Kelly Clarkson, known for her soulful, rock-tinged pop sound, is back with her upcoming fifth album, ‘Stronger’ – set for release in late October, preceded by lead single ‘Mr. Know It All’. A mid-tempo soft-rock influenced pop track, it is aimed at a bossy ex-boyfriend and other ignorant people who think they know everything about other people. Unfortunately, Kelly has yet to re-live the success that she enjoyed with the feisty, near-masterpiece of her second album ‘Breakaway’, and while many hope that ‘Stronger’ will do just that, ‘Mr. Know It All’ doesn’t overly impress.
In the song, Clarkson stands up to a controlling man: telling him that enough is enough, she will not be told what to do, and criticising his know-it-all attitude. Although the lyrics and message are clear and confident, Clarkson’s usual tough chick attitude seems sedated as she reins in her big voice and lazily sings through it, with little vocal dynamite to make us sit up, listen and turn it up to full volume. But at least she sounds relatively decent.
‘Mr. Know It All’, like most Kelly Clarkson songs, has a guitar, drum, piano and string-driven instrumental, but with a less-than-memorable melody and without the sassy punch she normally puts into it. She didn’t have a hand in writing the tune, so it’s hard to blame her, but it is still a wonder as to why she chose it as the lead single. In the chorus, Kelly sings: ‘Oh you think that you know me (know me)/That’s why I’m leaving you lonely (lonely)/’Cause baby you don’t know a thing about me/You don’t know a thing about me’. It bears a striking resemblance to the chorus in the Bruno Mars hit, ‘Just The Way You Are’, only it pales in comparison.
It is unfortunate that Clarkson disappoints us on this occasion, especially when ‘Mr. Know It All’ does not seem like a strong lead single. Its uninteresting melody and toned-down vocals do not stand up against what might have been done with a far gutsier sound. Hopefully, the rest of ‘Stronger’ will contain more of the Kelly we are used to and usually love.