[box] This series highlights an artist who is back for another victory lap. You see, just having the platform to make an impact on pop culture at any given moment is the win! Rather or not it charts, you are still listening, watching and staying entertained…[/box]
When I say Kelly Clarkson, what comes to your mind? American Idol? Catchy pop music? A powerful vocalist who just had a baby? All common and accurate thoughts, Clarkson released her latest LP Piece By Piece (6th effort in total to her catalog) on March 3, 2015. Fans of her work will find this effort right in line with her previous albums over the past 10+ years. Clarkson is consistent and does not stray into that “reinvention” mode like many pop starlets. This sometimes alienates the loyal followers, which Clarkson does not lack. It is her powerful voice that soars on so many tracks of this cohesive collection.
There is a positive vibe on several tracks like ‘Dance with Me’ has the potential to be a #1 hit just like the second single from her last effort, Stronger. Its building chorus makes you want to impulsively break out in dance. It is a reminder of the power that ‘Since You Been Gone’ (even today) has at any party of bar when that guitar riff is heard. Other great tracks for your marathon run or immediate need for a pick-me-up are the title track, ‘Piece by Piece, ‘Invincible’ and ‘Second Wind.’ Clarkson has a way of pushing out negative energy and uplifting her listeners to keep on moving in the direction of their wildest dreams. With lyrics like, “Say what you want about me. Your words are gasoline on my fire,” Clarkson successfully gets the listener back on track to achieve their inner greatness. Having worked hard for what is a very successful career, Clarkson has always been one to stand her ground in regards to her critics and label execs (we all remember the My December era and her choice feelings about Clive Davis, right?).
‘Someone’ and ‘Run Run Run’ featuring John Legend reflect relationship woes with more subdued tonality and reflective lyrics. Fans of ‘Already Gone’ from the All I Ever Wanted will like the track ‘In the Blue’ or just think it is a safe repeat to a formula she has consistently followed since the Breakaway album days. Clarkson often says she is not perfect, and this album might have some sleepier moments that cause you to skip onto the next song. However, no one can deny the emotional connection she brings to each and every song. Even if this album does not chart multi-platinum singles, it is a great addition to the catalog of an accomplished artist in a world full of forgettable micro-moments and a musical landscape so different from the era of American Idol: Season 1. Kudos to Ms. Clarkson and we look forward to a supporting tour (be sure to bring baby River Rose, or at least some pictures) in 2015!