Full Review: All I Ever Wanted (Deluxe edition), Kelly Clarkson

First off,  I have to remark again that I love the woman, I highly respect the woman, I agree with many that Kelly Clarkson has the most raw flat-out talent than anyone else in the industry today. With that said, understand that because of this respect I will be raw honest in all my opinions and comments in respect to her. I have always felt the nicest, kindest thing you could ever do for anyone is to give them your full honesty.

Did that set this up negatively? LOL I hope not. Because let me say that over-all her 4th album is far better than it’s average-pop opener single. Yes, her first single, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, has done extremely well here and abroad and that is just as I expected from my previous review. I stated that the music for the single sounds like it was taken verbatim from a wal-mart keyboard demo. And I stand by that. I also stated that the song is catchy as all hell and you can dance to it – this will make it a fun concert song and also means we’ll be hearing it forever in the grocery store, mall, …everywhere. So, even though the song is “average-pop” – good job Kelly on hitting the marker on that. The most important thing to understand here is  that the Pop world isn’t looking for greatness – they’re waiting to be sold exactly what they’ve been sold before, what they’ve agreed to being sold, packaged differently. So, in this world, “average pop” is a highly marketable, popular thing. That’s “good”. Catchy and well-sung means insta-success.

2) “I Do Not Hook Up”: This is a Katy Perry song, and it’s a good song. It is very similar in feel to the first song, on par with it in pop-i-ness, catchiness, likely to be a hit-ness among the very same crowd(ness). The message in the song is high above average, it’s an outstanding anthem. However, I am very very disappointed (can I put “very” in there a few more times?) that Kelly Clarkson changed _the best lyric in the song_!! I can’t believe that. I’m almost disgusted about it. The song was *great* before – as Katy wrote it, but sadly Kelly took it down a notch by changing the most raw, in-your-face flat-out awesome line into something quite bland. The KP line of greatness was “keep your thing in your pants and your heart on your sleave”. Greatness, right? That line is like a rabbit-punch to the gut. Makes every man say “Ooohhhh!” LOL. heh heh. Kelly nixed it and went for the bland “keep your hand in my hand and your heart on your sleave”. Much less powerful, right? That statement doesn’t hit you, stand out to you in any way. That’s normal – not the thing that makes you scream it from the window of your car to the guys in the next one over. I *totally* would have been screaming this song, that line, from my car (with a grin) to innocent passers-by. Alas, they are saved, as the greatness was removed from the song to make it a “good” song (not “great”). I’m sure it will still be a big hit, with the same number of people (in fact, the very same people) that “My Life…” is. Kelly has expressed that this song is likely to be her second single, and I do feel that would be a mistake. It definitely is a single, has single quality to it, but as the second single would not be the highest level of success she could do – a) it’s too similar in tone and level as the first single from the album and that will, sure, keep her big fans from that first song BUT b) it will cause a vast audience more that Kelly could reach to tune-out prematurely…because there’s another GREAT song on the album that would make a far *smarter* pick as a second single (more on that, later when we come to it).

3) “Cry”. The song has good lyrics – that’s the thing I’d say, over all, on this album: every song on it is at least good (if not great) in lyrical quality. She did a helluva job in that. Give the woman a fat paycheck! I would not say that about even “My December”, which had  great, deep content, even if some more work needed to be done here and there. There’s at least one song on that previous album I can’t say anything quite positive about (“Yeah” –  sorry). This album does not have that. Every song on this album has good lyrics. Moving beyond that, this song starts out with a sharp Country twang which made me instantly knee-jerk reaction hit “fast forward” on the first try. S’just not my thing. However, do listen to it past that initial twang, because it does tone-down the Country and gets better. It’s still not an outstanding song in sound, but it does at least stay on-par with Average Pop, which means if the AvPop masses can forgive the flexes of Country twang, it will be very popular and accepted indeed. It will make for a good, sappy video.

