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Single Review: Kelly Clarkson – Mr. Know It All

Photo: Chapman Baehler

Almost a decade has ticked by since we first saw Kelly Clarkson debut on American Idol – the contest that sowed the seeds of her promising career. Achieving overwhelming success with her sophomore effort ‘Breakaway’, topping the charts around the world with single ‘Since U Been Gone’ among many others and working endlessly to better herself as both a performer and songwriter, Clarkson is understandably one of the prime examples that reality tv can unearth raw talent.

Her first release from upcoming album ‘Stronger’, is the midtempo track ‘Mr. Know It All’. First things first, this is definitley a grower. Most of us may have expected Kelly to slam her foot on the accelerator and unleash a single alike her signature tunes ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ and the previously referenced ‘Since U Been Gone’ – two hook-laden rock anthems that we’ve come to expect from Kelly, but this is certainly not taking that route.

The track sounds like your typical Clarkson ballad with acoustic guitars and an understated but sensational vocal performance, particularly in the flawless final chorus when Kelly’s adlibs have a chance to shine. The conviction of Kelly’s vocals seem to embody the essence of the album, ‘Stronger’, and as they lead us to the refrain, the track descends into a downplayed chorus that evokes references to The Script’s ‘For The First Time’.
 
With this track, it feels like Clarkson is taking a look back at her discography and providing a bridge between the emotionally dense ‘My December’ and the controversially-commercial ‘All I Ever Wanted’. It looks like this album (as this track exemplifies) brings a happy medium approach as it retains the honesty that many admired about her third effort but keeps her name firmly in the charts and on the radio.

‘Mr. Know It All’ sounds like the older sister of fan-favourite ‘Breakaway’, taking her mature approach to songwriting and proving how much she has grown as an artist whilst retaining the idiosyncrasies that have secured her place as one of America’s sweethearts and one of the best loved US imports elsewhere.

Photo: Chapman Baehler
Words: Simon McMurdo

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