The only way is up

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

EMO­TIONAL tur­moil is the name of Kelly Clark­son’s game.

The husky, throaty singer, with a voice as big as her home state of Texas, is never bet­ter than when she is an­gry or lovelorn. And re­ally, it’s best if ev­ery­one leaves the su­per- happy, too- perky songs to Katy Perry.

On Clark­son’s dis­ap­point­ing 2007 al­bum My De­cem­ber she took the an­gry, lovelorn thing too far. On Stronger she pushes just far enough.

Al­bum num­ber five is the per­fect blend of co­he­sive themes and strong hooks.

The best since 2004’ s Break­away , it sports high en­ergy rock- pop, girl power an­thems, crowd- pleas­ing power bal­lads, flir­ta­tions with pop- punk and even a duet with a hunky coun­try mu­sic star.

Hello is the sort of bouncy, ra­diore­ady, mid- tempo, power- pop tune that could eas­ily be a hit all over the globe.

A song like Mr Know It All couldn’t be any­one but Clark­son. It’s got her mojo writ­ten into its DNA, an­other bonafide hit for her col­lec­tion.

Peo­ple al­ways point out the Since U Been Gone cover/ remix on Clark­son’s al­bums and on this one it’s prob­a­bly the wounded, self aware I For­give You.

It’s un­de­ni­ably a crack­ing tune but ob­vi­ously cast from the same mould as her mid- 2000s smash hit.

She may never es­cape the shadow of this song, but if the up­dates are as strong as I For­give You, no one will care.

An un­ex­pected but wel­come left turn is What Doesn’t Kill You and its chilly elec­tro- pop. If noth­ing else it proves Clark­son can turn her tal­ented vo­cal cords to any genre she wants.

More tal­ented than most of her con­tem­po­raries, Clark­son’s voice can de­liver a low, rum­bling growl or a thun­der­clap high note with ease.

Clark­son co- wrote about half of the al­bum’s songs, noth­ing strange about that in the Amer­i­can pop land­scape.

Stronger de­liv­ers nearly a dozen good tunes but there are a cou­ple of stinkers that could have been left on the cut­ting- room floor.

Dark Side has a pow­er­ful theme but the mu­sic fails to match the grit­ti­ness of the tale.

But worse is Ein­stein . ‘‘ Dumb plus dumb equals you,’’ she sings. She sings and we cringe. Ms Clark­son, you are bet­ter than that.

The epit­ome of the Amer­i­can Dream; the girl next door turned su­per­star; the ex- wait­ress and TV show ex­tra ( Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Dharma & Greg ) who worked her way to the top of the charts, Clark­son has re­gained her cool and com­po­sure with Stronger.

It’s only up from here.

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