Kelly Rowland‘s churned out so many sensual slow burns (“Kisses Down Low”), naughty come-ons (“Lay It On Me”) and joyous dance floor fillers (“When Love Takes Over”) over the past five years, it’s jarring to discover that “Dirty Laundry,” Rowland’s latest single off of her upcoming record Talk A Good Game, comes from a place of enormous pain.
She’s vaguely touched upon struggle in the past (“They never seen our scars before, they think our love is beautiful” she sang on 2010’s “Rose Colored Glasses”), but never before has the hurt been so openly exposed.
“Dirty Laundry” is easily one of Rowland’s most emotional, soul-baring records to date (if not the most) that sees the songstress spilling out private confessions—not only about her relationship with her Destiny’s Child sister Beyoncé, but an emotionally and physically abusive relationship that nearly cost her…everything.
In 2001, Destiny’s Child hit to the peak of their success with their quadruple platinum-selling record, Survivor. Here, Rowland reveals that the years following their international reign were far less celebratory: “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, swear y’all don’t know the half of this industry,” she painfully croons above a pensive hip-hop strut and a cyclical piano melody crafted by The-Dream.
As the raw confessional goes on, the tale only grows darker, as she opens up about her abusive relationship: “Started to call them people on him, I was battered/He hitting the window like it was me, until it shattered/He pulled me out, he said don’t nobody love me but me/Not your momma, not your daddy, and especially not Bey,” she aches. “He turned me against my sister. I missed you.” Wow.
It’s worth noting that not only are the lyrics arresting, but the song itself—the melody, the production—is haunting. Odds are, though, that no one’s going to be paying attention to anything else but the words coming out of Kelly’s mouth.
This one cuts extra deep.
“Dirty Laundry” will be released on May 21. (iTunes)