Kelly Rowland’s new single “Dirty Laundry” blasts the remaining vestiges of her ‘sidekick-to-Beyonce’ role firmly to the curb.
While years in Grammy award winning girl group Destiny’s Child had cemented that role, to some extent with Rowland’s help and tendency to constantly play public cheerleader to the woman she calls her ‘sister.’
But, behind the scenes things weren’t so Disney.
Jettisoning often generic R&B lyrics, Rowland gets down to the bone on The-Dream produced “Dirty Laundry.” Now, on her fourth studio album, the 32-year-old opens up in a way she hasn’t before to deliver a confessional ballad soaked in honesty.
The song lyrics talk of Rowland’s feelings of jealousy for Beyonce, perhaps from past years when she was taken in by the Knowles family after her mother had to live-in as a domestic elsewhere, and certainly when Knowles’ solo career took flight after 2003’s Dangerously In Love.
Rowland reveals she and Knowles drew apart from each other for a time, before sharing that she was once in an abusive relationship with a male partner. Music industry pressures and self-doubt are also addressed.
“While my sister was on stage, killing it like a motherf—er
I was enraged, feeling it like a motherf—er
Bird in a cage, you would never know what I was dealing with
Went out separate ways, but I was happy she was killing it
Bittersweet, she was up, I was down
No lie, I feel good for her, but what do I do now?
Forget the records
Off the record, I was going through some bullshit
Post-survivor, she on fire, who wanna hear my bullshit?
Meanwhile, this n***a putting his hands on me
I swear y’all don’t know the half of this industry”
“Let’s do this dirty laundry, this dirty laundry
Let’s do this dirty laundry, this dirty laundry
When you’re soaked in tears for years, it never airs out
When you make pain look this good it never wears out
This dirty laundry, this dirty laundry”
From the reviews “Dirty Laundry” has garnered so far MTV Buzzworthy writes:
“As hard as it must have been for Kelly to air her ‘Dirty Laundry’, we imagine it was equally therapeutic. We commend her courage!”
Stuff Fly People Likesays:
“It gives you chills. It’s so vintage R.Kelly-ish that it’s eerie. I applaud Kelly for this contribution to the music world. It’s what we need in a sea of the ‘new normal’ of AutoTune and poppin’ mollies.”
“Quoting the lyrics almost seems to take away from their power in the song, detached black print on your computer monitor.”
“It’s one of those rare songs where the lyrics, and not the music, make the first impression.”
What’s impressive about Rowland’s searing reveals is that she has moved past the things she sings of. Any doubts that she and Beyonce remain ‘sisters’ are put to rest by the fact that they are still friends who sing, lunch and play together.
Of the recording process, Rowland told Billboard:
“It was very emotional. It took me days to record. I had to get past being so upset and actually sing the song, not sob through it. I always hope that my music can inspire someone, the same way other artists inspire me.”
“Dream said, ‘I want to write you a record so that people will know exactly who you are, underneath it all.'”
“Dirty Laundry’s” deconstruction of the ‘smiley Miss Kelly’ of old throws up new perceptions of a more real and more powerful Rowland in its wake. Talk a Good Game is slated for release on June 18. Rowland and The-Dream are also about to kick off their summer tour, Lights Out, on May 24 in Kansas City.
“It’s me, a light, and a mic. Stripped and honest,” promises Rowland.