Kelly Clarkson has been working hard on her upcoming seventh record, her first under new label Atlantic Records, and is slated for a 2017 release. She's described the album as a 90's pop R&B throwback, a record she has been wanting to create since her beginnings on "American Idol" in 2002. Fans have been waiting for new music since the announcement in June 2016 yet have been treated to several new songs since. Not only did she release various live covers from her previous tours, she teamed up with Aloe Blacc on "Love Goes On" for The Shack soundtrack and the song "The Cry" from the indie film "The Secret Scripture" made its way onto the internet. Now, two demos have appeared after short clips were leaked in 2016.
"Soap and Water" and "Feel It Coming On" are both country influenced so there's no sign that these new songs will be included on the upcoming record. In 2015, she told TIME magazine that she was working on the country album and her sixth studio album Piece by Piece simultaneously hoping to release both. A country record has been in the works for some time now under her former label RCA Records and now with Atlantic, she's free to record any style she chooses as the label also has its own country division.
"Soap and Water" is a sassy country rocker, a style she has taken on before with heavier guitars in the genre's offerings. "Where you been leaving your fingerprints?/ Just 'cos I don't see it, don't mean it ain't there/ You come creeping in late at night/ Covering the evidence like a crime/ But I'm like a blacklight shining everywhere," she warns her lover she suspects is straying. "Wipe down your lips/ Dust off your story/ Make up the bed that came before me/ You can wash your dirty hands/ Why even bother?/ You can't come clean with soap and water," she rages, singing about hanging his lies out to dry after they "come out in the wash."
Taking a slower pace, "Feel It Coming On" first had a mere 8-second clip leaked in 2016. The song is led by a piano and an acoustic guitar, fearing she's about to lose a love, not knowing how to say goodbye. As so often with Clarkson's tender songs, her voice soars over heartfelt riffs.
Kelly Clarkson is of course no stranger to the country genre. In 2006-2007, she became friends with Reba McEntire and the two recorded Clarkson's 2005 hit "Because of You" as a country duet. She then hired McEntire's now ex-husband as her manager and married Brandon Blackstock, McEntire's step-son. Her biggest country offering was the 2010 duet "Don't You Wanna Stay" with Jason Aldean that impacted both country and adult contemporary radio stations. A country version of pop hit "Mr. Know It All" was also released after the release of its Grammy winning parent album Stronger. In June 2013, she released her first proper country single "Tie It Up," a song she wrote along with assistant Ashley Arrison, country writer/friend Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne, about her engagement to Blackstock. The video featured Arrison and husband Aben Eubanks, Clarkson's guitarist, getting married as well as McAnally's wedding to husband Michael Baum.
Listen to "Soap and Water" above and "Feel It Coming On" below.