Kelly Clarkson Endorses Ron Paul For US Presidency – Receives Twitter Backlash

I may not be a fan of her latest album, Stronger, but I definitely appreciate the guts it took Kelly Clarkson to come out and support a conservative candidate for the US Republican ticket – and ultimately, the presidency.

Like Ron Paul or not, like Kelly Clarkson or not, everyone is entitled to an opinion and ridiculing them because of their opinion is not really the way people should behave in the 21st century where your opinion has become more public than anyone thinks. A tweet, deleted a few seconds later, can have its screenshot taken and forever be present in the digital age.

But no matter, back to the Kelly Clarkson issue. The pop singer tweeted the following a few hours ago:

The rest of the tweet goes as follows: “I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.”

Immediately after, Clarkson started receiving hate tweets because of her views, some of which are too indecent to be posted, well, anywhere. So Clarkson tweeted again:

“I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent. I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women’s rights, men’s rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he’s my favorite.”

And then subsequently, when people who were bashing her did not relax:

 “Man my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y’all ever disagree with something I say please don’t feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect. Being hateful is not a healthy way to get people to see or hear you. I was raised to respect people and their decisions and beliefs and I hope you will grant me the same decency. If you don’t agree with me simply unfollow me. It’s really that easy. I hope you don’t because I would love the chance to hear what you have to say but if you’re so blinded by hate you can’t seek peace and progress then that is your unfortunate prerogative.”
But enough with the introduction. The whole point of this post is not to be pro-Ron Paul or against Ron Paul. It’s simply a defense of free speech, one that I frankly expected people of the country that calls for this type of freedom the most to at least know what it means.
Freedom of speech does not entitle you to bash or harass another person just because they have an opinion that differs from yours. Freedom of speech allows you to respectfully disagree and voice your concern or idea to that person in a respectful debate.
And the ironic thing is, I’m a Lebanese preaching this.
The other point behind this post is to say that Kelly Clarkson, though admittedly republican, voted for Obama in the last elections. And yet, this particular point doesn’t seem to be addressed by many. I wonder why is that so? Is it maybe because being a Republican artist in the US is frowned upon as uncool while being a Democrat is revered? There is definitely a double standard here. If Clarkson had endorsed Obama, I’m more than certain this whole debacle and this subsequent post that I’m writing wouldn’t have existed in the first place.
Third, many reply tweets to Kelly Clarkson mentioned that Ron Paul was anti-gay and a racist person, mostly basing their ideas on the following “quotes” attributed to Paul:
“The rate of AIDS infection is on the increase again. From the gay point of view, the reasons seem quite sensible. First, these men don’t really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners… because sex is the center of their lives, they want it to be as pleasurable as possible, which means unprotected sex. Third, they enjoy the attention & pity that comes with being sick.””If you live in a major city, you’ve probably already heard about the newest threat to your life and limb, and your family: carjacking. It is the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos.”

 These quotes are misleading because 1. They were never written by Ron Paul and 2. They are part of an infamous newsletter that he absolutely denies writing.
Ron Paul is obviously anti-gay, as are many US politicians, but there are definitely more important issues, such as the economy, that are in the forefront for many Americans, including many homosexual men and women. Call me old-fashioned or conservative but I think having a home to raise your family and a job to sustain them, as well as a secure environment for their proper upbringing, are more important than which gender gets to marry which other gender. I’m not advocating for or against gay marriage. I’m simply saying there are more important things that a person can base a vote upon.
Finally, kudos to Kelly Clarkson for speaking her mind and stating her opinion. Back in 2008, when people were “baracking” the vote, somehow when all celebrities endorsed Obama, no one was taken aback. But when you stray away from the “media-approved” political path, you get bashed.
At the end of the day, celebrities all have an opinion and a right to state it. Whether you like their opinion or not, whether you approve of them voicing it or not is a different matter altogether.

Stronger (Album Review) – Kelly Clarkson

I’ve been a Kelly Clarkson fan since her Breakaway days. It’s probably her success that introduced me to American Idol – and ultimately my favorite artist Carrie Underwood.

Stronger is Kelly Clarkson’s fifth studio album and the follow up to All I Ever Wanted, which she released in 2009. Two years later, she is on the music scene again: promos, singles on radios and the rest of the shenanigans. But things drastically changed since 2009. Radio is obviously not as receptive anymore even though –  granted – her debut single “Mr. Know It All” was drastically different than the pop jam “My Life Would Suck Without You,” which I prefer.

Does Stronger live up to the hype set up for it by Kelly’s fans, numerous leaks over the course of several months and Kelly herself who stated this is her “strongest” album yet? The answer is a succinct no.

Stronger starts with Mr. Know It All – a song about a guy who thought he knew everything there is to know about the girl but she’s telling him otherwise. As I said in my review of the song, it’s not necessarily a bad song. It’s not what I would have envisioned as a strong debut single and its performance on the charts and iTunes, compared to Kelly’s previous lead single, proves my point so far.

The second song on the album, and the announced second single, is “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)“, the most obvious pop smash on the album. The Nietzsche-“inspired” single has Kelly belting out the chorus at full force: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller, doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone!”

Stronger then delivers one of its better songs with “Dark Side,” a solemn song about a girl professing to the guy and asking him if he could love her even though she had a dark side: “Everybody’s got a dark side. Do you love me? Can you love mine?”

