Let it Rock: Welcome Back, Kelly Clarkson!
All the musicians featured in this week’s Let it Rock have been on the music scene for quite a while. They’re not newcomers in the least bit, which means their fans are sure to have some strong opinions about their newest albums. (Duh, don’t music lovers always have strong opinions about their favorites?) It’s also the chance for the artists to get some new fans that might have never heard them. You know, those youngsters.
But the most important thing is….Kelly Clarkson is back!! OMFG! Wahooo!
Kelly Clarkson- All I Ever Wanted
I was a pretty big fan of Kelly Clarkson from the start. I loved her on American Idol and was thrilled that she separated herself from the show and became a complete star in her own right. I was pretty disappointed when I heard how awful her album was last year and didn’t really fall in love with the first single “My Life Would Suck Without You” from her new album, All I Ever Wanted. I just wasn’t feeling it and wasn’t too psyched for the album as a whole. But then I listened to the rest of it and realized I couldn’t stop listening. It is amazingly awesome! The album is the perfect mix of slow “Because of You” type ballads and fun “Since U Been Gone” pop songs. While she’s still distinctly Kelly, I heard traces of Leona Lewis in “Already Gone” and even Carrie Underwood in “Ready” and “All I Ever Wanted,” showing that Americans truly know what they want in an idol: a huge vocal range and lots of fun. Katy Perry and American Idol judge Kara Dioguardi teamed up to write “I Do Not Hook Up,” which isn’t my favorite song on the album, but I can definitely see the younger kids singing along. “I Want You” brings a bit of a Duffy’s bouncy touch to the album and shows Kelly’s wide range of versatility. Kelly is most definitely back on her game and I’m pretty sure this album is going to be huge.
Chris Cornell- Scream
I’ve heard the name Chris Cornell being thrown around quite a bit over the years, but have never taken the time to listen to him. So while I can’t compare his new album, Scream, to his previous works, I can say I’m completely in love with it. But in looking at other reviews, I see that his older fans aren’t thrilled with this new album, which made me wonder how I would feel about the old Chris. When I learned he used to be the frontman for Soundgarden (seriously, I don’t know where I’ve been that I didn’t know this), I saw how different Scream sounds from Chris’s Soundgarden days. I enjoy the album because each song blends into the next perfectly and Cornell’s voice is still the same as it’s always been. Scream is the ideal album to listen to while you’re doing absolutely anything. The lyrics aren’t anything to write home about and I probably wouldn’t just sit and listen to the album, but I think having it on in the background while I worked, actually made me more productive. The album was also produced by Timbaland, which makes it exponentially cooler in my book. My favorite tracks on the new album are “Never Far Away” and the title track “Scream.” So I think the album is a go, but check back with me in a few weeks after I start listening to Chris Cornell’s other stuff and find I prefer that. In any event, Scream helped Cornell get at least one new fan: me.
New Found Glory- Not Without a Fight
While I used to be a punk fan back in my junior high and high school days, I think those times have mostly passed. So it took me a lot to get into New Found Glory’s new album, Not Without a Fight. They definitely sound more grown up than many of the other punk groups, which makes sense since they are in fact older. I think my problem with New Found Glory is that I find myself having to listen to their albums over and over before I can tell one song from another. On the same token, I like that they never succumb to the pop-like, cheesy lyrics some punk bands are into. In a way, you could say New Found Glory absolutely refuses to “sell out,” which I truly respect. I enjoy “I’ll Never Love Again” because it sets itself apart from the other songs with a bit of “yelling” that really fits in. “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down” is another standout for me with its lyrics, “It’s time that I rain on your parade/Watch as all your hopes explode/To landmines/You ask for help but people turn away.” You’re sure to like “Tangled Up,” once you hear that it features vocals from Paramore’s Haley Williams, but the problem is her part is so subtle, you can barely hear her. While I’ll probably never be a huge New Found Glory fan, I definitely understand why their fans are so loyal and why with their sixth studio album, they’re still going strong.