The Bottom Line
"Mr. Know It All" features one of the most impressive female pop vocals of 2011. Kelly Clarkson's technical mastery of pop vocals has few current peers. She proudly has announced that her upcoming album Stronger will be devoid of the use of auto-tune. She simply needs no studio enhancements to her voice. The raspy approach here matches the strength informed by pain of the lyrics of the song. It is a style decision that makes the brief moments of gentle clarity in her voice even more affecting.
- Understated vocals with perfect nuance
- Production that wisely gets out of the way of the vocals
- Words of strength
- Fails to move us powerfully
- Written by Brett James, Ester Dean, Dante Jones, and Brian Kennedy
- Produced by Brian Kennedy
- Released August 2011 by RCA
Guide Review - Kelly Clarkson - "Mr. Know It All"
Kelly Clarkson may have slipped behind Carrie Underwood for the title of American Idol champion with the top music sales, but Kelly Clarkson is back to assert there is no other contestant from the show who can match her expertise as a mainstream pop vocalist. "Mr. Know It All" is a song about strength in exiting a negative relationship. However, it presents no histrionics. It is a mainstream pop recording that simply delivers pop excellence. Brian Kennedy's understated production provides a perfect backdrop for Kelly Clarkson to simply sing and move us with the understood emotion in the performance.
The effect of "Mr. Know It All" is that Kelly Clarkson is speaking to us about her latest soured relationship. There is a rasp that indicates the impact of past pain leaving her voice a bit ragged. However, on the choruses, she lets the beauty and clarity in her voice out as she expertly draws out notes to bring us into her natural warmth. This is a song that strongly rewards repeated listening. Gone are earlier days in which Kelly Clarkson relied on her ability to belt out powerful words with an upper register rock-oriented shout. That has been replaced by a quieter confidence indicated by the title of the upcoming album Stronger.
Kelly Clarkson is squarely in the top ranks of today's best female pop vocalists. "Mr. Know It All" should be an instant add to pop radio playlists, and this performance will be very pleasing to her throngs of fans. The only possible negative here is that it is so understated that some ability to powerfully move us emotionally may have been sacrificed. However, that is a very minor complaint. This is another classic Kelly Clarkson performance.