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Kelly Clarkson shines in dark December

Well, folks, we've waited three years, and it's finally here! Kelly Clarkson's third album, "My December," has arrived after much controversy and skepticism. The rumor had been spreading that Kelly's new album would be much darker than her previous works. True? Yes, quite.

It's also been said that the album would be terrible, and it was a mistake to release it. True? Well, some may think so, but I definitely don't. The disc starts with Kelly's current single, "Never Again," an angrier version of "Since U Been Gone," then continues with pop punk numbers such as "One Minute" and "Yeah," as well as some harder-core songs including "Judas," "Hole" and 'Haunted." All display themes of anger, heartbreak and betrayal.

The CD also contains ballads like "Sober," "Irvine" and hidden-track "Chivas," which are the best tracks of the album, showing off powerful vocals.

I've gained even more respect for Clarkson with this album. Sony BMG executive Clive Davis had negative feelings about some songs, and offered Kelly $10 million to cut five and redo them. She said no. A lot of people think that's pretty stupid, but I look at it as a risky and necessary career move. She told her producer in a meeting, "I have one chance to do this -- if I don't do it now, I'm never going to get another chance."

With that move, she not only satisfied a personal desire, but she took control of her career, disregarding both the huge monetary offer and how the decision might affect her career. Quite frankly, I think she'll be fine.

Kelly Clarkson's past two albums sold more than 15 million copies, and I'm sure she'll sell tons more. It's hard to live up to the success of her sophomore album, "Breakaway," but I think she's done much better than the media led us to believe. A few songs seem slightly amateurish, but that's to be expected from a girl who's 25 and writing her first full album.
Her self-indulgent lyrics and emotive melodies take us inside her heart, and show us how hard it must have been to stay true to herself in the midst of controversy. As she sings in "Sober": "Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers. But I know it's never really over. And I don't know, I could crash and burn, but maybe at the end of this road I might catch a glimpse of me. So I won't worry about my timing, I want to get it right. No comparing, second guessing, no, not this time."

"My December" is dark, heavy, and ... well ... angry! Is it worth the $15? Definitely. Was it her best album? Nope, but even Kelly's worst will always be above average.

Sara Elizabeth Genco is an Alden homeschooler.

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