Kelly Clarkson
Stronger


2.0
poor

Review

by SowingSeason EMERITUS
October 27th, 2011 | 142 replies | 14,705 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ms. Clarkson breaks away into maturity mode only to find out that it isn’t all she ever wanted.

It seems like Kelly Clarkson has followed a bad-good-bad pattern throughout her career: Thankful (bad), Breakaway (good), My December (bad), All I Ever Wanted (good)…and now, Stronger. It doesn’t take a coding analyst to figure out what the next output in the sequence would be, but just to humor ourselves let’s take a closer look at why this is the case. Her first record was an overzealous attempt to prove herself as a legitimate pop superstar after winning the first season of American Idol; and predictably, the results were underwhelming. Breakaway was the career-defining album that she had been searching for, and it spawned nearly as many radio hits as there were songs on the record. When the fanfare finally died down, she once again sought to exercise her passion for a more serious, mature endeavor. My December ended up being relatively forgettable in the grand scheme of things, so she returned to her bread and butter with All I Ever Wanted, which is easily the second best record in her discography. Three years later, we see her walking into the same trap that she has fallen into after every major success of an album. Oh, Kelly. If only you would have learned from your mistakes.

Stronger is an attempt to combine her carefree, catchy side with her darker, more mature side. The results are equally as mixed, featuring tracks that would have felt at home on her last release as well as ones that would have gotten lost in the mediocrity of My December. It goes without saying that her voice is still spectacular, and that facet alone carries this album to the level of success that it does achieve. However, her vocal skills end up suffering from forgettable songwriting coupled with a lack of direction. Just listen to ‘Einstein’, a song that tries to sound soulful and clever but ends up spewing out lyrics like this: “Simple math, our love divided by the square root of pride / Multiply your lies plus time I'm going out of my mind.” Now I like math as much as the next guy, but she just sounds awkward saying those words. And that’s before she gets to the all-out idiocy of the chorus, “dumb plus dumb equals you.” It’s no wonder it’s hard to take her seriously when she turns things around on the very next track with the poetic ballad ‘Standing in Front of You.’ Quite simply, Kelly Clarkson fails to locate any trace of consistency on Stronger, and it sacrifices whatever chance this had of being her album that “makes a statement.”

If it hasn’t already become abundantly clear, Clarkson is at her best when she is surrounded by rock-oriented instrumentation that allows her angelic voice to cut through the mix and dictate the tempo. Luckily, we get quite a few examples of that here, such as the delightfully upbeat ‘I Forgive You’ and the Sting-inspired rhythm of ‘You Love Me.’ However, Stronger is, perhaps more than any of her other records, a pop album. Even the surefire hit ‘Mr. Know It All’ features little besides Kelly’s vocals and a heavy beat, all of which ends up sounding a lot like something Natasha Bedingfield would write. Unfortunately, not all of the songs that she performs in that vein hit the mark. A good portion of the album goes in one ear and passes out the other, bouncing between slow and mid-tempo works that fail to make much of an impression. ‘Honestly’, ‘Hello’, ‘The War is Over’, and ‘Breaking Your Own Heart’ all suffer that fate, with the latter sounding like a pathetic attempt to reap a few benefits from the ever-growing country-pop scene. Her voice isn’t all that well suited for such a departure in style, and the track’s placement at the end of the album causes it to end with a resounding thud.

So while Stronger has its redeeming moments, they mostly come when Clarkson does what she is renowned for doing and has already done better. It is a little too heavy on the balladry and serious tones, which are the same things that doomed her other two slightly lesser received albums. Stronger sacrifices part of the all-for-fun, guilty-pleasure appeal present on songs like ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ in favor of creating something with a deeper purpose. The only question is, what do you listen to Kelly Clarkson for: the integrity of the songs, or the hooks? Because the bottom line here is that these songs simply don’t stick out like they should. Alas, the bad-good-bad pattern lives on.



Recent reviews by this author
Ingrid Michaelson Lights OutLost In The Trees Past Life
The Avett Brothers I and Love and YouAvril Lavigne Avril Lavigne
Yellowcard Ocean Avenue AcousticGoo Goo Dolls Magnetic
user ratings (62)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album can be streamed here:

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/1





klap
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2011



10001 Comments


its good to know theres a contributor around whose fulfilled my old obligation of reviewing shitty pop albums : )

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

haha rudy

you know you still love reviewing this stuff

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i'm still awaiting daveyboy's approval of my summary

AtavanHalen
October 27th 2011



17927 Comments


I'm getting this atm. Great review.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

thanks atavan

although something tells me you'll like this a bit more than i did

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



10553 Comments


Awesome review man.



It seems like she only writes songs about how shitty men are.

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

maybe she's a lesbian

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



10553 Comments


If not she should give it a shot I'm sure she'd be much happier.

theacademy
October 27th 2011



27694 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

this album is fucking great. how could you 4.5 and 3.5 taylor swift's rubbish and then slap a 2 on this idaosjdioasjdioasjiejr

RosaParks
October 27th 2011



14592 Comments


hey acad is tHAT A SERIOUS 5??????????????????????????????????????

theacademy
October 27th 2011



27694 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

and for the record:

1. breakaway
2. this (i think)
3. december
4. aiew
5. thankful

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
October 27th 2011



3663 Comments


I can't really rate this, since it's not in the realm of music I listen to.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

how i rate taylor swift has nothing to do with anything lol

glad you like this though acad

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



10553 Comments


http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/stopthepresses/392287/kelly-clarkson-im-not-a-lesbian/

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's funny you found that, but I think it's so dumb that people would assume you are gay just because you aren't married by the time you're 29

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
October 27th 2011



3663 Comments


29? I'd still tap that

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

recommended tracks so far:

Mr. Know It All
I Forgive You
You Love Me
Dark Side

Willie
Moderator
October 27th 2011



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Look who else is staff ;) go find the staff forum and post something.

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 27th 2011



14511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

haha this is such a huge shake up

is this real or a joke?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy