It's been almost three years since Kelly Clarkson released her last studio album, 2011's Stronger, but thankfully, fans shouldn't have to wait too much longer to hear new music. On Friday last week, Clarkson revealed on Twitter that her next studio album will be out in "early" 2015. Score! Of course, Clarkson previously said that she was shooting for a 2014 release, but she just recently got married and had a baby — we have to cut her some slack.
If I had to pick a favorite Clarkson album out of the six that she's released so far (not including her Christmas album, 2013's Wrapped In Red), it would probably be 2004's Breakaway — but they're all awesome in their own unique ways. Yes, even 2007's much-maligned My December can still be a really satisfying listen when you're feeling all dark and moody and just want to lock yourself in your room, put on your headphones, and feel feelings for a little while.
To be honest, I would listen to Clarkson sing just about anything — but I do have some hopes and dreams for her upcoming project. This is what I want to hear on Clarkson's next studio album (in no particular order):
More Max Martin & Dr. Luke
Max Martin and Dr. Luke are the two legendary pop producers behind these three signature Clarkson hits: "Since U Been Gone," "Behind These Hazel Eyes," and "My Life Would Suck Without You." She absolutely must record more music with them! She must!
A Ballad As Powerful As "Sober"
"Sober" is hands down my favorite song on My December. The way that the track slowly builds to its emotional, explosive final chorus is truly extraordinary. More of that, please.
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Part 2
It certainly looks as though Clarkson has become buds with "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" producer Greg Kurstin over the past couple of years, so it seems likely that his work will be featured on her new project — but I don't want to take any chances. So, I'm putting this message out into the universe: Kelly, you need to team up with Greg again for your new album! You just gotta.
Two Words: Bonnie McKee
Bonnie McKee is one of my favorite songwriters in the music industry today. In the past, she's written hits for big names like Katy Perry and Britney Spears, and her contributions to Stronger are just fantastic. "Alone" is an infectious, '80s-influenced pop-rock anthem with a stadium-sized chorus that you won't be able to get out of your head.
A Country Duet Like "Don't You Wanna Stay"
Admittedly, I don't listen to a lot of country music — but I know a stunning duet when I hear one. I'd love for Clarkson to record another track with Jason Aldean for her next album. Their voices blend so beautifully together.
Ryan Tedder & Benny Blanco
Clarkson worked with OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder on a few songs on 2009's All I Ever Wanted (most notably, "Already Gone"), but I don't know that she's ever spent any studio time with Benny Blanco before. Tedder and Blanco worked together on Maroon 5's smash hit, "Maps," earlier this year, and are rumored to have produced Gwen Stefani's big comeback track, "Baby Don't Lie." I think that they could be the next big production duo in pop music.
A Song Like "I Know You Won't"
Clarkson loves to cover Carrie Underwood's "I Know You Won't" live, and it's easy to understand why — it sounds like it was tailor-made for her voice! At a tour stop in Nashville in 2012, Clarkson said that she met one of the song's writers and asked him to pen a similar ballad for her. Um, I hope that she wasn't just kidding around because I would actually be really, super duper interested in that happening.
More Kara DioGuardi
Former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi co-wrote a number of songs that appear on Breakaway — my favorite Clarkson album — so it should come as no surprise that I'd like to hear more of her work on Clarkson's new effort. I mean, "Walk Away" is flawless. Flawless.
A Big Dance Track Like "Good Luck"
Sure, Clarkson's done up-tempo, dance-poppy stuff like "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" before, but she's never really recorded a true dance anthem with big beats and lots of uncontrolled wailing — something like Basement Jaxx's "Good Luck," Ariana Grande's "Break Free," or even Christina Aguilera's "Let There Be Love." I realize that this is my most unrealistic wish, but I want it so, so badly.