“Wash, Rinse, Repeat” (Demo) – Kelly Clarkson

Registration: Copyright
Leaked: May 6, 2010
Recorded: 2009/2010: For Stronger album
Writers: Kelly Clarkson

“Wash, Rinse, Repeat” is an intense and sarcastic song, built on anger and an overall dissatisfaction with the music industry. It leaked in early May 2010, at the beginning of what ended up being a huge onslaught of Kelly Clarkson leaks. Between spring and summer 2010, dozens of demos spanning Kelly’s career found their way online. While many were leftovers from earlier albums, most were new songs that were either intended for Kelly’s 5th studio album or meant for other artists.

Whether Kelly Clarkson actually planned to release “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” is up for debate, but the song certainly gets out a lot of hard feelings about popular music in the modern era. But first and foremost is probably none other than Kelly’s personal anger about a fiasco involving her own single “Already Gone” and Beyoncé’s hit “Halo,” both co-written by Ryan Tedder.

Ryan Tedder: “Already Gone” vs. “Halo”

In 2008, producer and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder worked with two pop stars on their upcoming albums. First was Kelly Clarkson: The pair ended up writing a number of songs together, four of which appearing on Kelly’s album, All I Ever Wanted, released in March 2009. One of those songs was “Already Gone.” Also in 2008, Ryan Tedder worked with Beyoncé to help craft her song, “Halo.” It was released as a single in January 2009, two months before Kelly’s album containing “Already Gone” hit shelves.

When Kelly first heard “Halo,” she was upset. Its music sounded eerily familiar – almost exactly like that of her track “Already Gone.” She wanted the song removed from her album, but by then it was too late. All I Ever Wanted had been printed and shipped, and the world was going to hear “Already Gone” and all its similarities to “Halo.” Making matters worse, “Already Gone” became a single that August against Kelly’s wishes. The two successful singles got a lot of attention for their nearly identical sound. Of course, with Kelly’s being released after Beyoncé’s – despite having been written first – Kelly was called out as stealing Beyoncé’s song and plagiarizing “Halo.”

Kelly was angry at the one common denominator: Ryan Tedder. She accused Ryan of giving her and Beyoncé the same backing track, leading to the bad press surrounding her single. Ryan denied it, but the evidence is clear. “Already Gone” and “Halo” did sound similar, and were released as singles only months apart.

This most likely ended up being a major inspiration for Kelly’s raging “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” demo that leaked the following year. Lyrics like “Music from the past, from the present, well, just last week / We will change a note and get away with it (wait and see),” “Does it sound familiar? Does it linger in your ear? / Like something you remember from just last year,” and “This song is completely different from that other song, that sounds exactly the same!” certainly seem to be pointed to Ryan Tedder.

Repetitive, Uncreative Pop Music Industry: Clive Davis vs. My December

Besides just Ryan Tedder, “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” also calls out the pop music industry at large. In the lyrics, Kelly describes how many pop artists are controlled by their labels:

I’ll be playing God and you can be my (bitch)
The only compromise is you get to pick
Which of these formulas is your perfect fit
Wash, rinse, repeat
Why are you fighting it? (no, no, no)
Don’t get crazy, keep between those lines (We love change)
Here’s what we have in mind
We’ve worked with everyone
Trust us and see
Wash, rinse, and repeat

This is another plight Kelly herself experienced, just a few years before the “Already Gone”/”Halo” controversy. Kelly began her career as a vocalist, the winner of the biggest singing competition of all, American Idol. As such, with her newly won record deal, she was viewed as little more than a singer – but she wanted to be taken seriously and known as an artist. She had written songs and knew music better than most singers, but it took some fighting to get her own creativity onto her albums. She co-wrote only a few tracks on her debut album, Thankful (2003). On her immensely successful sophomore release, 2004’s Breakaway, Kelly had co-written half of the songs, including her Grammy-winning single, “Because Of You.” By the time she started working on her third album, Kelly had the inspiration and passion to write the whole record…

But there was one problem: Her label and its chairman, Clive Davis, hated her material. They saw Kelly’s new songs as poorly-written, unworthy, miserable tracks, without a single hit among them. They wanted her to repeat the success and style of Breakaway, especially that of Dr.Luke and Max Martin produced hit single, “Since U Been Gone.” But Kelly wanted to grow as an artist, and to get out all the bad feelings and stress she’d endured during her early, difficult years as a pop star. Kelly and Clive fought, but eventually Kelly won: Her album My December was released in June 2007.

It wasn’t much of a win though. Clive Davis saw to it that the album was unsuccessful. He only released one proper single from the album – which actually ended up charting well – and gave the album very little promo. By all accounts, Clive Davis sabotaged the My December album era. For her next album, Kelly had to return to her happier, more pop sound to regain her stardom. All I Ever Wanted basically accomplished this, but it’s not clear how happy Kelly was with the situation. She co-wrote about half of the album, but she had less control, more like how she was earlier in her career.