4) “Don’t Let Me Stop You”: I really like the chorus in this song. Very good. Catchy and pop. It’s a good song, and this is where to start to listen a little more carefully to the album. It’s still not great, but it’s definitely a sell and something I’ll listen to, feel no compulsion to fast forward through. I suspect the song will grow on me even more, and I love the lyrics. It’s not quite a single, it could be, it may be, but doesn’t quite have the same `single’ qualities that some of the other songs do. It’s a great support song on the album, because you’ll never fast forward and likely dig the lyric message in the song just as much as I do, it’s an easy to agree with message.

5) “All I Ever Wanted”: The opening of this song is where I stopped doing everything else in the background and put my full attention on the album. I closed out the game I was (attempting) to play while listening through the album the first time. Right here, I gave up on the game completely and just became absorbed in listening. Here is where I knew my (very poor and unemployed) money had been well-spent. Kelly has stated before that this was the first song she chose for the album, and liked it enough to name the album after it, and I can see why. That said, it’s not quite a “single” or at least it doesn’t have the typical `single’ qualities to it, but it is a great song, a jamming good listen and fills you with warmth and appreciation for the womans talent. It could pass as a single if she decided to do it, just on merit of it being a great song alone, though it’s not the best pick for a single. I can definetely see naming the album after it, hell it’s what makes you really start to listen to the album. Thank you, Kelly.

6) “Already Gone”. The previous song got you ready for it, and this is where the “Greatness” bell truely rings. This song nearly made me cry the very first time I listened to it. It’s because she puts so much emotion into her voice…she’s singing *her* words, and she obviously really means them. This woman is an emotional powerhouse, when she sits right down to it. This song instantly makes you wistful, thoughtful and has you meaning every word of it to someone even if you’ve never experienced the situation. That’s the mark of a truely great artists. The level of emotion Kelly gives us in her voice in this song  is addictive enough you have to hit “rewind” and go again. This is the first song I’ll learned the words to, just because it’s so beautiful, so powerful. Well done! Give that woman some fine whiskey, a warm smile and a big hug.

As for whether or not this song should be a single (funny how I instantly can think in `industry’ terms even though I’m not industry lol) – I remain slightly torn on that. My only concern is that the song might be *too* powerful, too emotional, too personal, for the masses to grab onto as a single. If it were followed by an absolutely great video – the song could be unstoppable. It could be the anthem for every dissipating relationship. Male and female alike can sing along to it, somber and wishful and taking in your breath for a goodbye you’re sad about, but know has to happen. It’s very relatable because Kelly brings into herself, fully, for the duration. Again, accompanied by a strong video, this could be a single. I wouldn’t say right off, if that’s the decision, it’s something you have to build to in releases. This will be the slow dance song at proms, and a mistake to play at a wedding (lol).

7) “If I Can’t Have You”: This song made me unplug my headphones…. and plug in my speakers! I instantly jumped up to dance (startling my cat). It made me want to run right down to all the local clubs and request it. Then I realized, of course, they probably don’t have it yet. This is a stand-out song. Kelly has stated before that this is one of her favorite songs on the album, and I really wish she would listen to herself sometimes (, dammit). This song should be Kelly Clarkson’s second album single. Why? Because it will successfully *keep* all her fans from the first single, but extend her reach substantially into a new group – the group that’s on the sidelines of pop (which I fit into), that doesn’t dig the “AvPop” thing but waits to hear something Great. The garbage-like core grabbing greatness that we insatiably seek. There is a very sexy quality to this song – it’s got a sensuality to it (without trying for it), a fiery passion in it that’s just sexy. It sounds like Kelly’s on the verge of just reaching out, straddling someone and singing it right to their face (please don’t, you straddling someone might give me a heart attack…I’m only human for godssakes ;’). Hell I even worked out to this song today, because it’s upbeat enough you can take it to the gym with you, too.

It’s important to grab that second, even wider audience quickly – the audience that already has an ear open for Kelly Clarkson because yes, she has impressed them before (even if they hadn’t bought anything yet) and they’ve agreed that she has undeniable talent, even if their sheepish in their admittance. This song will make them buy the album. However, if you don’t grab them quickly enough, if you put out another “average good” hit song instead, they’ll tune out and you’ll risk missing them completely. In short, I fucking love this song. It’s still got that uber-catchiness to it that makes a single, and I was singing along by the second chorus. Go with your instincts on this one Kelly and get it out there!