Honestly” is another of the album’s better songs – and one of its highlight ballads. You can feel the anguish on the song as Kelly sings: “Would you face me, make me listen to the truth even it breaks me? You can judge me, love me. If you’re hating me, do it honestly.” It’s a song about regret, about a love lost and you can feel the emotions on it. The transition from delicate to intense vocals on “Honestly” is captivating.

You Love Me” has a 80’s reminiscent beat going for it. It’s Kelly’s reply to a guy who thought she wasn’t good enough for him. “You didn’t let me down. You didn’t tear me apart. You just opened my eyes while breaking my heart. You didn’t do it for me; I’m not as dumb as you think, you just made me cry by claiming that you love me, you love me, you love me.”

Einstein” is a song with an interesting concept and catchy beat. But ultimately, it comes out as a little silly. It’s basically a giant mathematical equation where Kelly is telling the guy that she “may not be Einstein but I know dumb + dumb = you.”

Standing In Front of You” has an ethereal feel to it. It’s a ballad that is not as strong as “Honestly.” I found myself enjoying the melody and the tone of the verses much more than the chorus, which has a very subdued feel to it, making the song definitely skippable.

I Forgive You” is another uptempo. However, unlike the catchy “What Doesn’t Kill You,” I cannot wrap my head around this and it’s not catchy enough for it to stick without me wanting it to. The lyrics are a mess as well. “I forgive you, I forgive me. Now when do I start to feel again? Cause the lights are on but I’m never home. But I’ll be back with a brand new attitude, cause I forgive you.”

The album then proceeds with a “Hello,” a song where the lyrics are quite dark but the melody is a happy uptempo. It’s a song about loneliness – even among people. “Hello, is anybody listening?” Kelly asks. “It’s everyone that’s calling me. Won’t somebody show me that I’m not alone?

On “The War Is Over,” Kelly is facing the guy who doesn’t deserve him telling him that the war between them is over. It’s the perfect song to tell anyone they don’t deserve you. “All I have to say is you don’t deserve me. I’m finally walking away cause you’ll only hurt me,” she sings. “And I won’t let you pull me in because I know you’re gonna win. The war is over, the war is over…”

Let Me Down” is another highlight of the song for me. Sure, it’s a typical pop song. But it’s insanely catchy. It sticks halfway through your first listen of the chorus and stays there. “You’re only gonna let down. When it counts, you countdown,” Kelly fiercely sings. “You’re only gonna me turn me out. As I burn, you burn out. You’re only gonna make me feel so crazy but when I think we can be something, you go ahead and let me down.”

You Can’t Win” is about a girl who can’t win when it comes to men, about how everything she does comes back to bite her. It’s a clever little song with an interesting drum-based beat behind it. The cleverest line? “If you’re straight, why aren’t you married yet? If you’re gay, why aren’t you waving a flag?”

The last song on the album’s standard version is another ballad titled “Breaking Your Own Heart” and it has the crystal clear Kelly vocals with her head voice moments that I love. The problem with this song as an album closer is that it goes nowhere and doesn’t serve as a really strong closer. I prefer the verses to the chorus. “Too many tears, too many falls,” she sings, “it’s easier here behind these walls. But you don’t have to walk in the shadows when life is so hard. Breaking your own heart, taking it too far down the lonely road…”

The Deluxe version of the album has four extra songs, one of which being Kelly’s country duet with Jason Aldean: “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” the best song out of bunch – and not really hers. In fact, the closing song on the deluxe version, “The Sun Will Rise” should have replaced “Breaking Your Own Heart” as the closing song on the regular edition of the album.

It could be that I think Kelly’s talent is too great for her to make such an album but I’m definitely disappointed by “Stronger.” The lyrics are more often than not cliched and the melodies too familiar. It could be that after the Adele invasion of US pop radio, I thought someone with Kelly’s vocal chops would make an album of the level of epicness that is in 21 – one that represents her life as it is. But alas, Stronger falls to the same issue with almost every other pop artist today: making an album that is catchy enough while staying artistically relevant. In Kelly’s case, the album has its shining moments here and there. But on the overall, it falls short from expectations, especially after having such high expectations from an artist that I cannot but respect especially after giving the world songs like the epic “Already Gone,” “Because of You,” etc…

While the marketing strategy has not been all over the place as it was with her previous two albums: she is actively promoting it, going on TV shows, countering the leaks with song uploads to YouTube, etc… I hope this album does well on the charts for Kelly because I truly want to see her succeed. Hopefully for her next album, she’ll have enough room to maneuver around the tight boundaries set by her label and make an album that truly represents her artistically – one that isn’t coloring by numbers to get a radio hit here or a cool video concept there. I also have hope that Texan Kelly Clarkson would fuse more country music in her upcoming albums because that is a genre where she can truly shine, as was obvious on her duet with Jason Aldean.

Should you buy Stronger when it comes out on October 24th? It’s not a bad album per se, but if you’re a casual Kelly Clarkson fan more into her “Already Gone“s than her “Since You Been Gone“s, you will find little solace on “Stronger.” For many, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when you see her cover songs like Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t” and make a great job at it, it’s tough to see such talent wasted on songs like many of the ones on “Stronger,” an album I’ve had for a few days now and don’t find myself interested in listening to in its entirety. Now many people will feel the same – and that is a bad thing.

Songs to download: What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger), Dark Side, Let Me Down, Honestly.

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.

 

 

Don’t You Wanna Stay (feat. Kelly Clarkson) – Jason Aldean

I’ve been obsessing over this song for the past week or so. I’ve had it for a while but I have no idea what got me to listen to it excessively now. I love the part after the bridge where Kelly Clarkson goes into her high note. It’s a really good one. You should check it out 🙂