The success of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" on pop charts around the world caught people off guard in 2010, but a success that big often prompts people to ask "who's next." The next country song to experience that level of success may possibly come from Jason Aldean, who topped the country charts early in 2011 duetting with Kelly Clarkson on "Don't You Wanna Stay." Does this song have what it needs to be a pop smash? Read on for our review of Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson's "Don't You Wanna Stay."
A Match Made in Nashville
As one of the most consistent performers in country music, Jason Aldean is fortunate to get first dibs on some of the best-written songs available in Nashville and beyond. When he was presented with "Don't You Wanna Stay," Jason Aldean told Nashville.com that Kelly Clarkson was the first person he thought of to join him on his first duet. To many music lovers, that might seem like an unusual pick, but Kelly Clarkson is no stranger to Country music after having scored a number two hit in 2007 duetting with Reba McEntire on a country version of "Because of You." In addition, Kelly's manager is Reba's husband Narville Blackstock.
Just like "Need You Now" in 2009, "Don't You Wanna Stay" received its first public exposure at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards in November 2010, and instantly digital sales of the song skyrocketed, causing the song to debut on both the Billboard Country and Hot 100 charts before it was officially a single. Once the song was officially released, it wasted no time reaching number one, where it camped out for three weeks in March 2011. Once the Country chart was conquered, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson set their sights on a more pop audience, which they targeted on shows like Ellen and American Idol. Their appearance on the Top 8 results show immediately sent the single back up the iTunes chart that evening.
So What About the Song?
At the heart of "Don't You Wanna Stay" is a classic power ballad. Whether you want to call the song country, pop, or something in between doesn't matter because the chorus is so catchy that it doesn't matter if you use an electric guitar or a steel guitar. Much credit goes to Jason Aldean's inspired idea of turning the song into a duet and asking Kelly Clarkson to join him, because when their voices mesh and soar on the chorus, they take the listener right along with them. The listener feels the longing in both of their voices and roots for them to work things out. No doubt there will probably be a pop version of the record that changes the instrumentation a bit to make it more pop radio friendly, but most listeners are more than capable of hearing a song like "Don't You Wanna Stay" in whatever form it is offered because it is a quality song with perfectly matched vocals.