This review was originally written by Jose Bernardo for www.theweeklyriff.com between 2008 and 2010.
These were Jose’s first impressions of the songs and were not written after multiple spins.
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Album: All I Ever Wanted (2009 RCA)
Artist website: http://www.kellyclarkson.com
Well, what can I say that hasn’t been said before about the first American Idol winner? Nothing. This review is about the music on the CD and not Ms. Clarkson. However, I will say that she has one of the easiest voices to listen to.
On to the stuff on the CD. Just like any big pop record these days, the album features a long list of writers and producers who are on a mission: write the stuff that is full of hooks and people can easily remember.
Did they achieve it? Well, to be completely honest, every song sounds like everything else that is out there and “popular” right now. Will this material transcend the generation growing up with it? Probably not. Should I have expected the songwriting quality to be of the same standard as Joni Mitchell or the Beatles? No.
“If No One Will Listen” (track 14) was produced by Clarkson. It is the best track on the album. I would love to see the record company giving Clarkson a shot at penning and producing a whole album by herself. Somehow, I don’t see that happening…
However, it is a fun pop album and it does what it is supposed to do well: MAKE MONEY with formulated radio friendly music.
If No One Will Listen, Cry, I Want You
PLAY BY PLAY REVIEW
Track 1 – My Life Would Suck Without You
The opening track was penned by Lukasz Gottwald, Claude Kelly, and Max Martin. It has a strong sing-along chorus. But there’s nothing particularly remarkable about this song. It kinda sounds like everything else that’s out there.
Track 2 – I Do Not Hook Up
Penned by Greg Wells, Katy Perry, Kara DiGuardi. Again, this song features a sing-along friendly chorus that was designed for teens driving down the California freeways in their convertibles. The formula is practically the same as the first song.
Track 3 – Cry
The album’s first power ballad. Written by Clarkson, Jason Halbert, and Mark Lee Townsend. I actually like this song. The 6/8 half time feel is very nice and Clarkson sings soulfully on this song.
Track 4 – Don’t Let Me Stop You
Here’s the mid-tempo pop song that weaves a bunch of different sounds. Cool track. Written by Andreas “Quiz” Romdhane, Josef Larossi, Claude Kelly, and Mats Valentin.
Track 5 – All I Ever Wanted
Written by Sam Waters, Louis Biancaniello, and Dameon Aranda. I find it surprising that the title song of the album is one of the more weak songs on the record. It’s not Clarkson’s voice that makes it weak.
Track 6 – Already Gone
Here’s the next power ballad. Written by Clarkson and Ryan Tedder. As sappy and familiar as this song sounds (even if I’m listening to it for the first time as I write this) I really like this song a lot.
Track 7 – If I Can’t Have You
Clarkson and Tedder team up again on this song. The result is an electronically driven pop song. Quite different from “Already Gone”. This song kind of a mix of some elements of late 80’s electronic pop and late 90’s electronic pop. Interesting track.
Track 8 – Save You
Written by Tedder and Aimée Proal. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this track.
Track 9 – Whyyawannabringmedown
Written by Sam Watters, Louis Biancaniello, and Dameon Aranda. The team that wrote track 5 is back with another song. This song is a bit better than “All I Ever Wanted”. It’s got more energy. However, I think it is wasted here. Clarkson is an amazing singer who should play to her strength which is singing. While I am sure that performing this song is challenging vocally – it does little in the way of showcasing the great voice that is Clarkson.
Track 10 – Long Shot
Written by Katy Perry, Glen Ballard, and Matt Thiessen. Again, a radio friendly easy sing-along chorus formula. But there is really nothing immensely remarkable about this song.
Track 11 – Impossible
The team of Clarkson and Tedder is back. It’s pop. It’s got a hook. Interesting arrangement. It breathes.
Track 12 – Ready
I like that this has a cute retro feel to it which gives the album a nice change to the pace. Written by Clarkson, Aben Eubanks, and Jason Halbert. Cool track.
Track 13 – I Want You
Written by Clarkson and Joaking Åhlund. Another cute retro feel song with a minimalistic approach. Well done!
Track 14 – If No One Will Listen
This is my favorite on the whole album.
Track 15 – Tip Of My Tongue
Written by Clarkson and Tedder. Interesting song that goes in the direction of modern hip/hop and r&b.
Track 16 – The Day We Fell Apart
Written by Watters, Biancaniello, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Harry Zelnick, and Alexander Chiger. I am amused to see that there are six writers credited for writing this one song because Beethoven and Mozart were capable of much better by themselves. This says a lot about what music has become. It is mass produced for the singular goal of making money. How can six writers not write something better!