Sound — 7
So, we all know the story about the controversy involving Kelly Clarkson and her management, about My December, her third and supposedly (too) dark album. It was a big gossip-deal in 2007, prior to the release of this album. According to press, Mr. Clive Davis offered Miss Clarkson a huge amount of money, only if she took the half of the tracks from My December and dumped them on the other side of the world. Proud as Kelly was, and still is, she fired her manager and released the dark, moody, emotional and raw-rocky album. Sales couldn't even begin comparing to her 2004/2005 major hit album Breakaway. Now the year is 2009 and Kelly is back, this time with an album with the title All I Ever Wanted. The cover of the album is, as Kelly herself said "photoshopped as hell!", and it's clear that the majority of the songs on the fourth Miss Clarkson-album, are pop. And not only that - bubblegum, colorful, lovely, teddybear-pop. I can say that the first single says it all, My Life Would Suck Without You, wich is a smart name for a song. The single can be caught stealing some moments from Kelly's major hit Since you Been Gone, especially the guitar-intro. My Life Would Suck Without You is written and produced bu the Swedes, Max Martin and Dr. Gottwald, who've also been involved in Pink's, Britney's, and many other stars, carrers. On the single Kelly sings about a disfunctional relationship, and she does it damn good. It's a massive hit, probably the song of the year, with that bubblegum-catchy feeling. It's very reminding of the style that Breakaway gave us and it shows off Kelly's voice, range and it's simply a popular song that anyone and everyone would dig. The second song off All I Ever Wanted is written by Kara DiGuoardi and pop-sensation Katy Perry, among others. The song is supposedly about being in a relationship with an alcoholic or an addict and it's going to be released as the second single, some time in April. This song has a raw sense to it, and remind me of the inbetween of Breakaway and My December, sort of like a mix. It has fine lyrics and an amazing catchy melody. This also, a hit for sure. Kelly's third song is called Cry, and it's described as "the most personal song on the album", by Kelly herself. Cry is a ballad, with resemblance to Because Of You. It's featured with a heavy, powerful and extremely touching chorus, and Kelly's lungs really show that they are able to do magic. And it's evident that Cry is personal as hell, a part of the lyrics are: "If anyone asks, I'll tell them we just grew apart / What do I care if they believe me or not? " And the truth is, this is good and powerful as hell! The fourth song, Don't Let Me Stop You, is really giving me Pink-ish vibes. It's a song about a man who won't commit, and the song has really good lyrics and gives off that rock, raw arena-feeling, but it's still pulled together and very contemporary and radio-friendly. An amazing song! Other than Katy Perry writing two of the songs, I Do Not Hook Up, and Long Shot, Kelly has worked with OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and the two of them came up with Impossible - which is a nice song that shows of Kelly's voice amazingly, and it doesn't hurt that it's catchy. Save You, a ballad that obviously is personal and very raw. It doesn't even begin to compare with Cry, but still a easygoing tune that sooths. Besides, Kelly and her voice - Oh my God! Already Gone, which comes off as a well-written and very well-executed song, with huge resemblances to Beyonc's Halo. Ryan sings the backup-vocals on this, nearly five minute long masterpiece. It's really good, delicate and the lyrics are to die for. Also, If I Can't Have You, which by Kelly is described as something she wouldn't normally do. "A mix between The Killers and Eurythmics!" It's a fast song that sometimes falls flat. The lyrics in the verses I really like, but it's in the chorus that everything about this song falls flat. Kelly has put on a song called, Whyyawannabringmedown, which is a hardcore, punkish and raw song, that I think is really unlike Clarkson. But anyway, she kills the song - in a good way and I like it. It's a flip-out song, the kind that you just can shake off, and go crazy to. Kelly also put a song on All I Ever Wanted, which is called Ready. It was one of the demos that leaked, unfinished and very raw. But on the album it came out as a contemporary, modern, R&B-Gwen Stefani thing. One difference though - a kick-ass singing-job, especially in the chorus part. It's clear that Kelly used a different way to express herself on this record. She's still critising every old boyfriend and implying that everything's wrong, just like she did on My December, but this time she's doing this the Clive Davis-commercial, pop, cute, radio-way. Nothing wrong with that, she's cool as hell, and she really rules and kills every single one of these songs. From Long Shot, the popular song with the high chorus, to If No One Will Listen, the slowest ballad of them all, which proves that she can take any of the Idols in a singing-bee, whenever, wherever! I just have one issue with All I Ever Wanted, even though it contains unforgettable hit's and wonderful and amazing songs, which will be remembered - it somehow falls flat, because it's not so very different from Breakaway. It feels like I've heard a big part of the songs that are on this album, already. I believe that people thought My December as something exciting, and saw it as a new fresh thing from Kelly, but now I lacked that anticipation, I had prior to the release of My December, because I pretty much knew what All I Ever Wanted Would Be - a polished, more contemporary and more synth-influenced twing to Breakaway. And what really made me sure of my thoughts, was the release of My Life Would Suck Without You, which is an amazing hot hit-song, but let's face it - it's sooooo is Since you Been Gone on Viagra! And nobody want's a second Breakaway, nobody, well. Except Clive Davis.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of Kelly's fourth album are good. They do what they are supposed to do, considering Kelly's penentration into the pop genre, once again. I will no admit that the lyrics are better than My December's, 'cause they're really not and I don't think that they ever will be as emotional and wrapped into the dark fog of feelings, which Kelly really got across with the lyrics from My December - just look at Irvine or Maybe. All I Ever Wanted have moments where it shines really bright. Those moments are in songs like: I Do Not Hook Up: "This may not last but this is now, so love the one you're with". Don't Let Me Stop You: "If you're looking all over your shoulder, then you don't need to be with me". Already Gone: "Even with our fists held high, it never would have worked out right yeah. We were never meant for do or die" Ready: "I sit so patiently drenched in what do you want me to be. I can't escape". But almost none of these lyrics measure up to the amazing moods that My December gave us, and barely even to Breakwaway. It's hard to say because it depends on which songs you compare. Every one of these albums have their pros and cons.
Overall Impression — 7
All I Ever Wanted, a good album which won't dissapoint anyone who digged the glory of Breakaway, but if you're more a My December-type you might not like it as much. Some songs, like Don't Let Me Stop You, Already Gone, Ready, Whyyawannabringmedown and Cry might give you what you want. It's a album about issues, like every other time, and like every other Kelly-song and album. But this time it's not as depressed. It's more suited for radio and for the approval of Mr. Clive Davis. Which is okay, 'cause Kelly always stays true, no matter what she sings. I like the album because some of the song have a power, and a new fresh and sort of refreshed vibe that suit dancefloors, but also depressed thinking in a dark room. It's like a new Kelly Clarkson, drenched in candy, bubblegum colors and melodies that are infected by the shrieking of synths, but with lyrics about betrayal, heart-break and lies. I don't like the album just because I feel like I've heard many of the songs, like I said before, and also because I'm having a hard time figuring out why Clarkson decided to put some of the songs, she actually put up, on the album. Songs like I Want You, that fade in comparance to other songs, and If No One Will Listen. Sure, it's a cosy song, and to talant and the ability to really be able to sing is demanded, but it reminds me of something Kelly would have done on Thankful. I mean, she must have had better songs. The five best songs from All I Ever Wanted: Already Gone, I Do Not Hook Up, Don't Let Me Stop You, Cry, Long Shot, and the three "what-were-you-thinking-songs?": If No One Will Listen, I Want You, If I Can't Have You.