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People Like Us (Kelly Clarkson song)

"People Like Us" is a song by American singer Kelly Clarkson, from her first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits – Chapter One (2012). One of the three songs recorded for the compilation, it was released as its third and final single through RCA Records on April 8, 2013. Written by Meghan Kabir, James Michael, Blair Daly, and produced by Greg Kurstin, "People Like Us" is an uptempo pop song, with its lyrical content primarily dealing with themes of empowerment, acceptance, and assurance for the eccentrics, who were being dedicated to as "people like us".

"People Like Us"
An image of Clarkson looking over her shoulders. Below her, the words "People Like Us" (in gradient violet-white) and "Kelly Clarkson" (in gradient violet) are printed using a stylized version of the "Proxima Nova" typeface.
Single by Kelly Clarkson
from the album Greatest Hits – Chapter One
ReleasedApril 8, 2013 (2013-04-08)
FormatDigital download
StudioLos Angeles
(Echo Studio)
Perth, Australia
(Crank Recording)
Length4:19 (album version)
3:45 (radio edit)
Producer(s)Greg Kurstin
Kelly Clarkson singles chronology
"Don't Rush"
"People Like Us"
"Tie It Up"
Music video
"People Like Us" on YouTube

Upon Chapter One's release, "People Like Us" received positive reviews from music critics, many of whom complimented its lyrical content and Clarkson's vocal performance. In the United States, it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 65 and has topped the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. It also charted on the Adult Pop Songs and Pop Songs charts. Internationally, "People Like Us" attained a top forty position in the national charts of Canada, New Zealand, Slovakia, South Korea, and Ukraine.

Filmed by Chris Marrs Piliero, the accompanying music video for "People Like Us" is presented in a predominantly monochromatic atmosphere and featured Clarkson portraying an undercover scientist who furtively escapes an experimental subject with a full colored appearance into freedom. The video has met with positive reception from critics, who complimented its visual treatment and compared it to the 1998 film Pleasantville. Clarkson has performed the song in limited live performances, premiering it on the twelfth season of American Idol.


Production and releaseEdit

Less than a year after the release of her fifth studio album, Stronger (2011), Clarkson began to record tracks with Greg Kurstin for a potential sixth studio album during the Labor Day weekend in 2012. She explained, "We're always working, I go overseas for awhile [sic] and when I come back it's the holidays. I wanna make sure I have actual time off, so I like to get ahead of the game." Kurstin had previously collaborated with Clarkson for Stronger, producing the songs "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)", "Dark Side" and "Honestly". She remarked, "He has this whole jazz background, brings kind of a cool element to pop music. The cool thing about it is he gets in the studio and he doesn't have a formula. It's like everything could change."[1]

One of the three songs recorded for Greatest Hits – Chapter One, along with "Catch My Breath" and "Don't Rush", "People Like Us" was written by Meghan Kabir, James Michael and Blair Daly, with production handled by Greg Kurstin. It marked the first time Michael, lead singer of the rock band Sixx:A.M., had co-written a single for a pop artist, having previously written songs for rock musicians such as Sixx:A.M., Meat Loaf, and Papa Roach. On November 14, 2012, five days ahead of Chapter One's release, the song premiered online on Clarkson's YouTube channel.[2][3][4][5]


"People Like Us" is a pop anthem[2] with a length of four minutes and 20 seconds, a radio edit of it omits a part of the final chorus. The track begins with a spoken word intro and opens into an up-tempo pop melody, with its lyrics mainly exploring the themes of assurance, empowerment, celebration for the eccentrics and outcasts, which were dedicated by Clarkson as "people like us".[citation needed]

The song is performed in the key of E minor with a tempo of 128 beats per minute in common time. It follows a chord progression of Em–G–Bm–A, and Clarkson's vocals span from D4 to E5.[6]


Critical responseEdit

The single received generally favorable reviews from critics. Carl Williott of Idolator wrote in a review, "'People Like Us' showcases Kelly’s ability to turn frustration into uplifting (and danceable) catharsis. With lines like 'We are all misfits livin' in a world on fire,' it’s another colossal, fist-in-the-air pop anthem from Clarkson."[2] Andy Scott of Celebuzz also wrote a positive review, he wrote: "the latest single from the Grammy-winning superstar is exactly what we've come to expect from her: infectious beats; uplifting lyrics; and a powerful chorus that reminds one of her past hits like "Since U Been Gone" and "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)".[7] Multiple music critics also considered it to be a gay anthem.[8][9] Zara Golden of VH1 compared the song's lyrical theme to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (2011), but also noted that "Clarkson is an old expert at spinning hope from hard times and this is the perfect final entry to Clarkson’s 'Chapter One.'"[10]

Chart performanceEdit

Upon the release week of Chapter One, digital sales of "People Like Us" resulted in it entering the South Korean singles chart at number 14.[11] Following its release as a single, the song entered the Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart at number 30 and on the Hot Dance Club Songs at number 32,[12][13] and peaked at number 7 and number 1, respectively.[14] It was Clarkson's fourth straight pop single to top the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and further extended her record as the top female solo artist on Adult Top 40 radio.[15] It also debuted on the Pop Songs chart at number 36[16] and peaked at number 28.[14] On the week ending June 1, 2013, "People Like Us" debuted on the Hot 100 chart at number 99, and peaked at number 65.[13] As of September 2017, it has sold over 526,000 digital downloads in the United States.[17] In Canada, "People Like Us" debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number 66,[18] and peaked at number 28. In New Zealand, it debuted on the NZ Top 40 chart at number 37 on February 4, 2013 and peaked at number 25.[19]

