Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kelly Clarkson - please don't spoil this song

When I hear new Kelly Clarkson material, it's always with a sense of trepidation. Although her voice is always supple and powerful, she's too often let down by mediocre material and tinny, blustering production.

However, this new song - You Still Won't Know What It's Like - sounds like it could be a good'un. First mentioned on her twitter account in October, Clarkson wrote it with her long-time musical director Jason Halbert - someone who should surely know his way around a Clarkson vocal by now.

As performed last week at the A Night For Hope Benefit Concert in the States, it's a low-key, acoustic ballad. Over brushed drums and a mournful muted trumpet, Clarkson recounts an unspecified, life-changing trauma that she needed "a year to recover" from. The opening lines are typically cheery: "When you hit the bottom, when you're left with nothing, when you can't tell the difference, you still won't know what it's like." It's relentlessy, remorselessly downbeat.

If the finished track retains this arrangement, it could be her Everybody Hurts. The danger is that it'll suddenly gain a thudding RAWK guitar line that tears Clarkson's nuanced, tender performance to shreds.

Let's cross our fingers for a bit of restraint, then, eh?

Kelly Clarkson - You Still Don't Know What It's Like

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