American Idol returned on Tuesday for its eighth season, along with one of its most notable alums: Kelly Clarkson. Her new single, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” is about two flawed lovers (“I know I’ve got issues, but you’re pretty messed up, too”) reconciling after a fight, but the bigger reconciliation here might be between Clarkson and pop music — and her record label. Her last album was famously a bit too uncommercial, but the pulsing guitar, arena vocals and synthesizer here are a welcome return to a giant pop sound. Perhaps it’s her fans she’s addressing with the title.
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