Review: Kelly Clarkson, ‘All I Ever Wanted’

Kelly Clarkson, ‘All I Ever Wanted’: Aidin Vaziri | Kelly Clarkson must feel totally defeated. After trying to dislodge herself from the “American Idol” franchise and grab the reins of her career from record company boss Clive Davis with 2007’s downbeat “My December,” she was rewarded with a round slap on the cheek from her fans. It’s not that the self-composed songs on her previous album were terrible; it’s just that no one wanted to hear the woman who sang “Since U Been Gone” with such conviction come back moaning like Alanis Morissette after a bad cup of soy latte. As you can tell from that cover art, all creative decisions for Clarkson’s latest, “All I Ever Wanted,” have been safely returned to the hands of music industry masterminds. The result? An album unabashedly stuffed with second-generation “Since U Been Gone” rewrites – each one more brilliant than the next. Dr. Luke and Max Martin, the guys who wrote the original, even return for the first single, “My Life Would Suck Without You.” Glen Ballard, meanwhile, delivers “Long Shot,” a rabid tune he rightfully took to Katy Perry first. New “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi co-writes the insanely catchy “I Do Not Hook Up.” And OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder brings a hint of introspection to the proceedings with “Save You,” but only briefly. This album is driven by the high-octane melodies and manic hand claps that hit fever pitch with the album’s heavy metal centerpiece, “Whyyawannabringmedown.” As Clarkson giddily wades through the sunshine and retro sheen of the disc’s penultimate song, “I Want You,” it’s easy to think surrender has never sounded so sweet.

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