Stronger is the Grammy award-winning fifth studio album by Kelly Clarkson, released on October 21, 2011, by RCA Records.
Wanting to stray away sonically from her previous albums, Clarkson’s main objective was to record her vocal performances as it is heard in her live sets, and used as little auto-tune processing as possible. The album also marked the first release by Clarkson that did not cause a conflict with RCA; her previous records, most notably My December, were released amidst conflict and controversy. The record is predominantly a pop rock album, with several music critics noting the predominant R&B and country influences Clarkson explored in Thankful and All I Ever Wanted, as well as dance-pop themes which she had recently developed.
The album’s lyrical content mainly explores themes about heartbreak, vengeance, forgiveness, and empowerment through metaphors about Clarkson’s relationships around people. Clarkson began writing new material for the album in November 2009 while touring and finished recording in February 2011. Despite its original intent to be released in late 2010, the release date of the album was pushed back several times. Upon its release, Stronger received generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised Clarkson’s vocal performance.
In the United States, Stronger debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and became her first record to be certified platinum in five years by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) since My December. The album produced three singles. “Mr. Know It All” topped the charts in Australia and South Korea and attained top-ten positions in four countries, including the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” became the album’s most successful release and Clarkson’s most successful single overall. It topped the charts in the United States, Poland, Denmark, and Slovakia and attained top-ten positions in over twenty countries around the world. The final single, “Dark Side”, was released to moderate success, attaining top-ten positions in three countries. Clarkson promoted Stronger in two concert tours, the Stronger Tour and the 2012 Summer Tour with American alternative rock band, The Fray. Stronger received four nominations at the 55th Grammy Awards: It won Best Pop Vocal Album and was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)".
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