Jason Aldean featuring Kelly Clarkson – “Don’t You Wanna Stay”
Songwriters: Andy Gibson, Paul Jenkins and Jason Sellers
On “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” the Top 20 single by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, the two parties aren’t at war with each other, but with themselves. These four minutes represent do-or-die time in a budding relationship, with the track’s swelling strings attracting attention to their indecision. “Stay” is a dramatic affair that demonstrates how pop and country can intersect with each other and offer decent results.
With a lyric sheet that seems drawn from a LiveJournal diary in 2002, this unlikely pair need to muster every ounce of energy to distract from the quality of the writing. They do. Aldean allows the spotlight to shine on his duet partner; his grounded and gritty performance is a strong counterbalance to the towering melody.
The star, though, is Clarkson. Mere moments into the cheesy, overwrought ballad, it’s clear that Miss Independent could do without her romantic freedom. “Stay” is centered around its big chorus–the first verse is fairly short and sweet—and Clarkson, one of the most powerful voices in pop, elevates the whole track above the average radio hit.
When Aldean unleashes his Georgia growl, Clarkson one-ups him by giving an even more aggressive response. The hook line might seem like a desperate plea, but she makes it sounds more like a demand. “Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?” she sings, fearful of hearing his reply. It’s a candid request, but this would-be couple isn’t in it for sex or short-term satisfaction: “We can make forever feel this way.” They’ve been mulling over the idea for quite a while, and the loud electric guitars gradually unveil their long-held frustration.
“Don’t You Wanna Stay” would be a suitable fit for a Foreigner or Whitesnake album, and, though nowhere near a classic, it’s an instant entrant into the “guilty pleasure” category.
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