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New Reviews: Kelly Clarkson's 'Stronger' Is Formulaic But Impressive

Also: Stream new music by Tom Waits, R.E.M., Coldplay, T.I., Justice and more

October 25, 2011 9:00 AM ET
Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson
Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Clear Channel

In this week's slate of Rolling Stone reviews, Jody Rosen hails Kelly Clarkson's new album, Stronger, as a fine if somewhat formulaic showcase for her powerhouse vocal chops. Also, Will Hermes praises Tom Waits' latest masterpiece, Bad As Me, and Surfer Blood's poppy new EP, Tarot Classics, and Jon Dolan salutes the final single from the recently disbanded R.E.M..

ALBUMS

Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (stream one song)

Tom Waits - Bad As Me (stream one song)

Deer Tick - Divine Providence (stream one song)

Justice - Audio, Video, Disco (stream full album)

Surfer Blood - Tarot Classics (stream one song)

Joe Jonas - Fastlife (stream one song)

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto (stream one song)

Nick Lowe - The Old Magic (stream one song)

Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do (stream one song)

SONGS

R.E.M. "We All Go Back to Where We Belong" (stream)

Florence and the Machine "Shake It Out" (stream)

T.I. "I'm Flexin'" (stream)

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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