Kelly Clarkson has broken away from the mellow sounds of R&B and pop that defined her 2003 debut, Thankful, and ventures into completely new territory with Breakaway, a follow-up album that features raw, edgy lyrics and raging rock tempos.

The problem in her latest venture, however, is that Clarkson seems to lose the unique voice that defined her original hits. "Since U Been Gone" replicates the sound and style of Avril Lavigne while "Because of You" and "Addicted," both co-written with former Evanescence members Ben Moody and David Hodges, echo the essence of that particular group. The most memorable melody and already a No. 1 hit single is the title track, which was co-written by Lavigne.

For future albums, let’s hope Clarkson finds a niche somewhere between the sweet ballads of her previous CD and the dark, angst-ridden rock tunes found within Breakaway. Though it has its place at moments for our ever-changing moods, this highly anticipated release would have been better if it were just a bit less depressing.

Grade: B

Breakaway is currently available.