Kelly Clarkson – “My December”

The former “American Idol” winner’s third CD is not without controversy. Before its release, record-label mogul Clive Davis publicly denounced support of “My December,” reportedly offering Clarkson an extra million dollars to record new songs. The reason behind Davis’s griping is evident: Clarkson’s new CD severely lacks the catchy pop tunes that dominated her previous chart-topping records. Instead of appealing to the sugary tween market, “My December” echoes the raw, angry tones of Alanis Morissette’s classic album, “Jagged Little Pill.”

While most of the songs are not as radio-friendly as the girl-power beats from her last albums, “My December” is by no means a flop. On the contrary, Clarkson fans will likely mark it as their favorite. Clarkson’s expressive vocals shine when paired with an edgy rock beat, ranging from raspy shouts to coy, honeyed whispers.

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Yet it is sometimes the album’s powerful lyrics that take center-stage.

Clarkson penned the entire album, drawing from her experiences with a cheating boyfriend. She rips angry passages from her diary for the album’s first single, “Never Again.”

The record itself is a bit of an oddity. Clarkson’s pop-star status hinders her credibility on rock stations, yet “My December” is too raw for pop and soft-rock radio. While the record is praiseworthy, it does take a few listens to appreciate Clarkson’s new, mature style. Whether the public has an attention span long enough to allow “My December” to grow on them, however, is another matter.

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