Album: Kelly Clarkson, Stronger (RCA)

 

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The Independent Culture

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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