A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Clarkson's lyrics address her audience in relatable terms without using swear words or giving graphic sexual descriptions. This approach will help teens absorb the (mostly) healthy messages in her lyrics, where she doesn't sugarcoat the heartache that teens sometimes feel, and ultimately encourages them not to settle for unhealthy romantic situations.
What's the story?
With ALL I EVER WANTED, original American Idol Kelly Clarkson aspires for the highs she experienced early in her career, bringing back the producers -- Dr. Luke and Max Martin -- behind her previous hits. Though the first single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," presents a somewhat troubling picture of a girl who can't let go of a bad boyfriend, other songs like "All I Ever Wanted" and "I Do Not Hook Up" once again portray the strong, self-assured girl we met in prior Clarkson hits. Combined with additional puppy-love cuts such as "I Want You," these songs are a relatively clean musical rendition of all the ups and downs endured by the average young adult, making the CD a good one for teens who need the comfort of knowing someone out there understands their feelings.
Is it any good?
It's been a rollercoaster ride for Clarkson: after winning Idol and a subsequent Grammy for her enticing pop sound, she fell out favor with critics and fans following her last harder-edged CD, My December. All I Ever Wanted is a super catchy combination of both styles. The pop sensibilities of tunes like "I Can't Have You" will appeal to her die-hard fan base, while "Whyyawannabringmedown" and other rock-infused tracks show Clarkson breaking away from the bubblegum-pop formula that permeates so much of today's young-adult music. Not only do these songs sound good, but their lyrics (with the exception of "My Life Would Suck Without You") manage to deliver effective messages about healthy relationships without moralizing. Parents who want strong relationships for their teens would do well to buy them this CD.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various relationship scenarios that Clarkson presents and how those scenarios relate to their teens' lives. What would make someone alternately like and dislike their boyfriend or girlfriend? Can you think of five things you can do to help yourself get over a breakup?