Friday, June 29, 2007

My December - Kelly Clarkson

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I'm not shy about it; I have never seen the point of Kelly Clarkson. Yes there have been a good smattering of half decent singles to admire (Miss Independent, Since You've Been Gone, Walk Away) but on the whole I just don't see what makes her such a success.

But a success she has been; in fact I think that deep down even Clarkson herself probably would admit to thinking that it could never have turned out so well. One decent selling album followed by a genuine worldwide smash album.

And wouldn't you believe it, Clarkson has decided that now is the time to present the world with her own artistic vision. At a push you can see her point; her last couple of albums were tailor-made attempts to grab the zeitgeist and catch the vibe of what was deemed to be "in". It was a trick which worked for Pink and its that trajectory we're following here (in that the album they didn't want to make was followed by them making an album they "sort of" wanted to do and then following up with the album they've "always wanted to make).

Except that whilst this is definitely more "dark" than her previous efforts, its still not a million miles away from what you would expect...except in one crucial department. The tunes have pretty much disappeared.

The obvious influence would appear to be Alanis Morissete's Jagged Little Pill, the difference being of course that precious few of us knew of Morissette as the pop ingenue before she unleashed that on the world. It's angry, feisty but ultimately hollow. To pull off a chameleon trick like Clarkson has attempted you have to make sure that what you produce is better than what came before, and I don't think (as limited an opinion I have of her previous work) this does.

The record company needn't fear too much, there are a smattering of radio friendly tunes that will doubtless shift some units, but here's a little prediction; next time around we'll see the "old" Kelly Clarkson back, no doubt with a handy excuse for returning to something more accessible and catchy.

It's an interesting album, if only from a conceptual point of view, but all in all its a classic case of an artist over-estimating their importance in the overall scheme of things.

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