Likes: Honestly, Mr. Know it All, You Can’t Win, The War is Over, Dark Side
Dislikes: I Forgive You, Don’t Be a Girl About It, The Sun Will Rise
Overall: Suffers from indifference, unmoving. Just an ok album.
Although Kelly Clarkson’s 5th album, “Stronger,” is much better than the previous, record-exec suffocated “All I Ever Wanted,” it fails to leave a lasting impression. “Stronger” isn’t trash, but it isn’t magnificent either. Missing emotional potency, the album seems a bit impersonal and unfeeling, causing some of the songs to sound generic. The most formulaic track is “I Forgive You,” a musically reminiscent compilation of Clarkson’s prior hits, like “Since You’ve Been Gone.” The production has an edgier, more aggressive texture than what’s typically heard in pop/rock, but isn’t attention-grabbing. The softer portions of the album are country influenced (“Breaking Your Heart,” “Don’t You Want to Stay”). Aside from a few elementary and awkward moments, the lyrics are firm. My biggest issue with the lyrics is that the breakup material just isn’t believable; Clarkson doesn’t sell it well, lacking angst or anger and sounding almost too cheery. However, her rugged, soulful chops are still present and pleasing to the ear. In the end, “Stronger” is, at minimum, likable, but it’s kind of bland and unremarkable.