Mr. Know It All (Single Review) – Kelly Clarkson

The original American Idol is back with the debut single off her upcoming fifth album: Stronger, in the form of a track titled: Mr. Know It All.

The hype for this song has been escalating for the past week or so – ever since Kelly Clarkson revealed she’d be premiering the song via her website on August 30th. Many radio programmers and DJs had heard the song and were giving it rave reviews. So naturally, anyone who has liked Kelly Clarkson’s music would be excited. And I am no exception.

And like everything with the music industry today, leaks are bound to happen – and Kelly Clarkson’s name has become synonymous with leaks. So Mr. Know It All is here.

The song starts with a subtle guitar rhythm that soon fuses with a beat that sticks throughout the whole song, reminiscing of Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” – you can literally sing the lyrics of that song to Mr. Know It All.

While the song is not angry musically-speaking; thematically and lyrically, it’s full of rage. “Mr. know it all, well you think you know it all. But you don’t know a thing at all. Ain’t it something y’all!”

Apart from the fact that the many shortened words in the lyrics make this sound like something you’d recite at a country rodeo, the lyrics in general are quite bland and cliche. Example? “Can’t nobody tell me how it’s gonna be. Nobody’s gonna make a fool out of me. Babe, you should know that I lead, not follow”

How many times have you heard that “lead not follow” line? thirteen million? Yes, add one more to that.

Mr. Know It All is a pretty straightforward song. It’s so straightforward, in fact, that the title says it all: Kelly Clarkson is telling one of her exes that they don’t know everything about her.

The sound is one that would find solace with songs on Kelly Clarkson’s debut album and it’s a sound that I’m not sure would do very well in today’s pop climate. After all, this is Kelly Clarkson’s comeback single and it needed to deliver. I’m not saying it had to be an electropop brainless song, but this isn’t the song you’d expect someone with her caliber to choose as the song they’ll use to reconnect with audiences.

Kelly Clarkson’s vocals are great on the track – and I mean did anyone expect anything less? While it’s not a powerhouse performance, her voice sounds quite raspy and strong in the delivery. But even that isn’t enough to elevate the song to hit-worthy status. After all, there’s just so much that the singer’s talent can bring.  Mr. Know It All is not a bad song per se. It’s just a song that should have been left on the album – and it’s a song that’s much less enthusiasm-enducing than other leaks that haunted miss Clarkson since July. “Let Me Down” would have been so much better as a lead single!

Mr. Know It All doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s just Kelly Clarkson singing how this guy doesn’t know a “thing about [her]” over and over again. And it gets to a point where you just want to shout: we get it, can you do something about it already? And the fact that after ten listens, no part of the song was stuck in my head isn’t really a good sign.

I’d personally pass on Mr. Know It All. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of what’s on Stronger. If it is, then the only thing I can say is poor Clarkson. As for now, let me go listen to “Already Gone.”

Listen to Mr. Know It All here.



18 thoughts on “Mr. Know It All (Single Review) – Kelly Clarkson

  1. Great review. However, I do disagree with you. I actually live the song. It’s a nice change of pace for her from her screamy power anthems.

    And, aren’t most pop songs filled with cliches these days? That’s a common occurrence.


    • I really wanted to like the song that’s why I listened to it more than ten times before beginning to write the review and I was listening to it while writing it. It does nothing for me. And the cliche… just because everyone’s doing it, it doesn’t mean you should.


  2. I like it and it is growing on me more and more. I am a huge fan of her powerhouse killer vocal style, and I was surprised as well by the mid tempo effort at first. I love bluesy Kelly, and this song has some of that so I am really enjoying it. I think this could be a very big hit for her. It is just more mellow than we expected. I don’t have a problem with the lyrics because Kelly can make any words more passionate. I cannot wait for the new album. Trust me. You do not need to feel sorry for her. She is going to kick some major butt even with all the leaks.


  3. She should have made a country-tinged cd but then I guess that would encroached on Carrie’s fans/sales… which I wouldn’t like. Kelly is a great vocalist… this is a crucial point in her future career… if she had the songwriting and hooks that Katy has it woudl be better. Mayber he full cd will be more consistent… let’s hope so. If you want to listen to a great cover by Kelly check out her duet with The Wreckers’ “Cigarettes” on YouTube. Now I would LOVE to hear a studio version of that… she really feels that song.


