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Kelly Clarkson

My December

by


Kelly Clarkson
My December
(SonyBMG)
Draw a line in your mind. Write "Alanis Morissette" at the top and "Kelly Clarkson" at the bottom. From the top, add these titles: Alanis (1991). Now is the Time (1992). Jagged Little Pill (1995). Thankful (2003). Breakaway (2004). My December (2007). See the picture? Though Morissette's trajectory—she fled to LA and found Madonna, who made the seminal Jagged Little Pill Maverick's debut release—differs from Clarkson's waiter-to-American Idol arc, the similarities are plentiful. Both have voices that are no joke. Both made pop piffle as teens. And both put out a fierce third record. Now, My December is no Jagged Little Pill. But there's a successive streak of exhilarating, guitar-jammed rage running through it, beginning with the opener "Never Again." ("I hope when you're in bed with her/you think of me" is the PG-13 version of "You Oughta Know"'s "Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?") Clarkson brings the sex in the wah-wah stomp "Yeah," and the drum machines in "Judas," but the best moments come when she dials it down for vulnerablity, such as on the second single "Sober" and the remarkable acoustic closer of "Irvine/Chivas." My December is uneven, but in those holes you can see the potential pooling for album number four. Even if you can't, you're still listening to the one worthy thing reality TV has wrought.
Tara Thorne
categories: Coast pick

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