Generally speaking, [artist id=”1231768″]Kelly Clarkson[/artist] videos tend to follow one of two formulas: 1. Kelly is jilted, either by a former love or a father figure, and she rebels in some form (tossing clothes out the window, haunting someone in airport bathrooms); or 2. Kelly rocks out, either in a spooky forest or on a stage somewhere, usually accompanied by her band and several flashing lights. Sometimes, she wears .
Regardless of the path they follow, all Kelly Clarkson videos tend to end the same way: badly. Kelly never gets the guy or the closure or even the satisfaction. This is all fairly uncommon in the pop universe. In fact, she may very well be the saddest pop star in the world.
Now, take all that into consideration while viewing her brand-new “I Do Not Hook Up” video, the second single from her (really genuinely great ) All I Ever Wanted album. Here — possibly for the first time in her career — we get to see a different Kelly. She’s no longer the victim, she hasn’t been jilted — she’s in control, she’s sexy, she’s the one doing the jilting. That she’s doing it all in her head is par for the course. After all, she’s the saddest pop star currently working. She has a reputation to uphold.
Still, whether it’s because the song was originally intended for Katy Perry’s album or because of director Bryan Barber’s effervescent color scheme and exceedingly literal treatment (here, Kelly’s opening plea of “Oh sweetheart, put that bottle down/ You’ve got too much talent” isn’t directed at some half-in-the-bag flame, but rather a sorta-cute waiter at a highfalutin soiree), “I Do Not Hook Up” isn’t your usual Clarkson fare. She tackles said waiter and shoves strawberries in his mouth. She takes a pratfall off a bar — and emerges unscathed, much to the delight of everyone. She gets to be sexy and funny and happy. It’s sort of refreshing, actually.
Of course, none of it actually is real, and at the clip’s end, Clarkson is pretty much all alone: just another single girl on a Saturday night. Again, that’s kind of sad (and it kind of makes her like the rest of us normal people too), but you get the feeling that she wants it this way. All of Clarkson’s best videos — “Because of You,” “Never Again,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes” — have that same sweet sadness to them. It’s what she does. If this were a Katy Perry video, things might be different. But it’s Kelly Clarkson, and even when she’s happy, she’s still plenty sad. Or normal. Often, those are the same when you’re talking pop stars.