Before I do this thing, let’s get one thing straight: I realize I’m probably a little too old to even know who Kelly Clarkson is. But good music is good music, and I happen to think Kelly Clarkson’s My December is one of the best CDs I own. So it only makes sense that I follow that up with a review of Kelly’s latest effort, All I Ever Wanted. Now that that’s clear, here’s my track-by-track breakdown of the album:
- “My Life Would Suck Without You”- 7 Elephants- The lead-off single for All I Ever Wanted has been said by many to be the sequal to “Since U Been Gone”, and I guess that’s probably an accurate observation. However, “MLWSWY” (rockin’ those abbrevs) uses more synthesised beats than 5 Katy Perry tribute bands and something about that doesn’t mesh with Clarkson’s voice. The song does not flatter her chops.
- “I Do Not Hook Up”- 7 Elephants- More like “I Do Not Want to Listen to This Crap”. Seriously though, the second single from the album is more overdone pop. Clarkson pulls this one off a little bit better than on “MLWSWY” simply because the generally subject matter of the song fits the style. Not something I’ve got on repeat on my iPod.
- “Cry”- 9 Elephants- Giving the album its little forray into the country music genre is “Cry”, a nice ballad that reminds me why I liked My December so much: Clarkson just has remarkable vocal talent. “Cry” shows off her powerful while still keep that soft, ballady feel.
- “Don’t Let Me Stop You”- 8.5 Elephants- This song serves as a pretty good bridge between the two extremes on the album: pop and rock. It has a poppy sound while not being drowned out by synthesised dance beats. As you can tell, those are a major turn off for me on songs by artist that can handle so much better material. “Don’t Let Me Stop You” is classic Clarkson that will vastly appeal to fans of Thankful and Breakaway that were left wanting more after My December.
- “All I Ever Wanted”- 9 Elephants- One of the more rockish songs on the album, “All I Ever Wanted” is one of my personal favorites. A lot of the appeal for this song lies in the fact that it has great potential as a live performance. I can imagine Clarkson up on staging rocking out to this song, and that’s what I like to see/hear.
- “Already Gone”- 9 Elephants- I know the fact that I like this song contradicts with what I said earlier about hating synthesised beats, but hear me out. “Already Gone” is possibly the most overproduced song on the album; however, it all works very well on this song. I might even go so far as to say that the studio track sounds nothing like Clarkson. So as a Kelly Clarkson song, I don’t like it. But as a song in general, I love it. Comprende?
- “If I Can’t Have You”- 7 Elephants- This song is my second least favorite song on the CD, as it falls into my least favorite genre of music: dance pop. I know several people that love this song and find it fun to dance along to as they drive down the road. As for me, I’ll just sticking to skipping it on shuffle and laughing at the morons that I do see jamming out to “If I Can’t Have You”.
- “Save You”- 10 Elephants- This song is quite possibly my favorite song on the CD. It’s extremely unique in that it’s multi-genred; it even contains a section of classical music worked into the closing. “Save You” shows some sheer composing genuis, and it all comes together brilliantly.
- “Whyyawannabringmedown”- 9 Elephants- Let’s get passed the obvious first; someone clearly needs to invest in a spacebar for this song. If you can get past the title and actually listen to the song, you’ll more than likely be pleasantly surprised. “W” (Ughhh.. the lack of spaces in between words prevents me from abbreving this well.) is the most rock inspired track on the album and makes a great addition to a jogging or exercise playlist. Very, very high energy.
- “Long Shot”- 8 Elephants- “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was a Kelly Clarkson CD? How’d that Katy Perry get stuck in there?” Those are the thoughts that filled my head as I head “Long Shot” for the first time. My disgust evaporated for the most part after I did some research and learned that Katy Perry did in fact co-write the song, explaining its eerie resemblence to a the songs on her CD, which, interestingly enough, I like. If you listen to this song enough, it will grown on you. Trust me.
- “Impossible”- 8.5 Elephants- “Impossible” comes across as a filler track that gets lost in the shuffle on first listen, but on deeper analysis it’s actually a decent song. It shows of Clarkson’s strong vocals and isn’t WAY overproduced.
- “Ready”- 8 Elephants- “Ready” as it is in on the album is difficult for me to listen to, but not because it’s a bad song. Quite the opposite, actually. My problem with album-version “Ready” is that I heard the demo before the CD was released and it was a stripped down, My December-esque song. When the CD came out, I expected to hear that same song. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way it was “popped” up to an extraordinary level and present-day “Ready” was formed. It’s still a strong song, but not half the song it was before.
- “I Want You”- 7 Elephants- This is my least favorite song on the whole CD, and I’m not sure why. It’s not really overproduced or anything, it’s just a song that gets on my nerves. I can never really pinpoint what it is about it but I just can’t finish it. End rant.
- “If No One Will Listen”- 9 Elephants- The final track on All I Ever Wanted is also the “prettiest” of the songs, for lack of a better word. It’s a very restrained song that highlights Clarkson’s mad skills with little interference from background music. It’s a great close to a very diverse album.
Kelly Clarkson returns to her pop roots on her fourth album, but doesn’t totally leave behind all of the other genres she has explored during her young career. All I Ever Wanted features songs with a little bit of everything; country, pop, rock, classical, you name it and it’s ont he CD. Those who enjoyed Breakaway and Thankful should run to the closest Target and pick up their copy. Those like myself who like only My December, however, will probably be less than thrilled with the majority of the songs on the CD. Overall: 8 Elephants
The following songs will be added to the TCJ Playlist:
- “Don’t Let Me Stop You”
- “All I Ever Wanted”
- “Already Gone”
- “Save You”
- “Long Shot”
- “If No One Will Listen”
What do you think of All I Ever Wanted? What song was your favorite?
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