I realize this album is pretty much old news at this point. I’m pretty sure many people have heard of the album, and even more people have heard the album’s title song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and “Mr. Know It All” overplayed on the radio (as the radio usually likes to do).
I will say though, out of all her albums, this is the only one she’s released where I found myself liking every single one of the songs. In fact, I even liked her slow ones—and I’m not even a fan of “slow” songs or ballads in general, I usually don’t care who’s singing them.
For fans of her older stuff, here’s some good news—there’s definitely a small handful of songs on this album that are reminiscent of her earlier ones. Since I actually enjoyed all the songs on this album, instead of pointing out which ones were my favorites, I’ll just give you a brief description of what I thought about each song.
- “Mr. Know It All” – Reminded me instantly of “Miss Independent” from her Thankful (2003) album the minute I heard it.
- “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – I only recently became tired of this song because the radio picked this one up at some point to overplay. I think this is one of those songs that’s more “new Kelly.”
- “Dark Side” – Kind of sounded like “Stronger” to me.
- “Honestly” – Sort of reminded me of “Save You” from herAll I Ever Wanted (2009) album, though not completely.
- “You Love Me” – Speaking of All I Ever Wanted, this song seemed like a mesh of “All I Ever Wanted” and “Don’t Let Me Stop You” from the same album.
- “Einstein” – One of her songs that seems more “new Kelly.” I don’t really know how to describe the difference in sound though.
- “Standing In Front Of You” – I think this is more of her more recent style; it’s like how I imagine “Stronger” or “Dark Side” would sound slowed down.
- “I Forgive You” – There’s bits of the instrumental that sounds like “Since U Been Gone,” but other than that this is a track that seems to reflect more of her newer style.
- “Hello” – Some of this track sounded really similar to “Don’t Waste Your Time” from her My December (2007) album.
- “The War Is Over” – Kind of sounded like a mesh of “Mr. Know It All” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes” from her Breakaway (2004) album.
- “Let Me Down” – I think this is more her new style, but part of the song sounded like a sped up, “chick” version of OneRepublic’s “Secrets.”
- “You Can’t Win” – This song reminded me a little of All-American Reject’s “Dirty Little Secret” with the instrumental at the beginning, and then like a faster (and very slightly similarly sounding) version of Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down.” (Nowhere near as great though, so don’t worry Dashboard fans, I’m not trying to be insulting.)
- “Breaking Your Own Heart” – I swear there is a song out there that sounds like part of this song. If only I could remember it off the top of my head…but I can’t. I tried to Google for it, but unfortunately I only remember a small sliver of the lyrics, and I actually think I’m remembering the lyrics wrong because I can’t seem to find the song anywhere. The part that I thought I remembered went “the way they are I wish you were,” but I can’t remember anything else. Bah! Can someone help me out here? Or are the lyrics I remember so wrong that it’s impossible to trace the song? Haha. Maybe if someone listens to a sampling of “Breaking Your Own Heart,” they’ll miraculously think the same thing and be able to tell me.
- “Don’t You Want To Stay (feat. Jason Aldean)” – A very typical country sound, in my opinion anyway. Again, I know there’s an artist or band out there that this song really reminds me of, but I can’t seem to think of it right now.
- “Alone” – Sort of reminded me of the way she sang “Long Shot” from her All I Ever Wanted album.
- “Don’t Be A Girl About It” – Sounded similar to “I Forgive You” off this album.
- “The Sun Will Rise” – I think this one definitely sounded like it’s more her newer style. I also wasn’t really reminded of any other songs while listening to this, unlike the rest of the songs on this album.
One of the songs also reminded me a little of Katy Perry’s music, but I can’t remember which one of these made me feel that way off the top of my head at the moment.
Here’s how I rate this album overall:
Quality of Music: ***
CD Cover Art: ***
Re-playability of Songs: ***
OVERALL GRADE: B
Obviously this album fell short in certain areas (originality being an example), but I did enjoy this album regardless. Oddly enough though, as much as this was an album where I enjoyed all the songs, I found it strangely hard to listen to on repeat for more than three cycles, which is usually pretty unusual for me. It usually takes about 30-40 times of replay (so usually about a month or two?) before I get sick of a playlist. That wasn’t the case with this album though, which is curious because this is one album where I didn’t feel like I had to skip around the CD. Then again I am kind of a quirky person so I guess it makes some kind of logical sense in a Twilight Zone kind of way. Haha.
Anyway, while we’re still on the subject of Kelly Clarkson, here’s a quick list of my favorite songs from all her previous albums, for anyone who’s interested:
- Thankful (2003) – “Miss Independent”
- Breakaway (2004) – “Breakaway,” “Since U Been Gone,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” “Gone,” “Walk Away,” and “You Found Me”
- My December (2007) – “Never Again,” “Don’t Waste Your Time,” “Haunted,” and “How I Feel”
- All I Ever Wanted (2009) – “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “I Do Not Hook Up,” “Don’t Let Me Stop You,” “All I Ever Wanted,” “Already Gone,” “Long Shot,” “Ready,” and “I Want You”
I think just one more entry before I wrap things up for the day, so see you all again in a little while!