Music Review >> Kelly Clarkson – ‘Stronger’

Multiplatinum artist Kelly Clarkson unleashed her fifth studio album, Stronger, as a special Monday release on October 24. Known for her incredibly powerful and soulful vocal prowess and her unabashedly honest lyrics, Clarkson is showcased on Stronger at her all-time best.

“What separates this album are the vocals,” Clarkson said in a press release. “They sound richer and fuller, and, for the first time, how I sound when I’m performing live. The producers I worked with just let me sing and be me. They didn’t strip away the personality.”

“And it was one of those things where if the people I’m working with have confidence in me, I have more confidence in myself and that changed everything. I can’t wait to perform these songs on tour. I think that’s the best way to get to know an artist, and where you get to see actual personality, because we can’t hide much onstage.”

Clarkson co-wrote five of the 13 tracks on Stronger, which was produced by heavy hitters Rodney Jerkins, Greg Kurstin, Josh Abraham, and Toby Gad.

With the high energy dance-pop title track, “What Only Kills You (Stronger),” Clarkson belts out an empowerment anthem about not allowing the end of a relationship to be the end of her.

Continue reading Music Review >> Kelly Clarkson – ‘Stronger’

VIDEO: Kelly Clarkson Performs “Mr. Know It All” on The Tonight Show

Last night Queen Kelly Clarkson performed her latest hit, “Mr. Know It All” off her highly anticipated fifth album, Stronger, on The Tonight Show.

Check out her performance below!

I think Kelly sounded fantastic! That song has really grown to be one of my current favorites.

Don’t forget that Stronger will be released on October 24, and you can pre-order the album on iTunes!

Music Review >> Yellowcard – “For You, And Your Denial”

It’s been four years since Yellowcard released their last album, Paper Walls, and this spring the band (Ryan Key, Sean Mackin, Longineu “LP” Parsons, Ryan Mendez, and Sean O’Donnell) are releasing When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. Key said that taking a break before releasing this album was, “absolutely the best possible choice we could have made as a band.”

“The fact that we had that time to refocus and recharge individually made working together for the first time in two years so much more exciting. The possibilities were endless again,” he said.

The band signed with Hopeless Records last fall, before heading into the studio to record with Neal Avron, whom Key referred to as the sixth member of the band while putting together an album.

The result of Yellowcard’s hard work is their forthcoming fifth studio album which features the band’s latest single, “For You, And Your Denial.”

The track has a familiarity about it. The guitar work has similarities to the band’s huge hit, “Ocean Avenue,” which to my ears isn’t a bad thing. I definitely think taking a part of what made your original hit big and building on it from there is what makes this new song work.

“For You, And Your Denial” is upbeat and catchy, which makes you want to listen to the track over and over again. Musically, the band sounds fantastic and Key’s voice sounds stronger than ever. Overall, I think that the song is a great re-introduction to Yellowcard and their music.

“For You, And Your Denial” is available on iTunes and Amazon now. When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes is due out March 11.

For more information on Yellowcard, check out their official website.

Originally posted on BlogCritics.

Music Review >> Good Charlotte – ‘Cardiology’

It seems that the guys of Good Charlotte have done a lot of growing up since their last album release in 2007. Their new album, Cardiology, touches on love, life, and family.

Originally formed in Waldorf, Maryland in 1996, Good Charlotte is Joel Madden (lead vocals), Benji Madden (vocals/guitar), Billy Martin (guitar/keyboard), Paul Thomas (bass), and latest addition Dean Butterworth (drums). To date, the band has sold over ten million albums.

When I talked to Good Charlotte’s guitar player, Billy Martin last month, he said that the recording process for this album was “a rollercoaster ride.” The band originally started recording Cardiology with producer Howard Benson, but decided to go in a different direction when the album wasn’t turning out how the band had originally envisioned it.

“We kind of just pulled the plug and started over later with Don Gilmore, who had done our last record (Good Morning Revival) and our first record (Good Charlotte),” Martin said. “We wanted to try something new with Howard, and it seemed like a good fit, but in the end it just wasn’t. We kept probably six or seven of those songs. We ended up throwing everything away and re-recording with Don and then a handful of new songs came out during the process.”

The result of going back into the studio with Gilmore is 15 of the best songs from Good Charlotte. The beats, melodies, and lyrics on Cardiology are nothing short of fantastic. There are a lot of different sides to this album; it really is as if they took the best parts of their previous albums, then went and made an album that all of their fans could really get behind.

“When I listen to our first records, it’s so innocent, and I think that we really managed to recapture that feeling with this record without actually repeating what we’ve done in the past,” lead singer Joel Madden explains in the band’s press release. “I get the same feeling of excitement listening to the record that I did when we first started making music.”

I have to agree with Madden on this. I feel like this album really throws back to the band’s first album, yet shows the progression of their music at the same time.  A great example of this is “Counting The Days,” which is reminiscent of their first album: it’s catchy, the melody is simple, yet there’s that something extra in the music that amps it up to the level where the band is at today. I think it would make a great choice for their second single.

Speaking of singles, “Like It’s Her Birthday” is a great bridge from Good Morning Revival to Cardiology. The song picks up from the last album, builds on it, and sets a great tone for this new album.

Also, I appreciated that “Like It’s Her Birthday” was not the first track on the album just because it happened to be the first single. The band really succeeded at making this album flow from song to song, making Cardiology a well rounded collection of solid music.

In songs like “Harlow’s Song (Can’t Dream Without You),” “1979,” and “Right Where I Belong,” you can tell how much the band has matured lyrically. These songs are a departure from the angst in some of their music from their earlier times, and the focus is on the good that they have had in their lives.

“A lot of the lyrics on this album are about being in a different place in my life,” Madden said in a press release. “There are some songs like “Harlow’s Song (Can’t Dream Without You)” that are directly about my kids or being in love and how being in a relationship changes the whole experience of my life, but a lot of the lyrics are introspective. Obviously we’re all in different places in our lives, but we’re giving our fans that same honesty we always have.”

As I was listening to the album, I kept envisioning hearing these new songs live, and the one that I think is going to be a huge crowd pleaser is “Standing Ovation.” It’s somewhat of a light-rock song, but has great sing-a-long potential. I think the band’s fans are going to really enjoy this track.

Musically, Cardiology really has its bases covered. There are the catchy pop tunes like “Silver Screen Romance,” the rockin’ party anthem “Last Night,” and the harder rock track, “Alive.” This album definitely shows progression in the band.

Cardiology is due out November 2. For more information on Good Charlotte, check out their official website.

Definite Downloads: “Counting The Days” and “Standing Ovation”

Originally posted on BlogCritics.