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Kelly Clarkson - The War Is Over (Smoakstack Sessions Version)
I should know by now that every Kelly Clarkson album must contain at least one song that is a total gut-punch to me. My December had Maybe, All I Ever Wanted had its title track, and now Stronger has The War Is Over. This acoustic version of the song from the pre-order exclusive Smoakstack Sessions EP is similar to the album cut (enough so that I wonder why Kelly didn’t pick a track that would be a bit more different acoustically) but the slightly stripped back production gives Kelly a chance to deliver a vocal performance that’s a bit less bombastic but has more emotional nuances. Each time she hits that chorus, you can feel the determination in “I won’t let you pull me in…” coupled with the resignation and relief in “but the war is over”. This song (along with I Forgive You) has been my main entry point into Stronger, which I initially found disappointing but which has been growing on me with a few more listens.