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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2011
Kelly Clarkson is probably the most commercially successful artist of all the American Idol winners. Since she won the show back in 2002 she's sold millions of albums worldwide, her most successful album being "Breakaway" released in 2004.

Fast forward to 2011 then, and we have "Stronger," this her fifth studio album.
It follows in a similar vein to its predecessor - uptempo, modern pop rock with big sing along choruses.

Lead single "Mr Know It All" is an excellent choice as lead single, before some electronic sounding influences show face on tracks "What Dosen't Kill You (Stronger)," and "Dark Side." The latter has a weak chorus, surprising this is the third song on the album.
"You Love Me" and "Einstein" quickly recover matters though, "Einstein" is short at just under three minutes but is very catchy and could be a single.

Elsewhere the tone and tempo finally drops for the albums first ballad "Standing In Front of You," closely followed by fast and frenetic tracks in "I Forgive You" and "Hello."

Without question though the most emotional and moving song Kelly has done for some time is the albums closing number "Breaking Your Own Heart."
I'd release this as a single tomorrow if it was my choice, a quite superb song with poignant lyrics - a real tear jerker if your circumstances fit as such.

If you've brought the deluxe edition you get four bonus tracks, the best of which is the country themed duet with Jason Aldean "Don't You Wanna Stay."
Kelly has gone genre hopping before on her albums, (see the alternative rock record My December) and after flirting again her voice could easily suit an album of country songs, maybe we might see more of that on her sixth record.

For now "Stronger" is an impressive collection of pop rock, ideally suited to the mainstream musical audience. I expect it to sell very well, even though it's perhaps not as good as "Breakaway" or "All I Ever Wanted."
Make sure you pick up the deluxe version as already mentioned; the bonus tracks are worth your while.
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VINE VOICEon 5 November 2011
There is no doubt about the first statement I will make in this review: Kelly Clarkson is one of the best female vocalists in the world. That is unquestionable, what is more up for debate is the quality of her songs throughout the course of her career and I recognise that while her singles and albums have varied in popularity the fact she is still around implies that while she may not always get it exactly right she has more than done enough to sustain a successful pop career. What's more you get the impression that she is now firmly cemented in the pop/rock landscape and will be making records for many more years to come. I didn't buy Thankful when that was released and hence am unable to comment on that particular album, but Breakaway was and still is a captivating album which is packed full of hits. I am a big fan of 'Never Again' and her vocals sound great on the rock that fills this album. 'All I Ever Wanted' is probably my least favourite of Kelly's albums and although I still played it a lot I felt that it lacked the spark and depth of her previous records and felt a little bit like she was trying to recreate the success of Breakway without her heart really being in it. I hadn't heard much about Stronger in the run up to its release and therefore I was eagerly awaiting my first listen to see which direction Kelly had taken her latest project in. I was utterly underwhelmed; I heard an album full of middle-of-the-road samey tracks with less stand-out tracks than any of her previous albums. I was, however, very very wrong. I cannot seem to learn that the very best albums are the one which pass you by on first listen as undesirable. This album has grown on me-in fact grown on me enough to warrant a five star review. I will provide my thoughts on all the tracks which I have now listened to several times:

1.Mr Know It All-The first spikey single, probably the most immediate track on the whole album and it's easy therefore to see why it was chosen as the first single. 9/10
2.What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)-This is the only other immediately obvious single and it's a belter. Kelly's vocals are superb here. 9/10
3.Dark Side-An absolute grower; I love the lyrics/message of the track: 'Everybody's got a dark side, do you love me, can you mine'. A dark, ballad with an almost fairy-tale instrumental opening and closing the track. 10/10
4.Honestly-A dramatic ballad reminiscent of the kind Kelly is well-known for. You simply cannot fault her vocals and passionate delivery. 8/10
5.You Love Me-One of my favourites on the whole album; the catchy, punchy verses are followed by a chorus packed full of drama and emotion as well as out of this world vocals. 10/10
6.Einstein-Only Kelly Clarkson could sing the lyric 'Dumb plus dumb equals you' with conviction and actually not make it sound like a terrible lyric. So yeah lyrically it's not the best, however I guarantee that by listen two you'll be singing along to this up-tempo, slightly rocky number. 8/10
7.Standing In Front Of You-By listen three I was still underwhelmed by this big ballad, but by listen four something clicked in to place and I now genuinely like it. 7/10
8.I Forgive You-This was one of the few tracks which stood out to me on my initial listen; it's characterised by powerful vocals and a memorable, repetetive chorus. 8/10
9.Hello-This is not a bad song, however at the same time it probably won't be the one that sticks in your head after the album finishes playing. 6/10
10.The War Is Over-A fantastic ballad; I adore the harmonies in the chorus and although it's completely over-the-top Kelly's vocals can certainly match the drama implied by the lyrics. 10/10
11.Let Me Down-A complete contrast to the previous track and this is an uptempo, rocky track. The chorus is incredibly catchy. 8/10
12.You Can't Win-This is another of my absolute favourite tracks on the album, where Kelly basically sums up the problems with modern life and whatever you do you can't win. It's uptempo, it's catchy as hell, the vocals are amazing. 10/10
13.Breaking Your Own Heart-A country-tinged ballad to finish off the standard version of the album and while it's not my favourite, it's certainly very soothing and shows a completely different side to Kelly's voice! 8/10

