Update: Kelly Clarkson called into the Elvis Duran and The Z100 Morning Show on Monday to discuss her new single and revealed the name of her seventh studio album along the way. Clarkson says the collection will be released during the first week of March and is titled Piece by Piece.
The first-ever winner of American Idol is back with “Heartbeat Song.” It has all the trappings of a good, if not great, pop tune: It’s anthemic, upbeat, a little bit synthy, and anchored by a catchy, easy to sing-along-with chorus (“This is my heartbeat song and I’m gonna play it/Been so long I forgot how to turn it up up up up all night/Oh up up all night long”).
Of course, the most welcome facet of Clarkson’s return to new music—this is her first non-holiday recording since 2011’s Grammy-winning Stronger—is the singer’s voice. She handles a crescendo like few others can, and anchors the poppy, busy production backing with remarkable control over her instrument. It wisps when it should, it builds as it should, and while the track may not be country, there’s always that slightly-southern, charming twang at the edge of each note.
Clarkson’s full album is expected in the first quarter of this year. Stream the track below.