Kelly Rowland is airing her “Dirty Laundry” with Beyoncé because ergh, I guess she just wanted to be really, really insufferable this week. The song, so creatively titled, was written by The-Dream and seems to bring to light some issues Kelly’s been having with Bey over the past decade, mostly how much of a terrible monster Beyoncé has been to ol’ Kel, and how much Kelly is still grovelling for her approval, despite the many years of torture in B’s “shadow." Or something.
It’s a deeply, shockingly, proudly terrible song. It is truly so bad. It makes Ray Jay’s “I Hit It First” sound like “Fur Elise.” No one is going to get down to “Dirty Laundry,” because it’s no fun. Likewise, no one is going to be empowered by it in the tradition of powerful girl anthems, nor is anyone going to be moved to tears by it (the way Kelly allegedly was when recording it) in the grand tradition of Adele songs, because, oh, did I mention? IT’S A FUCKING SHIT SONG. It doesn’t resonate or connect emotionally on any level other than vague discomfort. Lyrics like, “Here I am in the spin cycle” make every other metaphor ever spoken shudder and implode; it’s an obvious nod to the already stupid title, and the tumultuous nature of Kelly’s life, we get it. But if you’re going to hash out your beef with a woman who rhymed “minute” with “minute” in a song and it was still one of the most iconic pop songs of this generation, then you better have something bigger up your sleeve than the type of washing-machine related metaphors my Dad could make up (sorry Dad).
There are some throwaway references to another destructive relationship she seemed to be partaking in, which, in all seriousness, seemed much darker, and much more violent from the lyrics “This n—ga put his hands on me” and most specifically, “I was battered.” With that distressing context serving as the backdrop for Kelly’s apparent beef with Bey, the focus on the latter relationship, seems, well, pretty trite. There’s two stories weaving together here; one potentially harrowing tale of domestic violence, that, much like domestic violence itself, is being overshadowed by something much more trivial, although I’m not sure why. The raging feminist in me thinks that’s probably indicative of the way a victim of violence feels; ashamed in a society that does very little to dispel that feeling, burying even their confession in apology. The cynic in me thinks that Kelly is desperately trying to save herself from falling into obscurity by catching the tail of Beyoncé’s shooting star, especially because the worst thing she charges her abuser with is “turn[ing] me against my sister,” at the apex of the song, bringing us back to the point at which everything began: Beyoncé.
Look, we always suspected Beyoncé of being kind of a diva towards the other Destiny’s Child girls — especially Michelle — and that was never so evident as at the Super Bowl when Bey welcomed the girls to sing “ALL THE SINGLE LADIES,” not All The Trios Of Ladies, for about three seconds before she waved them off stage with a nonchalant, HBIC flick of the wrist. But Kelly’s not going to save her career by airing her issues with B. Kelly sings, “While my sister was on stage, killing it like a motherfucker/ I was enraged, feeling it like a motherfucker,” and it seems like a cheap, easy shot to take, while lines like, “Post-survivor, she on fire, who wanna hear my bullshit?” are just tiresome. Nobody likes a martyr, which just means “friendless boob” in Latin, in case you were wondering.
With Beyoncé currently in Antwerp after cancelling a show on her Mrs. Carter world tour due to exhaustion and dehydration, it seems like Kelly’s taking a stab at a fairly inopportune time, especially because we all know there’s no way perfectionist Beyoncé would cancel a show unless her doctors tricked her into a padded cell with some studded Louboutins and shackled her down for her own good. An ever thickening plot comes after photos of Kelly crying following a birthday brunch with Bey on Monday started doing the rounds, and rumours began surfacing that the ordeal began over Bey refusing to go “full reunion” on Destiny’s Child (although maybe that’s the yet to be discovered secret to reunions: never go full reunion).
Regardless of the motivation (although I’m not entirely sure I go with “heartfelt” on this one) behind “Dirty Laundry”, all I keep thinking, as I listen to this whiny, turd of a song on repeat is, “You come at the king, you best not miss..."
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