Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Track By Track Review: Kelly Clarkson - Greatest Hits: Chapter One

What better way to review an artists entire career by reviewing their Greatest Hits album? Kelly's album hasn't and probably won't experience the longevity of Pink's similar platinum selling set. This album debuted at No.11 on Billboard with 75,000 sold, and has sold 415,000 copies so far. Expect a Gold record by the end of the year.

Since U Been Gone: Everything about this song is genius, down to the key signature. The crashing guitars and drums make this baby universal, rockers may head bang with no guilt, while pop fanatics can blast their windows to pieces playing this at maximum volume on their speakers. No matter how bad-ass you think you are, I guarantee, when Kelly screams "SINCE U BEEN GONE," you will too. A++

My Life Would Suck Without You: Following up an earth shaker like Since U Been Gone with another like 'Life' was a big mistake. Someone is going to whiplash. Already a crazy amount of energy has been thrown into the album. Well, this gem is pretty much perfect as well, except for the vocal-less bridge. C'mon, no Kelly power notes? A+

Miss Independent: Oh god. Another head banger, kind of. Miss Independent is a mixed bag, it has a lot of potential, if only Kelly would've ripped this song apart with her chords, without it, it feels kind of hollow. It's only a guitar riff and Christina, I mean Kelly, and the tempo is killing things too. But that chorus... B

Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You): So RCA has already pumped out Kelly's 3 biggest songs into the first 4 tracks. Why? Anyways, Stronger is like Gone, you have to sing-along to the chorus, its almost like brain washing (even if the lyrics are pretty bland). Petition for Stronger to become the new national anthem? No? A+

Behind These Hazel Eyes: Hot damn. It's such a shame this masterpiece was overshadowed by its predecessor, because Hazel Eyes is every bit as good. Great lyrics, great chorus, EXCEPTIONAL vocals, you can't say anything bad about it. You just can't. A++

Because of You: Some people have criticized the lyrics for sounding too childish, but that's the beauty of them. It makes them more raw, and it makes Kelly's past heart break more palpable. It's a powerful piece of work. A+

Never Again: Again, the track listing is a bit iffy. Probably the most forgotten song of Kelly's career. It's a shame, cause this song is pretty bad-ass. She's angry, and though she may not break your bones, her words hurt. "If she really knows the truth / she deserves you." Get an ice pack before that burn leaves a scar. A

Already Gone: The eternal question lives on, "Halo or Already Gone?" Already Gone wins for sure. Better lyrics, better delivery, it's a much more powerful piece than Halo. Kelly Clarkson, the master of the ballad. A++

Mr. Know It All: It's not bad, but it's not great. On an album like this, Know It All sinks behind the scenes of all the other stand outs. But it can still get stuck in your head like I don't even know what. B-

Breakaway: The song that saved Kelly's career. Simply put, it's simply beautiful. Nothing about it is over the top, her vocals are fairly restrained, the lyrics aren't complex, yet it comes off as mysteriously beautiful. A+

Don't You Wanna Stay (Feat. Kelly Clarkson): Kelly's first blatant Country song. The lyrics are far from original, but Kelly's voice blows the roof off this Aldean track. B+

Walk Away: Sassy, sassy, sassy. Another instant sing-along. A-

Catch My Breath: Shouldn't this have been the last track on the album? It would've closed everything beautifully, since this song is essentially a summary of the album. Anyways, it's amazing in the way that it starts off with very little, before stealthily morphing into a stunning power ballad. A+

People Like Us: Hardly original, think Born This Way, but designed more towards destroying the dance-floor. The lyrics are better than the horrifyingly mainstream production, and Kelly's subdued vocal performance. But somehow, it still manages to be charming. A-

Don't Rush (Feat. Vince Gill): Kelly's been declawed! She's not screaming with vengeance or belting the song to death, which makes it pretty boring. And is Vince Gill really a featured artitst, or is he just a background singer? C-

A Moment Like This: This also could have served as the final track. Not necessarily powerful per say, but it still might leave you with a baby tear (though not a full out wreck like Because of You). It can easily be written off as cliché, but Kelly's honest delivery makes it more believable. B

I'll Be Home For Christmas: Yet again, the track listing is ridiculous for 2 reasons, 1) by putting this song at the end, it feels like a bonus track rather than anything else, 2) this was hardly a hit was it? How did this make the track list but not a superior hit like I Do Not Hook Up? As for the song itself, dont expect it to replace the original any time soon. D+

Bonus Track - Miss Independent (Live): Daaannnngggg. This could easily replace the original, that funky tempo is scrapped, and Kelly belts the thing to death. Christina may have wrote it, but Kelly can SANG it.

My only real complaint is that the track listing is pretty abysmal. They chose the right tracks (with the exception of 'Christmas'), but they put all the crowd pleasers at the front, which means that there is very little to look forward too at the end. And it also doesn't provide a smooth transition in any sense, Because of You goes to Never Again? My Life goes to Miss Independent? But it is all bearable, because Kelly is just that damn good.

(It is really hard to grade this album, since it is so diverse, but I'll try to break it down)
Vocals: A++++++++++++++++++
Lyrics: B
Instrumentation: N/A
Overall: A-