Kelly Clarkson - Low / The Trouble With Love

Hmmm...American Idol, in case you're wondering. What with not being at all interested in anything broadcast on ITV, I'll admit that I first thought of Kelly Clarkson as being but the latest addition to the line of attractive young women representing the new sound of Nashville, following on from Shania Twain, Mindy McCready and LeAnn Rimes but no, Kelly Clarkson is someone associated with Simon Cowell, meaning that she really needs to be astonishing to even stand a hope of lasting much beyond summer 2004.

Taking a moment out to praise Clarkson, she really does have a great voice, which is more than can be said for those hopefuls on the UK's Pop Idol, but she wastes it on songs such as The Trouble With Love Is. Opening with the lyric, "Love can be a many splendoured thing", which follows the kind of wordless noise made so popular by Mariah Carey, The Trouble With Love Is soon settles into the kind of slow ballad that drifts along entirely without direction. All credit then to the other A-side on this release, Low, which actually aims to live a little bit. That's not to say Low is the kind of rock anthem likely to have Pink worried but it does, in its favour, feature some big, chunky Les Paul noise instead of all-too-tender acoustic noodling and a belting vocal against the first track's subtlety.

I can't, however, actually say that it's possible to foresee this single doing well in the UK, despite The Trouble With Love Is being used on the soundtrack of Love Actually, the new Richard Curtis/Hugh Grant film. That's little reflection on the merits of the song but simply that Kelly Clarkson doesn't really have the presence to be able to hit the charts. Instead, and given Simon Fuller's production line operation, it's possible that both songs will reappear on albums by other artists on the 19 Management roster but it's unlikely that Kelly Clarkson will be remembered for either, at least on this side of the Atlantic.



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