Yesterday evening, Kelly Clarkson premiered “Mr. Know It All,” the first single from forthcoming LP Stronger, in a live chat on kellyclarkson.com. During the chat (which was foreshortened by technical difficulties), she was her ebullient self, revealing a number of details about Stronger (songs will include “You Love Me,” “What Doesn’t Kill You,” and a duet with an Idol-affiliated woman that some speculate is Kara DioGuardi, but not a duet recorded with Chris Daughtry won’t make the cut) and plans for an upcoming tour (January) that she prefaced by saying she’d “get in trouble” for divulging. She confessed her deep and abiding crush on Kyle Chandler, particularly as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights. She described herself as sassy nearly as much as Russell Clark would have, and invited her fans out to dive-bar karaoke. She also wished for an opportunity to sing with Adele or Miranda Lambert. (Someone make this happen!)
As for “Mr. Know It All,” Clarkson noted, “I hope y’all like the song,” as a postscript to its premiere, quipping, “If you don’t, lie to me!” We don’t have to lie. The mid-tempo ballad isn’t our favorite of her tracks, and we wish her vocals were mixed higher, but we dig it nonetheless. Two things in particular stand out, though we confess we’re not sure we’d have noticed if she hadn’t mentioned them in the chat. Her voice is particularly unprocessed (we hate to say “raw,” but there it is). During the making of Stronger Clarkson and the producers strove to record her voice as it’s heard at live shows, with as little adornment (or Auto-Tune) as possible. Clarkson’s backup vocals, however, sound a lot like Clarkson herself—because she insisted on recording them, a fact she attributed to a love of harmonies and a past as a choir nerd. Both of these tactics are quite effective, which is probably at least as indicative about the rest of the album as the way “Mr. Know It All” sounds. October 30 can’t come soon enough.