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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

A “Piece By Piece” Review of Kelly Clarkson’s New Album

On March 3rd, pop artist Kelly Clarkson released her sixth full-length album since she first won American Idol back in 2002, entitled Piece By Piece. Amid the current controversy of Phillip Phillips’ struggle to get out of his contract with Idol‘s 19 Entertainment, it perhaps comes as no surprise that Kelly is a little relieved that this is her last album under the same contract, and is using that opportunity to test the waters on some new sounds.

Back in January, Clarkson released the first song off the album entitled “Heartbeat Song”. The song, which debuted at #37 on the Billboard Charts garnered mixed reviews. Some appreciated the infectious vibe the song had, blending Clarkson’s traditional penchant for motivational pop anthems with a bit of a techno twist. Around the same time, Clarkson hinted that the influences on the album would range from rock to country, and dance to R&B. During her run on Idol and since, Clarkson has more than proven her worth in a variety of genres, joining the likes of Reba and Jason Aldean for country hits and covering a different song every night during the tour for her last album, including such songs as Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and Radiohead’s “Creep.”

kelly clarkson piece by piece

Clarkson’s controversial album cover. [Credit: 19 Entertainment]

But Clarkson made it very clear on a recent interview with Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon, that finding duet partners wasn’t easy for this album (and sang a few awesome duets with Fallon himself). In fact, only one song on the entire album features another artist, but we’ll get to that soon. So the question is, how would Clarkson’s experiment into other genres work out for her?

As she released individual songs in the days preceding the album, it quickly became clear just how diverse the album would be. Day One saw a motivational mid-tempo jam with girl-power undertones penned by current “It Girl” Sia entitled “Invincible“. On Day Two, Clarkson added the title track “Piece By Piece“, a catchy song that compares a deadbeat father figure to her current husband Brandon Blackstock, son of Reba MacIntyre. By Day Three, I was wondering where Clarkson’s self-proclaimed “diversity” was. The songs were good, typical to her sound but perhaps this was a smart move on her part to silence the skepticism that followed after “Heartbeat Song.”

Day Three and Four, however, saw the release of my favorite tracks on the album, both of which hit the listener hard with Clarkson’s raw talent. On Day Three, Clarkson released her duet with John Legend, entitled “Run Run Run.” The angst and passion behind the song is what helps build the great dynamic that starts with Legend’s signature piano chords and ends in an electric guitar-driven melody that leaves you wanting more. Day Four took us back to the techno roots of “Heartbeat Song” with a track that, I would argue, exceeds in its quality entitled, “Take You High.” The song is easily the most infectious earworm of the bunch, which might have been why Clarkson made the decision to hold off on it until a few days in.

The final release that I heard before the album, was an emotional ballad penned by up-and-comer Matthew Koma entitled “Someone.” The song was another good return to Clarkson’s typical style: Well-written lyrics with the emotions and the voice to back it up.

So, needless to say, I was excited to hear what the other half-or-so of the album had in store for us when it finally started to download onto my iPod last night. Primarily, I did not regret my decision to opt for the deluxe edition. The extra tracks, entitled “Bad Reputation,” “In The Blue,” and “Second Wind” are three of my favorite offerings from Clarkson this time around—each with its own vibe ranging from ethereal (“In The Blue”) to motivational (“Second Wind”) to ‘don’t mess with me’ (“Bad Reputation”), but before the end of the album, Clarkson adds another great track to her roster in “Nostalgic” which borrows some classic 80’s synth, while still delivering a rock-tinged angsty ballad that would make the girls of Heart proud.

Overall, the album has its moments where I would have preferred to have Clarkson herself write the songs, but she opted to take a backseat this time around to focus on her family without sacrificing her love of music and, to me, that’s both honorable and a big risk that mostly paid off. I personally think the album has enough tracks that will stand alone as radio singles and drive the album’s sales over the next few months while still satisfying loyal fans like myself.

Piece By Piece is now available in-stores, and online at digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, and streaming online at Spotify. Keep up with the first American Idol on her official website, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Now that you’ve heard my take on the album, sound off in the comments below and let me know what you think of it. Which tracks do you love? Any you could do without? And come back tomorrow morning at 11AM for my review of American Idol’s Top 12 Guys Motown performances and eliminations tonight.

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6 Comments on “A “Piece By Piece” Review of Kelly Clarkson’s New Album”

  1. Callie Artime March 4, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve always been a fan of Kelly. “Piece By Piece” and “Run, Run, Run”, are my personal favorites!
    By the way, awesome blog. It interests me :))

  2. Callie Artime March 5, 2015 at 1:07 am #

    Reblogged this on Manic Mentality.

  3. Corey Groves March 27, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    I just wanted to say that I love Kelly Clarkson’s music with all my heart and I want to spend the rest of my life listening to it because her music has been the best thing that has ever happened to me ever since she became the first winner on the first season on the T. V. show, “American Idol” way back in 2002. I would be lost if she ever decides to stop making music because making music is what she lives for. Kelly is one of the most popular and one of the most successful music artists in the music industry and of this generation who has a lot of fans all over the world who really enjoys listening to her music, and I’m also one of them who was born and raised over here in the United States of America. I have all of her previous albums and I bought the deluxe version of her, “Piece By Piece” album at Target when it was released on March 3, 2015. This album should have been certified just like all of her previous albums were because in my personal opinion, I think that it is one of the best Pop albums of 2015. I like Kelly and John Legend’s version of the song, “Run Run Run” a lot better than Tokio Hotels version because they put a lot of emotions into it. I have a lot of respect for her as a music artist because she takes her own music into a different level by adding a perfect mixture of Country, Dance, Pop, R & B, Rock, and Soul to it and not a lot of music artists in the music industry and of this generation can’t really do that when it comes to their own music. I also have a lot of of respect for her as a human being because she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body like my wife, Ashley does. I also think that Kelly looks a lot more prettier than my wife does and I wish that I was married to her instead. If Kelly wasn’t married to Brandon Blackstock and if she didn’t have a child with him, I would divorce my wife in a heartbeat and marry her. Her name would be Kelly Brianne Clarkson-Groves instead of Kelly Brianne Clarkson-Blackstock. I will always guard and protect her heart from all of those haters out there because she connects well with all of her fans out there by being so down to earth and by writing very good lyrics about her own personal life experiences, and that is the reason why they can all relate to her music, just like I can. End of story.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. American Idol XIV: The Top 8 Guys Sing Motown | The Hudsucker - March 5, 2015

    […] Now I want to hear from you. Who gave your favorite performances tonight? Were there any advances that surprised you? Let me know in the poll and comments below. And check out my review of Kelly Clarkson’s new album “Piece By Piece”. […]

  2. Our Top Picks for the Best Albums of 2015 | The Hudsucker - December 30, 2015

    […] The: Clarkson’s album played a significant piece in my music listening activities in 2015. I remember blasting that […]

  3. End of an Era: Bidding Farewell to American Idol | The Hudsucker - April 7, 2016

    […] Album Review: Piece By Piece […]

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