Things were looking good for Kelly Clarkson's follow-up to the spunky, fun All I Ever Wanted—last month she posted on her Facebook wall that the record would be "influenced by Prince, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, [and] Radiohead," and that it would have a bit of a country vibe thrown in for good measure. (Not to mention for the purposes of attracting all those Jason Aldean fans.) But last night she posted some distressing news on her Facebook page, which has turned into quite the clearinghouse of information on her recording career and ever-growing menagerie:
I recently found out that my album won't be coming out until September ....the album has been recorded but I can't release it until then. I realize that is a long time but that's the best time to release it apparently so I'm sorry for the wait but I promise you it sounds great!
Kelly's assertion that the record sounds great is probably not incorrect! But it's kind of unnerving that the album's push is being delayed for so long, especially in light of today's news about Avril Lavigne's opening-week sales:
Avril Lavigne's fourth studio album, "Goodbye Lullabye," debuts at No. 4 off an 87,000 start. Each of her three previous releases peaked in the top two slots: her first, "Let Go," bowed at No. 8 but eventually reached the runner-up slot; while her second and third titles "Under My Skin" and "The Best Damn Thing" both entered at No. 1. "Thing," released almost four years ago, launched with 286,000.
Now, one could argue that comparing Avril to Kelly is like comparing a wormy apple to a perfect orange, and that is true. And perhaps this is the result of old music-business thinking about the dawn of autumn and the idea that "back to school time" is really "back to paying for music legally time." Although the soft commercial landings of two high-profile records from last September—Maroon 5's Hands All Over and Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns—put the lie to that idea, as do the numbers that show that record sales have continued to fall off a series of cliffs. And then there's the idea that music stores that aren't iTunes are becoming an increasingly dying species. And that doesn't even count the whole culture of leaking, in which supposedly honorable people let out things that they shouldn't (sometimes, they don't even mean to do so maliciously!).
Which is all to say that while plans are good things, especially when they're coherently made and well-executed, perhaps striking while the iron is hot and putting the album out sooner (maybe in May, just in time for the Idol finale to celebrate it!) is a better solution for everyone. At the very least, putting out a teaser EP to simultaneously whet and satiate fans' appetites might be a good idea and a way to keep Kelly's name out there? Because "Tina Turner meets Radiohead" sounds like it could be great, especially if this is the Tina template the O.G. Idol will be working from: