By Tara Schoenborn

American Idol’s first winner, Kelly Clarkson, debuted a new single at the CMAs on Nov. 1. Unlike some of the edgy, poppy songs, such as “Mr. Know it All” and “Dark Side,” on her last album, Stronger, this single embraces an entirely different genre for her: country. The song, titled “Don’t Rush,” represents returns to Clarkson’s earlier sound, similar to her Idol days. It is similar to “A Moment Like This,” except with a little country twist.

In contrast to songs like “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” which is upbeat and sassy, “Don’t Rush” is slower and about a deep and passionate love. It is not a song that pumps you up to go out on the town, but it is the kind of song that you listen to on a Sunday morning when you want to go for a long drive with the person you love. Everything about the song, from the beat and subtle electric guitar, to the tone and the lyrics, which begin with “Let’s wake up in the afternoon/Pretend that we got nothing to do,” all contribute to its feel-good country atmosphere.

The best part about this song is the fact Clarkson can pull it off. Since “Don’t Rush” does not have all of the pop synthesizing, Clarkson’s powerful and amazing voice really shines through. Instead of hiding behind overproudction, like in some of her more pop songs, Clarkson is able to really belt it out in this song and it highlights the strengths in her voice, sounding better than her pop songs.

Will Clarkson switch gears and try country for a while or was this a one-time thing? Who knows, but look out for Clarkson’s first greatest hits album, to be released Nov. 19 with “Don’t Rush” appearing as one of two new songs — the other, “Catch My Breath.”

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