As the original (and arguably most popular) winner of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson has amazingly managed to remain relevant twelve years later, thanks in large part to her high quality material. With her ridiculously catchy lead singles and strong hooks in the past, you’d almost certainly expect the same from Heartbeat Song, her latest lead single which precedes her next studio album Piece by Piece.
In the early stages of Heartbeat Song, she definitely tries to show that this is what you’re in for. From the stripped back chorus opening the song to the verse that follows, the song has all signs of building up to the usual punchy chorus that her lead singles are usually known for. The constant strum of the guitar and the quick drum beats are simple, yet work perfectly together as the song builds up. The swelling atmosphere almost forces you to expect something powerful and commanding to follow as Kelly sings her heart out about finding love again. In this context, it’s a shame that she’s given us the exact opposite.
After a second of silence, Kelly begins to sing the chorus, her voice surrounded by light electronics and various little sound effects in the background in a direct contrast to the energetic pop-rock feel of the verses. The punch of her previous lead singles isn’t found here, despite a promising hook, and it comes off as more of a step down in energy rather than a step up.
The elements themselves aren’t bad, though. Instead of using the two separate sections to create better songs around them, they opted to put them together in Heartbeat Song. The result certainly isn’t amazing, but is instead pleasant and easy to listen to. While it’s nowhere near her best lead single, or even her best song, it’s definitely not her worst.