Album: Kelly Clarkson, Stronger (RCA)
As the winner of the inaugural American Idol series in 2002, Kelly Clarkson has managed to sustain her singing career with far greater success than most talent-show contestants; though it's hard to see why anyone would want to own another of her albums besides Breakaway.
Despite the references to Nietzsche and Einstein, which suggest a cachet Stronger doesn't deserve, this is simply an overlong string of standard putdown R&B and bogus emotional turmoil, the songs blitzed with generic power-ballad overkill. And while one can at least admire other singers' technical accomplishments, there's no narrative development in Clarkson's delivery, just a switching back and forth between plaintive verses and overwrought choruses, and utilising the same irritating "breathless" vocal tic that has become one of modern pop's more irritating affectations.
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