Using Genre and Vocals to Make Her Point

In “Wash, Rinse, Repeat,” Kelly doesn’t make the lyrics do all the talking. Kelly takes the whole song even further by making the genre and vocal style match exactly what she is denouncing. The song features excessive autotune to help her make her point: All pop singers are expected – or need – to use autotune to make their voices sound perfect enough for a pop song. Kelly herself has the talent and sway to not have to use autotune in her more recent records, but she made the stylistic choice to use it in “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” in order to ironically strengthen her point. Her autotuned voice sounds robotic, likening the music industry to nothing more than a machine. Instead of having soul, recycled music is automated and robotic.

Furthermore, the genre of “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” is a lot more dance pop than Kelly’s usual work. The song gives in to what her label and the music industry would like, yet she turns that right back around with her sarcastic and telling lyrics.

“Wash, Rinse, Repeat”

These themes of recycling songs and artists being puppets in the music industry are what make Kelly Clarkson’s “Wash, Rinse, Repeat.” It makes for an infectious and catchy song full of attitude and strength, and the sarcasm is hard to miss for even the least informed of listeners. The song has still not been released in any official way – and it’s not hard to understand why not. It’s unlikely her label was too happy about the angry demo, and they probably don’t plan to put it out in any official way in the near feature. Nevertheless, fans have this delicious leaked demo to enjoy anyway. It certainly is a treat.

Check out all the lyrics below:

I can’t take the pressure of new
Gimme old
Rip it off
Let’s see if it sticks to the wall again
They’re too dumb to see, see the truth
Give it to ’em
They will never notice
So what’s stop, stop, stopping us
Does it sound familiar?
Does it linger in your ear?
Like something you remember from just last year
Like sweet little lullabies in your ear
Wash, rinse, repeat
Hi, I’m originality

I’ll be playing God and you can be my (bitch)
The only compromise is you get to pick
Which of these formulas is your perfect fit
Wash, rinse, repeat
Why are you fighting it? (No, no, no!)
Don’t get crazy, keep between those lines (We love change)
Here’s what we have in mind
We’ve worked with everyone
Trust us and see
Wash, rinse, and repeat

Wash, rinse, and repeat
Wash, rinse, and repeat

Hi, my name is … and I’m here to run everything
Spreading like a cancer I will die and take you all with me
Let you have a little bit while secretly I’m waiting to rip that rug from underneath
Can’t believe you fell for it
Music from the past, from the present,
Well, just last week
We will change a note and get away with it (wait and see)
Just when you think that we’ve changed
Like an addict we sweep right back in with a dose of reality!

I’ll be playing God and you can be my (bitch)
The only compromise is you get to pick
Which of these formulas is your perfect fit
Wash, rinse, repeat
Why are you fighting it? (No, no, no!)
Don’t get crazy, keep between those lines (We love change)
Here’s what we have in mind
We’ve worked with everyone
Trust us and see
Wash, rinse, and repeat

Wash, rinse, and repeat
Wash, rinse, and repeat
Wash, rinse, and repeat
Wash, rinse, and repeat

The definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing, over and over
Expecting a different result
I’m insane (I’m insane)
Just wash, rinse, and repeat

I’ll be playing God and you can be my (bitch)
The only compromise is you get to pick
Which of these formulas is your perfect fit
Wash, rinse, repeat
Why are you fighting it? (No, no, no!)
Don’t get crazy, keep between those lines (We love change)
Here’s what we have in mind
We’ve worked with everyone
Trust us and see
Wash, rinse, and repeat

Wash, rinse, repeat
You love this song (Everybody can do it)
This song is the most amazing song that you have ever heard (It’s easy)
(Anybody can do it, and I mean anybody)
This song is completely different from that other song, that sounds exactly the same!

Yes it is
Yes it is
Yes it is
Yes it is

Check out the rest of Kelly Clarkson’ unreleased songs for more Behind The Music stories.

Hidden Jams

Hidden Jams is a music blog for super fans. We provide fans with music news and secrets you can’t get anywhere else. Find insider details on new music for upcoming albums, unreleased tracks hidden in the back catalog, and the stories behind the songs you love. Hidden Jams is your backstage pass into your favorite artist’s music.

Hidden Jams

Hidden Jams is a music blog for super fans. We provide fans with music news and secrets you can’t get anywhere else. Find insider details on new music for upcoming albums, unreleased tracks hidden in the back catalog, and the stories behind the songs you love. Hidden Jams is your backstage pass into your favorite artist’s music.

Sound Off!

%d bloggers like this: