A preview for the video for Kelly Clarkson‘s new single Mr. Know It All hit the Internet today, and it appears to be at least partly about the unfair way Kelly is portrayed by the press. In it, she performs against a backdrop of newspaper headlines which, when the camera zooms in, are revealed to say unflattering things like “The Win Went To Her Head,” “Why So Single Kelly?” and “Sponsors Drop Kelly Clarkson.” “You don’t know a thing about me,” she sings, in a non-parodic echo of MTV Diary‘s cheeky opening line, “you think you know, but you have no idea.”
This ire towards the press would be understandable coming from, say, Lindsay Lohan, but I actually can’t think of a single figure in pop music more universally adored by journalists than Kelly Clarkson. Even people who don’t much care for her music can’t help but get a little misty eyed when they think about how perfectly she embodies the aspirational fantasy that is The American Dream. When NPR’s All Songs Considered decided to hold a debate about her, they had trouble finding a single music critic who was willing to say anything negative about her on the air. Personally, I find my ear has trouble differentiating between most Kelly Clarkson songs and any number of homogenous pop tracks I tune out in the grocery store, but musical critique is different from the tabloid-y kind of coverage the video references. (And anyway, I’m in the minority.)
I realize the press is an easy target because everyone hates us, but it seems just a tad disingenuous to portray us as the enemy when press coverage of Kelly Clarkson has been as positive as it’s possible for press coverage to be without getting payola involved. I know it’s just a music video, but Ms. Clarkson might do well to reconsider biting the hand that feeds her, for we are a mercurial and pissy people.