Kelly Clarkson drops new album: “Piece by Piece”
Views 63 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 10 - 2015 | By: Evan Arnold
Kelly Clarkson released her seventh studio album “Piece by Piece” on March 3, and it was a powerhouse. Skyrocketing to the top of iTunes’s Top Album list almost immediately, Clarkson brings her anthemic style and incredible range to new themes. Mostly recorded during a pregnancy that temporarily repositioned her diaphragm, Clarkson continues to belt out with the best of them.
This time around, her themes incorporate less breakups and looks instead to find some resolution to some of her past trauma. The title track “Piece by Piece” acts as a nice sequel to her well-known hit “Because of You” from her second studio album “Breakaway”.
Where “Because of You” tries to deal with the raw pain of dysfunction in a family, “Piece by Piece” exemplifies her healing that she’s found in her new family — namely her recently wed husband Brandon Blackstock and her eight-month old daughter River Rose Blackstock.
Centered around a theme of growth and maturity, “Piece by Piece” frames Clarkson’s album perfectly. Sound-wise, Clarkson has always been resistant to any one feel since her days on “American Idol.” If pop is her technical genre, she’s had no problem having strong influences on each of her albums, from blues to rock to emo/punk to country.
On “Piece by Piece” however, she turns the in vogue style of autotune and synth on its head. Drawing from electronic and club-style dance beats, Clarkson blends her flawless pitch into radio ready base tracks with ease. Songs like “Dance With Me,” “Take You High” and “Someone,” makes her a prime candidate to be the next Zedd collaboration artist.
The album has solid pacing, couching the slower and darker songs in the middle, and letting the powerhouse pop anthems bookend the album. Intermixed into her hard-hitting pop sound are familiar feel ballads like “Let Your Tears Fall,” and “Tightrope” that most Clarkson fans expect at least two of per album. In opposition to that expectation comes the collaborative duet with John Legend, “Run Run Run.” Ironically, Clarkson and Legend first started singing together as judges/mentors on the show “Duets”. The practice seems to have paid off as “Run Run Run” incorporates their voices together exceptionally well, letting Clarkson show off her extensive range.
Other songs, like “Nostalgic” and “Bad Reputation” call on Clarkson’s early days, pulling back the breakup theme while maintaining her recent reflective feel. Gone may be the days of a consistent flow of Kelly Clarkson breakup anthems. In their stead, Clarkson’s found a new niche in empowerment anthems that started to make their way into her music on her “Stronger” album and then her single “People Like Us” from “Greatest Hits Chapter One”.
Now she has “Invincible,” a song she received from Sia, whose vocals still appear in the background, and “Second Wind,” the final track of the “Piece by Piece” deluxe edition.
Clarkson’s new single, “Heartbeat Song”, embarks her new chapter effectively. Clarkson continues to do what she wants with her music, and her gut continues to lead her in the right direction.