Kelly Clarkson: My December
Politics and music in the music industry have had a complicated long-lasting marriage. Question that? Just check the eve of Clarkson's My December (RCA) release. Shes canceled a tour, fired her manager, and stories of her effort to release this "un-commercial" album flooded the media waves just as much as the album itself. Though Clive Davis' dislike of the album is questionable, was it a ruse so media would authenticate Clarkson as an artist creating a genuine art form? Who knowswho cares.Un-commercial? My December is anything but, commercializing 80's pop, folk, and grunge. Clarkson's post break-up wrangles are felt in "Sober," "Be Still," and "Irvine," showcasing the probability that My December will be this generations Tragic Kingdom in the lyrical and concept sensenot in its catchiness. Angst teenagers will soak this up. It's made for those fans that have been with Clarkson since her reigning day on American Idol.As "un-commercial" as My December might be considered, songs like How I Feel, One Minute, Dont Waste Your Time, and the ska-tinged Yeah will be the albums saving grace from the label dubbed by Davis himself. But coming from a prior album that held a track listing where each song was a potential radio hit, it may be understandable how itll be disappointing to some. Songs like Hole and Judas lack any "hook punch" needed to stay memorable. Theyre still worth listening to lyrically, because well, Kelly's madthe true good girl gone bad.Maybe its depressing nature will have a difficult bearing on audiences. One thing is certainwe have witnessed an artist conceived by pure pop, rebel against it and create and release an album they believed in, while refusing to work formulaically with its label. Still, it's like meeting someone for the first time after you've seen them in your school hallways for years. The obstacle that kept us from meeting the real Clarkson was simply the lack of writing her own songs. Now that she has, there's an album that's her most cohesive work yet. While some tracks take some getting used to, the album sticks.In the end, My December is not Breakaway. No secret that Clarkson wanted to steer clear from it, not to refute its goodness, but for the sake of creating something new. Clarksons throwing a curveball...we're still waiting to see if the pitch works.