In her nearly decade-long career, Kelly Clarkson has kicked out an album almost every two years. But if you’re expecting something predictable from Clarkson’s fifth studio effort, Stronger (due October 24), you’re in for a surprise.
While she’s not completely reinventing her sound, the former “American Idol” winner counts Prince, Sheryl Crow, Tina Turner and Radiohead among this album’s big influences. Clarkson explained how you get from “Because of You” to Kid A.
“It was a lot of soulful stuff,” Clarkson said. “You know what I’m saying? Like, Radiohead is alternative, but they’re very soulful. And Sheryl Crow, very soulful singer/songwriter. So it’s all very soulful, rhythmic pop rock.”
“Oh yeah, there’s a little bit of dance,” Clarkson continued. “One of the songs, it’s probably gonna be a single, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You,’ it’s a great song and definitely … that’s the one everybody will be jumping up and down to.”
That combination of soul, rock, pop and dance is apparent in the album’s lead single, the ultimate tell-off anthem “Mr. Know It All .” But what are Clarkson’s other top picks from the LP?
” ‘You Love Me’ is probably one of my favorites,” Clarkson said. ” ‘Honestly’ is another one. ‘What Doesn’t Kill You,’ I can’t wait to perform that live. We’ve already rehearsed it and it’s so much fun. It’s like this big dance anthem. That’ll be the one [that's] kinda like ‘Since U Been Gone,’ [with] people jumping up and down to [it], and it’s just kind of really inspiring, so I can’t wait to perform that one.”
In addition to “You Love Me” and “What Doesn’t Kill You,” we couldn’t help but notice the frequency of the word “you” in the album’s track list, with songs like “Standing in Front of You,” “I Forgive You” and “You Can’t Win.” Add in the album’s title, Stronger, and the clues are there that someone has done Kelly wrong over the past two years. Or at least that’s how it seems.
“They’re all different ‘you’s,’ ” Clarkson said. “There’s no common, like, it wasn’t like one, I didn’t have a bad breakup or anything, it wasn’t like that. No I just think life is about relationships, so I always write about all these different ones going on in my life and I don’t really have a filter. So it’s usually very [straightforward].”