delay my dream project, KELLY CLARKSON SINGS THE SONGS OF STEPHIN MERRITT.

  • Anonymous

    Ooh, overall much better than “My December,” but I think she had to do that one, just to get it out of her system. Her “Long Shot” is miles better than Katy’s, and boy does that title track bite from Spoon. I think this will be a fun album to get me through the remaining doldrums of winter. You’re right, Maura- the likability shines through in the songs.

    I’ll be honest, I hope I can see her live this go-round.

  • Anonymous

    am I weird or lame for really liking “If I Can’t Have You” ??

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