8 ) “Save You”: This song has a powerful chorus. It’s very pretty. I wouldn’t say it’s a `single’, necessarily, but it’s a good strong song. It’s something I’m singing along with (okay the bad grammer does catch me and make me wince LOL), and I’ll listen to in repeats in just the right mood or moment. It does have an odd piano break that doesn’t quite perfectly fit into the flow, but that’s okay it’s beautiful anyway. The beginning guitar chords are strangely reminiscient of the Sundays, somehow, and since that’s my longtime favorite over-all band Kelly caught my attention with the sweet sound of it right off. I could definetely see this song on a movie soundtrack, and I do hope they shop it around as such. It would take an emotional point in a movie and make it even more so. And, oddly enough, I could earnestly see Kelly singing this chorus to every one of her fans for whatever stuff in their life they may be going through – I’m sure she wishes she could save you somehow from it or at least that earnestness bleeds through in her voice. “It’s gonna be alright.”.

9) “WHYYAWANNABRINGMEDOWN”: This is the song I was most anxious to hear on the album, because I had heard Kelly mention it as having a sortof “British Punk” feel to it. She’s stated this will be the song on the album that many people don’t like. And I agree with her on that. Most of her younger audience won’t “get it”. Those of us who are older will be pushing past them to get down to the mosh pit. *wide grin*. This is the song that makes me beg the almighty above, who…aside from world poverty, global warming and various plagues, might possibly be interested in my own personal happiness… to please, please, do not let me miss Kelly in concert this time around (!). And put me down in front, dammit, where I can at least wish there was a mosh pit for the song. True, an actual mosh pit might not be the most practical thing at a Kelly Clarkson concert, as all the tweens trying to be cool would quickly suffer parent-worrying injuries. What brings the widest grin to my face in this song, is the sheer fact that Kelly sticks to a strong Brit-Punk style of singing that just proves she can do it. I just love that about her. I once saw that clip of her singing a scream metal song at some concert of hers, and even though that’s serious not my genre, I posted the clip everywhere and was super happy about it just because Kelly’s so in-your-face I-can-do-it. LOL She fucking pulls it off, even though if someone had told you she was going to do it, you would say “No way.”. Go go Kelly. This is a GREAT song that has me on my feet  jumping and shaking my head (but then again, I like Brit Punk just like she does so go figure). My gods this song will be _so_ _much_ _FUN_ at a concert!!! She may have to just do it twice, to fill us. I think the people who can’t stand this song going in, will come out with a heartfull of it, begging for more, when she does it in concert.

10) “Long Shot”: This song… this song…it’s a good song. However, it does sound like Kelly Clarkson doing a cover of a Katy Perry song, instead of making it feel like a song of her own. She’s hardcore channeling Katy Perry in the song, and I didn’t even have to look at the credits to realize who wrote this song. She sounds just like Katy Perry in it, which is strange, because Kelly has a far stronger, more beautiful voice than her. However, I do really like the song, it’s a very good song. It’s very catchy, it’s compelling to sing along to, it has emotion in it and I know at some point I’ll hit rewind to go again. All in all, though, I don’t know why they didn’t just put Katy Perry’s demo version of it on the album instead of making Kelly sing it. If that’s what they wanted. If she released this song as a single right now, she would honestly cause a lot of workplace arguments over the fact of `is it Katy Perry singing or could it be Kelly Clarkson’? with various parties swearing to the first (sorry, sweetie).  Hell if *I* hadn’t been listening to it in the progress of a KC album, I would have (at first, anyway, before the chorus) pegged it as Katy Perry singing.

11) “Impossible”: The music at the start of this song catches you, makes you listen. Very good song. I love the ending where she’s saying “Impossible for you, not impossible for me” – strong, powerful. Doesn’t quite have that “catchy” quality of a Single, but a good song none the less. Well done. Some will sing along to it, some won’t.