DELUXE TRACKS:
14.Don't You Wanna Stay- A country ballad with Jason Aldean which I understand has enjoyed some success in the USA. While I don't envisage it replicating that kind of success in this country and I do find the chorus is a little cheesy there is no denying that Kelly's vocals on her verse are absolutely sublime (seeing a pattern here...!) 7.5/10
15.Alone-A track which does tend to fade into the background compared to the other tracks on the album and you can see why it wasn't included on the original track listing. 6/10
16.Don't Be A Girl About It-A bit of fun with it's high pitched 'ooo's filling the chorus. Very different to the other tracks on the album, but that's no bad thing. 9/10
17.The Sun Will Rise-I have to commend Kara Dioguardi for her vocal efforts on this track, as her voice complements Kelly's very well indeed. This ballad is phenomenal and a fantastic way to round off a great album. 10/10

I can easily listen to this album without skipping any of the tracks and considering it's length that's no mean feat. I genuinely think that Kelly's voice is better than ever on this album. The variety of styles ranging from uptempo pop/rock music, dramatic ballads, soothing ballads and even country really makes for an engaging listen and perhaps best of all it still sounds like a unified collection of songs and not a compilation. I'm already looking forward to album six!
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on 29 October 2011
While I wasn't bowled over by Kelly's performance of Mr. Know It All on the X Factor last weekend, I decided to check out her latest offering as I've always be a bit of a fan.

I can say that I'm very pleased with this album. Kelly hasn't deviated from her usual formula of up-tempo girl-rock and a couple of middle of the road ballads, but why change something if it works?

My only criticism is that I think the lead single was a poor choice and a song such as What doesn't kill you (stronger) would have made a much bigger impact and would have gained more airtime.

Either way, this is a strong album and a very good effort.
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This album is so full of up-tempo songs and so short on surprises. I love Kelly's voice and whilst her songs are never the most imaginative ever to grace a record, she knows her subject matter and she does Kelly Clarkson better than anyone else trying to do Kelly Clarkson. That, to some people, could be a negative - but to me it's just some more of the type of songs I've come to love and expect from her.

The clear and standout singles from this album are put upfront for all to hear. There are some songs later on that seem to be continuations or reflections of the other ones, for example Mr Know It All has a mirror in You Can't Win, both being songs about how some people think they know someone but they really don't. There are also a few cringeworthy lyrics, never more so obvious than on the track Einstein ("dumb plus dumb equals you"... I mean, what!?).

Those headlining singles aside, there's not much in this album for those who don't already know and love Kelly Clarkson. As a fan, I'm definitely not disappointed but recognise a lack of originality here could mean others won't share my opinion.
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on 5 January 2012
I have just bought this album, and yet again kelly dishes out another awesome album. A two star review here on Amazon puts this album as "...same dam thing..." however Kelly is good at this, having said that though this is her 5th album, her fist, second, and forth were nothing like this. All 5 albums that Kelly has brought out is an example of excellent work, and everyone is better than the one before it, making this the best so far. Well Done, I look forward to your 6th album.
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on 29 May 2014
Another CD featuring Kelly's superb hard-rocking voice. A nice mix of rocking songs with a few more mellow ones (with the emphasis very much on the rocking songs). Dark Side is a highlight for me as is Standing In Front Of You - one of the softer songs.

Although I like every song on this disc I cannot give more than four stars - too much electronica for a five-star album and only two tracks jumped out as highlights.
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on 24 October 2011
I am impressed, I have been pleasantly surprised by all tracks. Kelly is just so lovely and I think most people can relate to her in some way or another, which to me makes her even more special. As for her voice, I say this every new album and new tour - her voice just seems to keep getting better and better. I can not wait for the tour to hear the songs live - well worth the 2 year wait, I don't think any Kelly fan will be disapointed.

5 stars for Kellys album. 1 star for Amazons service (as the CD has not been delivered and have to go out and by a copy today. This will be last time I pre order something from Amazon now, as its just easier to go to the shops and buy it!)
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on 19 August 2012
Kelly Clarkson seems to have a knack for creating albums where the whole things is good. There is maybe one track on this album I skip as the production is lacking compared to to the others, but generally the songs are fantastic. I really feel there is quite a country style twist to this album and it is interesting and different as a result.
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on 14 February 2012
Great CD. Have heard a couple of songs of Kelly Clarkson's but never bought an album. Thought 'Stronger' was a great song so decided to buy the album and really happy with it. The other songs are good too so would definitely recommend to buy if you enjoy her type of music.
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on 22 November 2011
I bought this album as I own previous Kelly Clarkson albums. It often takes me two or three listens for me to give an honest opinion of an album but with one listen of this album, I was hooked. Fantastic album with the standout track being What doesn't kill you. I purchased the Deluxe Edition with 4 bonus tracks and I am glad I did, the extra songs mix in well with the rest of the album.
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