Mitchell: Clarkson can ‘get a tad too shrill’

Stronger, the title for for Kelly Clarkson’s new release, appears to be an album of complaints and gripes.

Kelly Clarkson;

Stronger [19/RCA]

Stronger, the title for for Kelly Clarkson’s new release, appears to be an album where the first half complains and gripes about relationships gone wrong while the second half of the album sings the praises of true love.

The second song on this new release references J.P. Sartre’s infamous quip as its title What Ever Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) (sic) that, I guess, is the theme song for this fifth studio album.

At times Clarkson’s vocals can get a tad too shrill as she wails about the unfaithful people in her life but then again most of these songs where written by outside writers so much of these are most likely crocodile tears for effect.

Clarkson has enjoyed a top 10 hit with the radio friendly and hooky good riddance song Mr. Know It All and later Clarkson admonishes and mocks another untrue lover with Einstein—maybe not knowing that the great scientist was notorious for his ill-treatment of his significant other.

Clarkson also tries to cover all bases here to keep her large crossover fan base. There is a touch of hip hop, a couple of power ballads, some understated club music, a lone blast of punk-pop and even a duet with country star Jason Aldean on Don’t You Wanna Stay which is sure to become a country hit.

Fans will want to note that Stronger comes in two editions. There is also a Deluxe Edition that expands on the standard issue and it is on the former where you will find her country duet. I hear a future mainstream adult alt hit coming with the solid You Love Me and its strong appeal.

C+

Happy Feet Two; Soundtrack [Warner]

The soundtrack to this reprise of the animated feature film Happy Feet, Two is a bit of a departure from more recent film related albums. Quite often now a film will generate two albums with the film score and the soundtrack of songs that were in (or inspired) the movie. Happy Feet Two is very lengthy with 23 tracks over 75 minutes where the first nine are actual songs while the remaining tunes are incidental music from the cinematic backdrop.

The biggest selling point here and potential hit is the new original song by Pink (apparently she is spelling it P!nk now) with the life-affirming ballad Bridge Of Light, while the kids to whom this film is mostly aimed might get a kick out of sing-along songs with the Two Feet Chorus for The Trashmen’s Papa Oom Mow Mow and Rawhide from the ’60s TV series of the same name.

Meanwhile, Pink also covers the David Bowie-Queen evergreen Under Pressure.

The opening medley is a head swivelling overly busy mishmash of hits by Janet Jackson, her brother MJ, Sly Stone and others while Janet J’s Rhythm Nation is a recurring theme musically on this combined score and soundtrack.

C+

Pink Floyd; The Best Of, A Foot In The Door [EMI]

Pink Floyd have released many retrospectives and a few multi-album box sets where they have now released more compilations and anthologies than they have actual studio albums.

This new single CD Best Of is maxed out at nearly 80 minutes with 16 tracks which acts as a good introduction to the group and explains the disc title A Foot In The Door given their large back catalogue.

But a Best Of collection is totally subjective and this set has been selected by the band members themselves who, I guess, don’t have a lot of affection for some of their hits where classic radio top 10 staples such as Not Now John, Keep Talking and Take It Back are passed over.

Instead there are dubious additions such as The Great Gig In The Sky, The Fletcher Memorial Home, Eclipse and The Happiest Days Of Our Lives which are included.

A Foot In The Door is being heavily advertised on TV and the band has a huge dedicated following so this disc has made its debut near the top 20 album sales.

But for the truest, subjective Best Of collection the committed fan in the download generation has probably already made their own mixed tape of favourites.

For the retail market this Best Of CD does include smash hits like Money, Another Brick In The Wall (Pink Floyd’s stab at disco back in the ’70s heydays), Comfortably Numb and Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5 but the collection oddly starts off with a whimper with the depressing Hey You and closes with the equally moody Eclipse.

A good starter kit and a handsome bonbon stocking stuffer.

B

Scorpions; Comeblack [Sony]

Germany’s veteran hard rock ensemble Scorpions recently completed a ‘farewell’ tour that went way better than the group had expected with sold out shows and wildly enthusiastic audiences. As a result the band decided to enter the studios to create this memento to their fans where they re-recorded a few of their biggest hits such as Rock You Like A Hurricane, The Zoo, No One Like You and The Wind Of Change.

These songs are not radically re-tooled but the sound is crisp and spare. The real gems here for classic rock fans are the half dozen covers of ’60’s bands that most influenced Scorpions. The take of The Small Faces’ Tin Soldier is superb while there are solid takes of gems such as The Kinks’ All Day And All Of The Night, The Beatles’ Across The Universe, and T.Rex’s Children Of The Revolution.

Passable versions of Ruby Tuesday and the old R&B nugget Tainted Love (an ’80s hit for Soft Cell) round out this set that will please old fans and no doubt be the harbinger for another re-union tour by Scorpions.

C+

mooseman19@telus.net

 

 

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