Kelly Clarkson
My December


1.5
very poor

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
June 23rd, 2007 | 40 replies | 53,035 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sadly, even a spectacular failure would have been interesting.

No fat jokes, please.

It’s sink or swim for Kelly Clarkson with her third album release, the drearily-titled My December. It’s not so much her career that’s at stake- her continued fame is virtually assured- but her decision to clash antlers with RCA head Clive Davis and her refusal to work with professional songwriters will likely determine one aspect of her future: whether she continues to blossom into an independent creative artist or retreats to the collaboration formula which has already earned her numerous awards and fifteen million-plus album sales. It’s not clear whether the very public spat was wholly orchestrated or has merely been managed from the sidelines, but Clarkson has surely done everything to paint herself as the courageous David (Davinia?) facing up against the emotionless Goliath of lore, to the point where even overkill is a distant figure.

But here’s the thing: Davis is right. Breakaway was a very rare breed of album which many musicians covet but few actually achieve; an album that could legitimately claim to be composed entirely of hits or potential hits, in the same way Bad was in the US or (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory was in Europe. That’s not to say Breakaway was as varied or as unique as either of those albums- on the contrary, its sameness was its one downfall- but each track was crafted to an extremely high standard: the melodies and songwriting were superb; the production was pristine and dynamic; and Kelly bloomed as a singer.My December has some great vocal performances but little else. Lead single ‘Never Again’ is the album’s only identifiable “hit,” and even that has begun to fall from radio playlist with next-to-no fanfare. Second single ‘Sober’ is barely a single at all; the arrangement is of a typical rock ballad, but the hook is buried two minutes into the track, longer than most casual listeners can reasonably be expected to hold attention.

It’s true that, even in pop music, singles ain’t everything. My December was unlikely to duplicate the success of Breakaway with or without hit singles, but stylistically, the albums are very similar- the songs just are just way inferior this time around. My December’s fourteen tracks (including the hidden ‘Chivas’) sound like rough sketches fleshed out with Breakaway’s light rock arrangements; ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ and ‘Judas’ each boast catchy hooks, but the verses are stagnant, bogged down by a rigid rhyming scheme which prevents the singer from injecting any fluidity into her performance. ‘Yeah’ is more promising, kicking off with a funky distorted guitar lick, but devolves horrifically into a high-pitched horn-inflected chorus which sounds positively painful even with a world-class singer like Kelly behind the mic. Elsewhere, a lack of direction is a constant problem: Kelly leaps confusingly into her higher register for the final words of ‘Never Again’’s opening line, and the distorted guitar line which underpins the verse is, for want of a better term, “inept.” Questions like “why is she singing it like that?” and “why is playing that line?” probably should have been asked by somebody at some point before the album landed on my desk.

On the plus side, My December does succeed in places, almost exclusively when Kelly steps out of the rock chick mould and does what she does best: sing with minimal accompaniment. Closing pair ‘Irvine’ and ‘Chivas’ are obvious companion pieces; the former is a reggae-infused acoustic number whose intimate arrangement highlights every inflection and imperfection in Kelly’s jazz-inspired vocal. ‘Chivas’ (named for the brand of Scotch) is a home recording in a similar style, but the lyrics are bitter yet playful, belittling a former lover with the line “I’ll take a Chivas instead of your bed.” ‘Sober’ may not be tailor-made for radio, but it is beautifully arranged, taking in bouncy Sting-like synthesised strings and an excellent vocal performance, while ‘Haunted,’ the only rock track of note on the disc, is reminiscent of Amy Lee’s best performances.

Just watch My December sell ten million copies now. I’ll be sick.

For a full stream of My December through to its June 26 release date, visit MTV's The Leak:

http://www.mtv.com/music/the_leak/




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user ratings (114)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
samthebassman
June 23rd 2007



2164 Comments


Great review, as usual.

Im sure this will be a massive commercial hit, as it wouldnt be the first time a mediocre album sells through the roof.

You might wanna fix up the track listing.

Fort23
June 23rd 2007



2469 Comments


Very Good Review, though Idk Kelly Clarkson was my favorite on american idol. I can't watch that show anymore.

The Jungler
June 23rd 2007



4827 Comments


Damn, I was really hoping this would be good. I'll probably end up listening anyways, especially since I liked the single.
Great review, shorter than I would have expected but great nonetheless.

Jimmy
June 23rd 2007



717 Comments


awesome review

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2007



15697 Comments


Awesome review, I love reading your reviews.

Only thing:

“why is playing that line?”


FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 23rd 2007



2806 Comments


I despise Clive Davis although he did good things with Kelly. Great review, as always.

mvdu
June 23rd 2007



595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I completely disagree. This CD has gotten quite a few good reviews so far, and those good reviews are right. Kelly has found a way to be catchy while keeping her music interesting and riveting.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2007



2597 Comments


Haha, awesome review. I really like Kelly but this doesn't look to be all that promising.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2007



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this review makes me sad

plane
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2007



6073 Comments


The single off this was so, so bad. Awesome review.

blackmilk
June 23rd 2007



584 Comments


This is unfortunate.

TheStarclassicTreatment
June 23rd 2007



2909 Comments


@mvdu:
your first comment on here was used to insult SOP, you're either really big, or REALLY stupid lol
and damn, cos Breakaway was great

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2007



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah this album is pretty bad which sucks.

finished my review wish i could submit it ugh

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 23rd 2007



2806 Comments


your first comment on here was used to insult SOP, you're either really big, or REALLY stupid lol


ya dood SOP is GOD. no1 plays geetar like him!

AdamSmo
June 23rd 2007



11 Comments


Nice review, but ridiculously low rating.... It's not an especially impressive album, but it's better than most pop out there.

MeowMeow
June 23rd 2007



662 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

A bit harsh. I actually had a review done for this (damn mods being able to send theirs in earlier ) I gave it a 3. Their's some great songs on here, imo, but some real shitters, too. I rather loved the song Maybe. Ah well.This Message Edited On 06.23.07

understone
June 23rd 2007



51 Comments


I must listen to this, Breakaway was great.

JohnXDoesn't
June 24th 2007



1247 Comments


i can't stand this fat bitch! :lol:

but seriously very nice review. i don't care 4 this kind of garbage.

TheStarclassicTreatment
June 24th 2007



2909 Comments


this is random...but how do you quote what other people have said? I never could work that out for some reason.

I took a look at some of this. The only song I really like tbqh is Maybe, which would have been a great song even if it had been on Breakaway imo.

Jimmy
June 24th 2007



717 Comments


wrap it in quote tags

wrap it in quote tags [ /quote]

without the spaces

[quote]wrap it in quote tags




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