Billboard Music Awards

Track Review: Kelly Clarkson, 'Mr. Know It All'

3

KELLY CLARKSON
Mr. Know It All (3:53)
Producers: B. Kennedy, E. Dean
Writers: B. Seals, Ester Dean, B. James, D. Jones
Publishers: various
S/19/RCA

After painting with darker tones on 2007's uneven "My December," Kelly Clarkson triumphantly returned to bubblegum pop-rock with 2009's "All I Ever Wanted." While "Mr. Know It All," the lead single to Clarkson's upcoming album, "Stronger," features some nasty gibes at a ex-boyfriend, the singer is clearly staying put in a sunny, upbeat sound. Unlike "Never Again," the vitriol-filled breakup single from "My December," "Mr. Know It All" pairs Clarkson's frustration with an upbeat arrangement that's awash in gentle guitar chords and twinkling piano. The song floats between the righteous declarations ("You like to bring me down, don't you?/Well, I ain't going down!") of the verses before arriving at the phrase, "You don't know a thing about me," on the hook. Clarkson has handled this subject with more intensity in the past, but "Mr. Know It All" presents the singer as a more tempered, mature artist before her fifth full-length is released.

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