  4. Oh please. Kelly Clarkson can slay Underwood in any genre. Carrie is boring, has a nasally voice, and takes no chances at all with her music. Kelly has more talent in her pinky than Carrie will ever have in her lifetime. Maybe you should go and find a real job since you don’t know music or artistic ability at all.


  5. For Chris to bash Carrie is 100% wrong – Carrie is the best singer, performer and entertainment package the world has seen in the last decade. Kelly has an amazing voice, but cannot be thought of in the same league as Carrie. Just one listen to Carrie’s “Thou Art” ACM performance will all naysayers to rest. To say Carrie takes no chances in her music is not true. Carrie is one of the only (and maybe the ONLY in music) artist to actually sing about emotional, substantial, positive, and inspiring songs in the business. There is not ONE artist today that can even begin to amass the inspiring songs as Carrie. If you stack up SO SMALL, JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL, CHANGE, TEMPORARY HOME.. even MAMA’S SONG against any songs Kelly has done Carrie wins handily. Unfortunately, Kelly she does not have one song with any real substance or emotion… she does have a great, emotive voice, just not many songs to back it up since she and her label have chosen to go the pop/trendy route… she releases well-crafted pop/dance/rock songs… Now, I’m a Kelly fan, bought all her cds, but Kelly (or Beyonce, Mariah, Celine, Lady G, Madonna) cannot match Carrie’s total, positive, inspiring entertainment package. In fact, there has never been someone like Carrie in music… and likely never will be again. When Carrie performs live it is an Event. When Carrie makes a video, it is an Event. When Carrie co-writes her last SIX #1 HITS.. that is an Event !! Kelly cannot lay claim to any of these examples… Kelly had the world in her hands but now must play catch… I wish her well, but I predict Carrie will go down in history as the best country artist (and in my mind, overall music) artist ever. You don’t get into the Opry at 27 yrs old for not being amazing. There are not many performers who can hold there own with Steven Tyler, Vince Gill, Tony Bennett, Brad Paisley, … oh wait, there is – Carrie Underwood.


    • I wouldn’t say she’s the best ever but Carrie is pretty great and Kelly is great also. My problem with Chris’ comment is him dissing Carrie as a nobody, which is FAR from being true. If anything, Carrie’s entire career hasn’t had any misstep. And to say she sings nasally is just silly.


  6. Wow, a review I actually agree with!

    With most Kelly Clarkson reviews, you can just connect the dots:
    1) Reviewer will rave about how good her singing is (which is almost always true, of course)
    2) Reviewer will rave about how original and unique the song is
    3) Reviewer will say that the song is a surefire hit
    4) Reviewer will say that the song is her best in years, and possibly her best ever.
    Ad nauseam. 🙂

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Although i don’t like Kelly’s affected “R&B thang” delivery, her voice sounds as good as ever. Trouble is, as you pointed out, even she can’t turn an average, bland single into something special. After listening to the song, I kept waiting for the chorus, until I finally realized, “You mean that WAS the chorus???” 😉

    “Let Me Down” was a bit of a yell-fest, and it did sound similar to “Don’t Let Me Stop You,” but it was still incredibly catchy and energetic. It would’ve been so much better than “Mr. Know It All.”

    I don’t see this song doing very well, and that’s a shame, because Kelly deserves so much better. File this one under: “What were they thinking,” or better yet–“WERE they even thinking???”

    Maybe Kelly will pull out all the guns for her second single, because I guess she won’t have much choice. 😉


      • That says it in a nutshell. LOL.

        I think when radio company execs have all these big meetings and discussions, they end up losing objectivity. I’d say your average music fun would easily pick “Let Me Down” over “Mr. Know It All” as a first single for Kelly. But somehow what seems obvious to most of us just *ain’t* obvious to them. Those big suits would do well to poll some regular fans instead of being such “know it alls.” 😉

        Maybe Kelly is really singing this song to them! 🙂


        • Yeah I’ve been wondering a lot about the decisions some artists and their labels take with singles. Sometimes it’s so obvious the song isn’t that good that it makes you wonder: what were they thinking?


  7. Pingback: Stronger (Album Review) – Kelly Clarkson « A Separate State of Mind

  8. Pingback: Stronger (Album Review) – Kelly Clarkson « Norimalers's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s