Kelly Clarkson – Piece by Piece (RCA Records; 2015)
The appropriately-titled album opener and first single, “Heartbeat Song,” is a sweeping pop ballad which instantly gives life to Kelly Clarkson’s latest record, Piece by Piece, her third No. 1 album on Billboard. With a distinctive and powerful voice backed by electro instrumentals and heavy percussion, Clarkson sounds like a less quirky version of Florence + The Machine on more than a few tracks. Among the highlights of this album is “Run, Run, Run,” a beautiful piano duet alongside John Legend. Life has changed drastically for the former American Idol winner since her last record, Stronger (2011), especially having been married and given birth to her first child. Thus, the themes of this album become quite clear early on: fighting through adversity and the subsequent need for optimism, ultimately leading to self-empowerment.
Trial Track: “Heartbeat Song”