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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kelly Clarkson's third album is significantly sassier than her previous two. Although there's really nothing that offensive, there's a lot more attitude and angst ("I hope the ring you gave to her/turns her finger green") coming from "Miss Independence," thanks to a conflict with her record label as well as some boy trouble.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
MY DECEMBER is Kelly Clarkson's third album since winning votes and hearts on American Idol, and she makes it painfully clear that she's all grown up. Gone is that plucky pop princess and in her place is a woman scorned -- by both a boy and a record label. After tremendous critical and financial success, Clarkson took some chances with My December by making a much more personal record -- and publicly fighting her label to release it. The result is an album that may help soothe the souls of teens suffering through their own relationship woes. Clarkson co-wrote every song, and she willingly opens herself up to let listeners look inside. There's nothing overtly offensive here, but there's definitely some soul-searching, sadness, and serious rage.
Is it any good?
Her voice -- clearly the most powerful instrument on the album -- is as passionate as ever. What's different, however, is that Clarkson is belting out her own emotions rather than singing songs composed by someone else. Musically the melodies are bolder and brasher, whether it's a rocker like "Never Again" or a ballad like "Sober," which equates recovering from a relationship to -- you guessed it -- recovering from addiction. Lyrically, the album alternates between heartbroken ("I can't survive unless I know you're with me"), hopeful ("three months and I'm still breathing"), and mad as heck ("does it hurt/to know I'll never be there/bet it sucks to see my face everywhere"). Clarkson's contemplative look into relationships will resonate with many.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Clarkson fought hard to maintain creative control of this album instead of doing what the label dictated. When is it okay to try to go against what is expected? When is it not? Families can also discuss the various emotions people experience while recovering from a broken relationship, whether it's a boyfriend/girlfriend or a business partnership. What does wanting revenge get you?