12) “Ready”: This is where Kelly introduces her “retro pop” feel, and it’s fun. Light, flowing, very much pop but with that slight retro feel to it. Bobbing my head along instantly. Would not make a good Single as it’s weird enough (*grin*) that most of the masses may not instantly get into it. Though it’s a good song, a fun feel to it, I didn’t automatically remember this song after the first listen through to the album. When I looked at the title, I couldn’t recall the song. That doesn’t make it a bad song, it’s still a good song, but does not have that catchy quality to it. But it’s a song I’ll like and listen to long after the album has come out, I’m sure. Great lines “too much of your mouth is like too much sun…how I burn, how I burn” and “I fly like stones…as I break every bone.”.

13) “I Want You”: In this song, Kelly takes her prepper-up retro pop feel and pushes it up a level – and it comes out very, very fun. Almost reminiscent of Madonna’s “True Blue”. Good retro fun feel to it, while being a stronger song altogether. I remembered the chorus when I looked at the title, and smiled to the fun of it. If she makes a video, I hope she’s wearing polka dots and has a lollipop. Just because. And there has to be a malt shop involved, dammit. :’)  I bet the word “you” starts sounding strange to her by the time she’s done singing the song, though, as that happens when you say one word a lot. LOL

14) “If No One Will Listen”: This song, in its words, is clearly a beautiful song to her friends. However, in melody and music it’s kindof typical. It will hit big with the same crowd who loved “A Moment Like This”. They’ll eat this song up.The same people who eat up every R&B ballad that’s put out. The words and her voice are undeniably beautiful, though. The sentiment and feel of it does make a great album end note. But it’s not something I would listen to a lot, it’s a little too “fluffy” in music type for that (for me). I can see why she would choose this song, though, why singing the words would appeal to her – to have it right out there for her friends, who’ve stuck by her.

[Deluxe Edition]

15) “Tip Of My Tongue”: This song has some Single qualities to it, so it’s really a bummer that it only made it onto the Deluxe Edition. The “Oooh” in it is way to Britney Spears, but hey, Britney sells. And Kelly pulls it off. I’d almost be willing to bet that this song was originally written for Spears. It seems like it. However, whereas I don’t like most Britney, I do dig this song and listen to it over again, get into it. It’s catchy, it’s sexy in its beat and it should have been on the main album. It’s perfect in it’s “popular genre” feel, but still a head above it – mostly because the texture of Kelly’s voice is so rich, so versatile, she brings out the catchy chorus very, very well.

16) “The Day We Fell Apart”: Again, I really like the beginning music to this song. It sets a serious emotional tone to it right off, almost nostalgic, then slides into Rock. Yes, rock. Go Kelly. The lyrics are solid, good lyrics…though sometimes a little disturbing (she likes meanness in men? Then again…she’s said she wants Edward from “Twilight” and he’s an overly controlling, not entirely honest, somewhat disrespectful love figure…”hmmm” Kelly LOL). It’s a serious catchy song, though, and again – has some Single qualities to it. Strange that it got passed up on the main album, but I’m guessing the stronger rock kindof quality to it offset it. It’s got a fun, sassy attitude to it though. Wistful, yet sassy.

And there you have my thoughts – which I’m sure are quite dear and precious to you LOL. Over all the album is great. It has a lot of good, viable Singles in it, which I’m sure makes the Label all very happy. At the same time, Kelly managed to keep some *content* in it, some *substance* to the Industry Fluff(tm), and I herald her for that. I totally feel like I owe her a drink just for that alone, though she’s much wealthier than me and can buy the damned drinks herself. ;’) I’ll toast with her, in any case. Kudos, Kelly.

I won’t review the other content in the Deluxe edition, the DVD stuff, as I haven’t watch it yet LOL. It looks (by title) just like a bunch of stuff that’s probably already been on youtube. But that’s fine, it’s nice to have something, anyway. I’m sure the photo gallery included will perk the lusts of all those who think her look for the album is hot (like my male roommate). Me myself – I prefer the woman in her ripped jeans and tank top. No shoes (k I prefer being barefoot too, so there’s that). She’s super sexy that way, when looking most comfortable. But I’m odd that way I know (and I’m o.k. with that :’).

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