All of Kelly's History You Ever Wanted
Surprisingly, amidst all the publicized drama, rumors of a new album in the works began to surface. I wasn't surprised, being that My December was always more of an artist album than a radio album. It took a while, but eventually the lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You" was released from Clarkson's fourth studio album, All I Ever Wanted.
'All I Ever Wanted' Isn't Really a Dance Album
"If I Can't Have You," penned by Clarkson and OneRepublic singer/songwriter Ryan Tedder also lends itself to the dancefloor, a dark and synth-y melody accompanying lyrics that don't let go. It is definitely a track I could see Jason Nevins taking a stab at. Speaking of Tedder, he also helped Clarkson with a couple of other tracks. "Already Gone" sounds like a Ryan Tedder track to me, percussion-heavy and melancholy. That same feel envelopes "Save You," a track drenched in emotion. But with his tracks, the album makes you wait for the best. "Impossible" is simple and beautiful, pensive piano sprinkled on layers of blues percussion, leading to a heartfelt chorus that is joined with gutsy bass guitars. Quite a good track.
Katy Perry Wants to Help
The source material on the title track "All I Ever Wanted" reminds me of Franz Ferdinand, staccato rhythm guitars and "uhn-tiss" percussion punctuating Kelly's voice, making me imagine some bouncy form of remix. Amping up the energy with "Whyyawannabringmedown," Kelly's voice takes on a jagged edge over top a punky production, successfully pairing the growl of Joss Stone with the rock of Sleater-Kinney. "Don't Let Me Stop You," another surefire radio hit, actually begins in a way that made me think of Our Lady Peace, my favorite band. It has a very visceral rock feel to it, while still being accessible due to Kelly's amazing pipes. "Ready" bops along at a bouncy pace, one of the mildest tracks on the album but probably one of my favorites. It is immediately catchy with a beat that, in my mind, emulates "Happiness" by Goldfrapp. Kelly's vocals aren't nearly as ethereal though, Alison Goldfrapp she is not.
Kelly Slows Down
On a slower note, Kelly has a few really heartrending tracks, kicking off with "Cry." Any song named "Cry" is going to be a slower, more emotional track, and Kelly doesn't let down, singing "Is this what it feels like to really cry?" And finally, "If No One Will Listen" was a serious treat to this listener. Keri Noble wrote the track and produced it in its first commercial form. Originally it was on Keri Noble's Fearless album as the closer. It is such a simple and amazing piano track and it suits Kelly Clarkson's voice so well, despite the lack of Noble's fragile vulnerability. The production is mostly the same, albeit a little heavier for such an immense pop album. Besides "My Life Would Suck Without You," I found myself singing along to only one other track on All I Wanted on first listen, and it was "If No One Will Listen". Whoever got that track on the album was a genius, because the track is brilliant and deserves the attention.
With such a bevy of radio-ready tunes and, of course, Kelly's supremely anthemic voice, we should see a steady string of potential club hits heading our way as long as RCA treats this album like they did Breakaway. Definitely one of the highlight albums of 2009. My only issue with the album as a whole is this tendency to oversaturate the production.
Released March 2009 on Sony/BMG.