First Impressions: Kelly Gets What She Wants And Then Some

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It almost seems like a distant memory that Kelly Clarkson was the first contestant to win on the reality show monster, American Idol. Three albums and a handful of hits later, the Texas native has placed herself at the zenith point of pop. Kelly has even overcome the christening point of every pop star before her: Being able to hold the reigns and guide their own career on their terms. In 2006, Kelly was infamously involved in a debacle between music Svengali, Clive Davis over creative direction with her third album, My December. The album proved to be a Goliath step into something to cast Kelly in a different and a much more mature light than her pop peers. Now on All I Ever Wanted, Kelly is still as feisty and as searing as ever, as the album rocks and reels with Kelly coming off quite Pat Benetar-ish. While there are some great moments, there are a couple of rough patches. The album starts off kind of generic, as still "My Life Would Suck Without You" fails to capture any originality for me. Same for "I Do Not Hook Up" which is no doubt guitar-pop catchy, but it sounds like it popped out of the Disney pop manufacturing oven ready made for any tween to put their holler voice to. Fortunately, Kelly stops pretending to be 16 years old and becomes herself as things begin to pick up with the title track. "All I Ever Wanted" is a dizzy punch of pop-rock that is engaging, while "If I Can't Have You" drives on electro juices and is destined to be single material. The ballad of choice is the soaring, "Save You" which has a nice musical texture to it. Kelly gets quite Joan Jett on the mouthful, "Whyyawannabringmedown" where she takes her hair down and spews out a fun as hell two minutes and forty four seconds of sparkling rock. The gurgling bounce of "Ready" is delicate while the closer, "If No One Will Listen" is proof as to why Kelly won Idol almost eight years ago. All I Ever Wanted isn't even close to what Breakaway is...which I'm thankful for. A few songs sound similar to those on Top 40 today (case in point the Ryan Tedder produced "Already Gone" which easily sounds like a cousin to Beyonce's "Halo") and really don't show any growth on Kelly's part. Still Kelly is in the driver's seat with her foot planted firmly on the gas pedal and heading in the right direction. All we have to do is fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Rating: 8.7/10
Release Date: March 10, 2009

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