First of all, let go of your expectations: “Mr. Know It All” is not the grand return of Yell-y Clarkson.
Considering both the song’s sassy title and lyrics–which Ms. Clarkson neatly wrote out on lined paper for us earlier today–the lead single from her upcoming fifth studio album Stronger might give off the impression that “Mr. Know It All” is another dance-y pop-rock kiss-off anthem a la “Since U Been Gone” or “I Do Not Hook Up.” It’s not.
Instead, Clarkson keeps the throaty howls in check on “Mr. Know It All,” a gorgeous return to form back to the soulful sound of Idol‘s greatest export.
The singer confidently croons above gently strumming guitars and a tripping, mid-tempo drum beat taken directly from the songbooks of classic ’90’s singer-songwriter chicks (for reference, consult Alanis Morrissette‘s Jagged Little Pill or Donna Lewis‘smash hit, “I Love You Always Forever”–sans the saccharine sweet quality of Lewis’ voice). Actually, it’s quite similar to the beat of Clarkson’s own “Just Missed The Train” off of Thankful–my personal favorite!
Apart from the beat, the song still sounds quite contemporary: In fact, it’s very similar in structure and melody to Bruno Mars “Just The Way You Are.”
The song’s chorus is an especially gorgeous lift-off from the verses, as the tripping beat breaks away (Clarkson pun!) and gives way to a beautiful, soaring moment of bright piano chords and an insanely catchy melody: The phrase “‘Cause baby, you don’t know a thing about me” has been swirling ’round my brain for the entire day, and there’s no sign of it stopping anytime soon.
It’s no surprise that the song’s a total ear-worm either, given that “Mr. Know It All” was produced and penned by some of the industry’s greatest songwriting titans, including Brian Kennedy (Kid Sister‘s “Daydreaming” and Rihanna‘s “Fire Bomb”–two incredibly MuuMuse Approved songs!), Ester Dean (Rihanna, Katy Perry) and Brett James (Carrie Underwood, Leona Lewis).
So, to conclude: Melodies for days a la Thankful, a lyrical angst that falls somewhere between Breakaway and My December, and the radio friendly restraint of All I Ever Wanted (you know, without that forced Clive Davis-approved pop-rock gloss.)
While I certainly wouldn’t call the song as immediate as her biggest radio hits to date (if nothing else because of what we’ve come to expect from Miss Clarkson for the past few years!), “Mr. Know It All” is an amazing start-of-Autumn treat from an artist who more than deserves to begin slaying the charts. A sure-fire smash for the Clarkson? Hell yes!
“Mr. Know It All” will premiere next week on Tuesday, August 30 during a live stream. Be sure to RSVP to the event now on Kelly’s Facebook page!