Music Review: Kelly Clarkson's new album fails to woo

Kelly Clarkson, "Piece By Piece" (RCA, 19)

As one of the most successful "American Idol" winners, Kelly Clarkson can hold her head up high — she's still in the game after 13 years. That doesn't mean her new album, "Piece By Piece," gets any awards for creativity — it sounds like a Clarkson album they forgot to release a decade ago.

This 13-track record writes a check its ambition can't cash. Sadly, Clarkson's strong voice is misused on songs so generic, even she probably forgot she's singing on them.

Case in point: The first single, "Heartbeat Song," doesn't get engaging just by making it high tempo, a modern allegro agitato. The Sia-penned "Invincible," on the other hand, sounds both catchier and more textured, while "Piece By Piece" is a color-by-numbers pop march. It gets better here and there, with dance floor bait "Take You High" or the weirdly sounding-like-something-else-from-the-'80s "Dance With Me."

The one collaboration on the album, the John Legend-assisted "Run Run Run," is a beautiful ballad that adds feeling and drama to an album otherwise in a hurry to get to the finish line.

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This article was written by CRISTINA JALERU from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.