My December

Kelly Clarkson has said she wants My December to be like Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, because it's daring, uncommercial,uncompromising and . . . oh, come on. It's a Kelly Clarkson album, for fuck's sake. From the hoopla, you'd figure Kelly was playing free-jazz flugelhorn through her nose after drinking Justin Guarini's blood. It's cool that she's trying to write songs, but the tunes come up seriouslys hort on choruses and heavy on the Alanis Morissette references. Her voice sags in low-energy drones like "One Minute" (feels like an hour), and "Don't Waste Your Time" (which has the album's best line: "Friend? What does that even mean?"). But "How I Feel" is the best New Wave lobster-rock goof since Cassie's "What Do U Want," and even at her tiredest, Kelly still makes you care about her — you just want to play "Since U Been Gone" for her and cheer her up.

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