Monday, June 25, 2007

Kelly Clarkson - My December (RCA)

It’s been pretty heavily covered in the media that Kelly Clarkson’s been through the wringer of late. A tour cancelled due to meagre ticket sales, numerous snaps insinuating she’s enjoyed the occasional pie, being dragged back onstage to perform at the American Idol finale (obviously a hardship for such a credible artist).

And we can’t forget that she’s been at loggerheads with her record company in some apparent attempt to maintain the integrity of third album My December. All credit to her for standing her ground, especially as the label backed down and let her make the album she was so desperate to make. But after all the kerfuffle, you wonder what the fuss was about. Seriously love, THIS is what you were fighting for?

My December is a painful hour’s worth of unrelenting, chronic whinging owning precisely no trace of true personality. There’s bitterness with no real bile, there’s guitars for the sake of guitars, and most noticeably, a desperate need of a backbone. It’s as though Rosie Ribbons woke up one day and decided to be Evanescence. Not just Amy Lee, but all five members.

Thankfully, the non-rock screechings take a breather for a couple of tracks, but there still remains little to get excited about. Irvine is a frail folk lament, while remove the guitar from the drippy Be Still, and it could be the filler of an R&B Love Songs compilation.

Perhaps Kelly is actually an intelligent, musically-adept, authentic performer, and somehow that got severely lost in the translation. But even if we assume this to be true (which it’s not), there’s still no detracting from the fact that My December is barely listenable. Empty, inexpressive caterwauling deserving of condemnation to the cut-price racks of service stations for all eternity.

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