Top 40 single reviews

Kelly Clarkson

Dark Side

Album: Stronger

Year: 2012


               Kelly Clarkson hopes her boyfriend will accept the worst of her in the delicate “Dark Side.”

                A twinkling music box opens the single, setting an angelic tone. Clarkson has had an awful day. She got in an argument with her best friend and they are no longer on speaking terms. She wants to sob, let out how worthless and idiotic she feels. The person she wants to turn to is her boyfriend. She isn’t certain how he will be able to handle her hurt and angry. In front of everyone else, she puts up a strong front. But she knows her boyfriend will call her on it and urge her to talk to him. She can’t hold in the pain anymore and asks him if he’ll change his mind about her. She needs him to be with him, providing emotional support even though she’s yelling she doesn’t. He’s the one person who knows her really well. He can reassure her she’s still a good friend. (“Tere's a place that I know/It's not pretty there and few have ever gone/f I show it to you now/ill it make you run away?/r will you stay/ven if it hurts/ven if I try to push you out/ill you return?/And remind me who I really am/Please remind me who I really am.”)

             In the chorus, she explains people are human and can’t be composed all the time. She asks him if he cares for her, even her nasty qualities. She states they have a meaningful relationship and it’s a serious step for them. (“Everybody's got a dark side/Do you love me?/Can you love mine?/Nobody's a picture perfect/But we're worth it/You know that we're worth it/Will you love me?/Even with my dark side?”

           She admits to being a “fixer upper.” She won’t ever be most popular girl, divulging every moment of her relationshp with people. With someone who believes in her, she could learn to be open. But if he decides to leave, she would retreat back into herself, shutting down everyone else. She asks him to give her a chance. (“Like a diamond/From black dust/It's hard to know/What can become/If you give up/
So don't give up on me/Please remind me who I really am.”)

             The chorus is sung again.

          In the bridge, she beseeches him to remain in the relationship. (‘Don't run away/Don't run away/
Just tell me that you will stay/Promise me you will stay/Don't run away/Don't run away/Just promise me you will stay/Promise me you will stay/Will you love me? “)


         The chorus is sung again.

          Part of the bridge is sung again to end the single. (“Don't run away/Don't run away/Don't run away/
Promise you'll stay.”)


    Clarkson’s soft, pleading vocals are fragile as a raindrop as it falls from a cloud. In general, she’s not trusting of most people. Still, she’s friendly .She pretends to be strong, declaring she can defeat whatever bothering’s her.  Up until now, her boyfriend has only seen her giggly, goofing off when she’s around him. She can’t hide her vulnerability from him anymore.


   The music box element gives the single a chidlike element, showing the complex depths of Clarkson’s inner emotions. At heart, she’s an innocent in need of love. It was an unique choice which pays off.

     The brilliant “Dark Side” lays itself bare even though it may get stepped on or ignored.

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