Piece By Piece (Deluxe Version)
Label: RCA RECORDS LABEL
Even for Ms. Clarkson, this is melodramatic stuff, and way heavier on prom ballads than roller rink synthpop (once "Heartbeat Song" clears the gates and before "Dance With Me" crunches along). John Legend swings by, Sia offers a little outside help, but mostly this is just Kelly up front and somber, her notably adult themes encompassing motherhood, broken families, shattered hearts. Earnest to a fault (she climbs mountains, walks tightropes, advises "if you wanna lead, be a leader"), she still has a way with a hook when the spirit moves her. Next time, though, ditch the orchestra.