Shortcuts—Kelly Clarkson’s All I Ever Wanted

Appealing lyrics and production make All I Ever Wanted a welcome improvement over Clarkson’s last album, My December.

By Emale Gray

After the public fallout between Chief Creative Officer for Sony Music International, Clive Davis, and former American Idol Kelly Clarkson, it looked as if Clarkson’s third disc My December would be her last.

Clive Davis is the man responsible for such legendary hit makers as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and TLC, to name a few. Yet instead of respecting his reputable guidance, Clarkson insisted on full control of her image and musical content. The result was the bland My December, an album as easy to digest as a piece of sugarless Bubble Yum. So, what’s the next logical step? Spit out the pungent taste that Davis left and incorporate the fresh flavors of some of today’s tastiest writers and producers. And that’s exactly what Clarkson’s done on her new album, All I Ever Wanted.

The sugarless production and lyrics of My December are upgraded to a more delectable Sour Apple Berry in title track “All I Ever Wanted” and “Whyyawannabringmedown,” with Clarkson belting out lyrics that radiate poise and confidence penned by Color Me Bad’s Sam Watters. Hit maker Max Martin (“Since U Been Gone,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes”) and aspiring lesbian Katy Perry bring their addictive Jolly Rancher Watermelon candy to prom themes “My Life Would Suck Without You” and “I Do Not Hook Up.”

Front man of OneRepublic Ryan Tedder helped co-write and produce “Apologize” Part II, otherwise known as “Already Gone.” One of two notable ballads on All I Ever Wanted, “Already Gone” is as bittersweet as a piece of Grape Bubble Yum. “Cry” similarly features Clarkson resentfully delivering lyrics alongside poignant production that inspires, at the very least, a lighter in the air if not a tear or two.

By the time you reach the light and fluffy Cotton Candy of “Ready” and “I Want You,” you realize you’ve been chewing on a variety pack of anthems, each track sending a different flavor of ear candy to your taste buds that can only be described as Bubblegum Rock.

However, like any piece of gum, the Bubblegum Rock of All I Ever Wanted can only last so long until you have to spit it out and get a new piece (even Stride’s “ridiculously long lasting” campaign has its flaws). Nevertheless, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying an album with “lots of flavor, lots of bubbles, and plenty of pop.”