Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson - "Don't You Wanna Stay"
By: Bobby Peacock
What I've always liked about Jason Aldean is his rock nature. Even when he's singing typical country themes, there's a grit to both his voice and production that keeps his rock nature intact. My Kinda Party made those influences quite plain on the Southern rock-flavored title track which led off the album. And much like the rockers of the past, Aldean and his band keep the amps turned up to 11 and offer up a surprisingly solid — if maybe a little anachronistic — power ballad.
"Don't You Wanna Stay" is structured interestingly, with its brief four-line verses and "don't you wanna stay"s throughout the chorus. Looking at the surprisingly short lyrics, it's hard at first to imagine that this is really a four-minute song. But it's the performance that solidifies the song (although the fact that it's a Jason Sellers cowrite doesn't hurt it any in my book). Both Aldean and duet partner Kelly Clarkson are in fine voice, making for an interesting combination: Jason's rough, slightly nasal voice against Kelly's cleaner, forceful tone. The production gets a little too heavy at times, but never to the point of forcing the song to become a screaming match. If it sounds like it came off some hair metal album ca. 1984, at least it does it well.
I still think that "My Kinda Party" could've made it a little higher up the charts had it not been pulled for this song. But at least "Party" made the Top 10 and "Don't You Wanna Stay" is likely to do the same. It might be a little too "edgy" to make #1, but the blockbuster success of Jason's last album most certainly leaves him free to take a few risks with his sound. Maybe not a huge risk, but it's a new sound for Jason just the same, and all I know is that I'm enjoying it.