As both a country music fan and a Kelly Clarkson super stan, I’ve been dying to see Kelly go full-on country for years. If you read my old blog you’d know this, as I’m pretty sure I mentioned it about fifty-million times. I’ve always had a dream Kelly Clarkson country record in mind: A cross between the introspective Nashville pop of The Wreckers and the gutsy alt-country of Miranda Lambert, but with the flawless vocals that only the original American Idol can deliver.
Kelly’s been teasing us with the possibility of a full crossover for years now, beginning back when she featured on a re-recorded version of “Because of You” with Reba McEntire in 2007, and then later with her explosive Jason Aldean duet, “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” Last year, she delivered one of the greatest singles of her entire career with the Vince Gill-assisted “Don’t Rush,” which was a beautiful throwback to the adult-contemporary country pop of the ’70s. Following the song’s positive critical reception, Kelly’s back at it again with a much more modern offering called “Tie It Up.” It seems to just be a one-off digital single to celebrate her recent engagement so I won’t be too harsh, but “Tie It Up” is not the big country smash that I’ve been waiting all these years for Kelegend to deliver.
The hook is treacly and nowhere near as catchy as we’re accustomed to from the TRUE queen of radio-friendly pop-rock (fuck off, Pink), and the production is as by-the-numbers as a Shania Twin b-side. But the biggest problem with “Tie It Up” is the vocal delivery. The lovey-dovey sentiment of “Don’t Rush” worked so well because Kelly dialed down the angst, but here she’s still singing with all the guts and grit of one of her famous breakup anthems — which doesn’t quite compute when the subject matter is about party planning and cake cutting.
Sorry Kelly, but you’ve finally released a single that I’m just not totally crazy about. But I think I can forgive one dud in ten years…just don’t do it again!