Power pop is alive and well, particularly the female-fronted variety. From Lady Gaga to Rihanna
to Nicki Minaj to even yet another Madonna resurgence, there are plenty of vocally gymnastic divas pumping out sound.
The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, is certainly among them. The 29-year-old Texan emerged from obscurity into the homes of millions of curious television viewers, as she claimed her talent show crown to the tune of the inspirational “A Moment Like This.”
Since winning the show’s prize of a recording contract, Clarkson has been prolific, releasing five studio albums, two EPs, 19 singles and 21 music videos. All that work has yielded 10 top ten singles on the Billboard Charts, 13 Gold Awards, 8 Platinum Awards, two Double-Platinum Awards, and even a Sextuple Platinum Award with her sophomore album, Breakaway.
But that’s just sales. Her work has been recognized with four American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, two GRAMMY Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and six Teen Choice Awards.
Now, with her fifth studio album, Stronger
, Clarkson looks to continue her chart-topping habits. But the subject material on this latest album, although more hopeful and determined than previous releases, seems to be stuck in the arena of romantic relationships.
According to Rolling Stone editor Jody Rosen: “Clarkson remains a slightly wearying one-not artist--she’s a wounded lover, bellowing her pain and scorching the earth. But wow--that voice.”
If you’re looking for the high-powered vocals with some more positive and creative subject material, check out an album that was released about a month before Clarkson’s latest: All We Need
by Rachael Lampa
When one of Lampa’s songs came across the stream on NRT Radio, I had to check the song information to make sure it wasn’t Clarkson. The raspiness of the vocals in the quieter moments and the soaring high notes and super-choruses has much in common with Clarkson fare.
(Also similar to Clarkson is Lampa's involvement in a television reality TV show. She competed with "The Collective" on NBC's hit a cappella extravaganza, "The Sing Off.")
Specifically, if you’re looking for “a moment like this” with All We Need
, check out the songs “All We Need”
, “Savior’s Face”
, “Beauty’s Just a Word”
and “My One and Only.”
Just a quick look at the song titles of All We Need
reveals that Lampa’s subject matter is far more varied--and obviously, Christ-centered--than her popular music contemporary. Check out NRT Staff Reviewer Sarah Fine’s detail of the album, which goes into greater detail regaring her subject matter.
“This record is really just a reflection of my life and where I’ve been since you last heard from me,” Lampa said, referring to her self-imposed, several years-long hiatus from music. “Lyrically, there’s a thread of simplifying life instead of cluttering it. I’m one of those people who used to try pleasing too many people, only being able to give everyone 10 percent instead of 100 percent. Now my goal is to be an amazing friend to a few people instead of a lesser friend to a lot of people.”
That sounds a whole lot “stronger” to me.
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