My December was definitely an exciting prospect. Clarkson’s third album, which was a follow up to the worldwide smash Breakaway, and things were surely to go in a similar direction? Not quite. This album was different. It was special. What was so different about this album? Clarkson penned every song on it, so it was a very personal album. To Kelly fans, this is exactly what they were waiting for. Clarkson at her most raw, most vulnerable. And that’s exactly what they got. An edgier Kelly was the least you could say about the album. She wrote the songs while on her Breakaway World Tour and the songs are a story from beginning to end. It was the lowest point in her career, emotionally, and everything was wearing her down. The album was released in the UK on June 25th 2007, and it was a completely rockier Clarkson than we’ve seen before. The head of her record label was unsatisfied with album, labelling it “too negative” and “dark”. But this was Kelly’s time to shine and take control. And, in my opinion, that’s exactly what she did.

Never Again was the first single, and the lead-off track to the album. Starting the album off with a band, Clarkson hurls “I hope the ring you gave to her turns her finger green” right in your face. And that’s when you know she means business. From then on, it’s confirmed that this is not going to be a copy of Breakaway. Peaking at #9 on the UK singles chart, Never Again didn’t quite replicate the success of Since U Been Gone, but was still one of the stand out tracks on the album.

One Minute is the next track, and the chorus is fierce, explaining how “I keep trying to get up but I keep falling back”. Even though her vocals are more harsh and edgy, she still delivers melodically when she needs to.

Hole is the following track, and again, a huge chorus is built into this song. She sings “There’s a hole, inside of me, it’s so cold..” explaining how empty she’s feeling. In the bridge she cries out “Something’s wrong.. I can feel it!” which one of my favourite lines and high points of the song.

Sober is the first ballad of the album, and, to date, is my favourite all-time Clarkson ballad. The softness in her voice disguises her pain, until she kick-starts her pipes and climbs an octive which sends chills down your spine. This should have been released in the UK, regardless of mainstream likeability. It is completely underrated.

Don’t Waste Your Time was the second and unfortunately final single released in the UK. It also failed to chart, so they scrapped a third single. This doesn’t mean the song was terrible, by any means. It’s a great song that didn’t take off. “Don’t waste your time on me, my friend. Friend, what does that even mean?” is sung, making us feel as if Clarkson is alone where she in her life right now.

Judas is next, with another chorus that punches the breath out of your lungs. Clarkson is screaming “How could you let me down?” throughout, her harsh vocals cutting through your eardrums, etching her pain into your soul.

Haunted follows, with, ironically, a haunting intro that leads into a guitar riff. Her choruses follow a similar pattern, as does my review, constantly reminding you of the pain she’s feeling, wailing “Where are you? I need you..” singing about being alone in many of the songs.

Be Still is the second ballad on My December, a much more relaxed feel to the album, and a well-deserved breather from the pain she’s been feeling. The sultry tones in Clarkson’s voice are a breath of fresh air amidst the chaotic anger and emotion she’s been feeling.

Maybe makes up back-to-back ballads on the album. She sings “I’m stubborn and I make plenty of mistakes” but not in the style of the rest of the album, in a more calmer manner. The drum beat kicks in after the second chorus, bringing the song to life as she sings “I’m confusing as hell”.

How I Feel is next, and one of my favourites off the album. It has a pop/rock feel to it, but doesn’t feel as ferocious as the previous tracks. It could have been a good single in the UK if it was released. It’s upbeat, but still keeps to the lyrical theme of the album.

Yeah follows, and proceeds to be my favourite off the album, maybe tied with Sober. It has a different vibe to it, not quite the hard rock she’s been playing. More softer rock, with a jazzy feel to it. The chorus is simply “Yeah, let me know” but that doesn’t mean her lyrics are simple like that. The phrasing and vocal trills/vibrato is brilliant and makes the song what it is.

Can I Have A Kiss is next, and is also a great track. “If I can’t hold you, can I give you a kiss?” is chanted by Clarkson, and her haunting words almost hypnotize you into doing so.

Irvine is the next track, a song which she wrote after her gig in Irvine, California, which she describes as the lowest point in her life and career. Amidst the misery that’s surrounded in the song, the vocals chill and mesmerize you into a trance-like state, making you unable to stop listening to the song.

Chivas is hidden in the 8-minute long track of Irvine, giving the album a country-like edge, albeit only slightly. “Baby I can’t stand the sight of your face.” Going on to sing about a failed relationship. This is also a great song, and the full 8 minutes together doesn’t feel as if it’s dragging on.

Dirty Little Secret is the first bonus track on the album, and it’s pretty good, almost worthy of making the main album. The guitar riff is really catchy.

Not Today is the second bonus track, and starts off really well. A killer riff and Clarkson’s vocals making a match made in heaven. The chorus also starts off well, but as it gets to the end, you get the reason why it’s just a bonus track. It’s not quite got “it”.

Fading is the final bonus track and from start to finish, it feels like a bonus track. It hasn’t quite got the standard of the other songs on the album. It almost sounds a bit like a demo.

Overall, My December isn’t the commercial, many-singles follow up to Breakaway, but that doesn’t matter to me, or to many true Clarkson fans out there. Yes, a couple of the bonus tracks aren’t quite up to scratch, but the tracks that make up for them are truely brilliant, and Clarkson at her lyrical and vocal best. My December peaked at #2 on the UK album charts, so it wasn’t all bad. I’d definitely give this album a good 8/10.

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