Kelly Clarkson’s third album My December released today

Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol winner, releases her third album today. My December, which she called “more intense” than her previous records, and said that her label thought it was “too negative,” features songs that Kelly either wrote or co-wrote.

The CD is being released amid a lot of negative attention. Besides canceling her summer tour and firing her manager, the head of Kelly’s record label, Clive Davis, didn’t bother to mention her or the new album on Idol‘s sixth-season finale, apparently because he wasn’t happy with it.

But The Boston Herald’s Christopher John Treacy says “Clive Davis is an old fogy” who “was too quick to dismiss the CD,” which he says “accomplishes several difficult tasks” and “more than half her new songs actually match that power.” The New York Times’ Kelefa Sanneh says the “melancholy is welcome, as it was before; what’s missing is the sense of fun that turned her old hits … into karaoke favorites,” and adds that there are “melodies that sometimes sound cramped and repetitive.” And Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Willman says it is “darker, more personal, riskier” and that “Clarkson’s most vulnerable moments are accomplished and affecting,” but also says the album “unleashes some lighter pleasures that … would make dandy warm-weather singles.”