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REBORN SONGBIRD SPREADS HER WINGS

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By all accounts, the inaugural winner of American Idol had a strained relationsh­ip with her previous label. Described by the singer as “an arranged marriage”, her subsequent divorce has yielded this break-up record, which is the kind of LP she’s always wanted to release.

Shying away from the pop-rock fodder that made Clarkson a star, the likes of ‘Since U Been Gone’ have been replaced by songs that are more soulful and sassy.

However, while there are some strong efforts on Meaning Of

Life, Clarkson’s first foray away from the Big Brother-like gaze of Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainm­ent company is blighted by filler.

The Michelle Obama-quoting ‘Go High’ hits all the wrong notes due to needless studio trickery; ‘Love So Soft’’s gloss can’t mask its lack of hooks; and the mediocre ‘Medicine’ is not what the doctor ordered. The reinventio­n of the reality show refugee is by no means a failure, mind, as the Tina Turner-esque ‘Whole Lotta Woman’, gritty ballad ‘I Don’t Think About You’, and the Motown-flavoured title track are sterling slices of soul. I Indeed, they may yet signal the start of an interestin­g new chapter for the golden-voiced pop idol.

OUT NOW / EDWIN McFEE

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