Music videoEdit

Concept and synopsisEdit

Stills from the "People Like Us" music video. The first (above) features Clarkson performing the song (as presented in color), it intersperses with black-and-white scenes of her portraying a scientist in a research facility with the girl in full color (below). Pilliero utilized color as a rhetorical device to distinguish the antagonists (in monochrome) from the misfits or "people like us" (in color).[20]

The accompanying music video for "People Like Us" was directed by Chris Marrs Piliero.[21] Filmed on April 9, 2013 at Mission Street Laboratories in South Pasadena, California, it utilizes a 2.39:1 anamorphic format (similar to "Catch My Breath").[22] A twenty-second preview of the video was broadcast on E! News on May 24, 2013, with the full video premiering on VEVO on May 28, 2013.[23][21] The video utilizes several special effects shots, including the use of chroma key compositing and computer-generated imagery. In the video, Clarkson portrays a scientist breaking away from a monochromatic atmosphere and into a colorful one, accompanied with a young girl in full color.

The video, which uses the radio edit of the song, begins with a footage of Clarkson performing, alternating with scenes of her joining a group of scientists examining a young girl (played by twins Rebecca & Vanessa Rogers) in a research facility.[23] The scenes in the facility were presented in black-and-white form, with the exception of the young girl being presented in full color to distinguish her in a drab, monochromatic world. Throughout the chorus, Clarkson furtively takes snapshots of the girl using a Nokia Lumia 920, an example of product placements used in the video. She then sneaks into the girl's holding cell and lets her wipe a part of her face, revealing a colored look.[20] The two try to escape the facility while being chased by its guards.[23] Riding in a red BMW Z4 while being followed, the two, Clarkson now in full color, drive through a tunnel with a bright light at the end.[23] At the tunnel's end, the guards try apprehend them, but were stopped in flabbergast when other people in full color intervene and after discovering a world changing from black-and-white into color. The video zooms out to show a fractal landscape terrain and ends with a shot of Clarkson singing the last line, now revealing a full colored appearance.[24]


The video received positive reviews from various critics, with many of them comparing the video's monochromatic treatment to the 1998 film Pleasantville.[23] Emily Blake of MTV wrote that "Clarkson reminds her fans that differences really are what makes the world colorful."[25] Courtney Smith of CBS Radio compared the final scene of the video to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She also wrote, "This sort of cinematic setting is nothing unusual for the director Piliero, although we've never seen him interconnect so many influences in one video before."[20] Paul Duren of The Dallas Morning News wrote in his review, "The video is one of Kelly’s most creative ones, and with the most ads too. You can see Nokia and BMW getting the "in your face" treatment, but it really doesn't take much away from the video. All in all, the video gives a clear representation of the song and drives the point of the song home."[26] Jayvee from The Round Table also pointed out a similar review, he wrote, "Aside from the insane amount of product placements (Nokia Windows Phone, BMW, etc.), which is new territory for Clarkson, the overall video concept and message behind the song is pretty damn cool."[27] The video received a nomination for a MTV Video Music Award for Best Video with a Message at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.[28]

Live performancesEdit

Clarkson debuted "People Like Us" on the 12th season of American Idol on April 11, 2013.[29] It was later covered by the contestants as a group performance during the 14th season episode, "Evening with Kelly Clarkson."

Usage in mediaEdit

This song was covered by Matt Bomer in an episode of the television series Doom Patrol.[30] This cover version has been released in June 2019.

Formats and track listingEdit

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from the Greatest Hits – Chapter One liner notes.[34]


Chart performanceEdit

Radio and release historyEdit

List of release dates, showing region, release format, and label
Region Date Format Label
United States April 8, 2013 (2013-04-08) Mainstream Top 40, Hot AC radio[51] RCA Records
Canada April 30, 2013 (2013-04-30) Digital download – Remixes EP[31] Sony Music Entertainment
United States RCA Records
Belgium May 10, 2013 (2013-05-10) Digital download – EP[33] Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom June 30, 2013 (2013-06-30) Digital download – Single[32] RCA Records
Austria July 12, 2013 (2013-07-12) Sony Music Entertainment

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hampp, Andrew (September 5, 2012). "Kelly Clarkson Talks Next Album, 'Good Changes' at RCA, Downside to 'Duets'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Williott, Carl (November 14, 2012). "Kelly Clarkson's "People Like Us": Hear The Uplifting New Track". Idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  3. ^ Wright, Jojo (November 14, 2012). "Kelly Clarkson: 'People Like Us'". KIIS-FM. Clear Channel Communications. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  4. ^ Legaspi, Althea (November 15, 2012). "Buzz Bites (11/15/12): Listen To Kelly Clarkson's New Song, 'People Like Us'". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Unveils New Song 'People Like Us' Ahead Of Greatest Hits Release - Audio". Capital. Global Radio. November 16, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Daly, Blair. "Kelly Clarkson "People Like Us" Sheet Music in Eb Minor (transposable) - Download & Print". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  7. ^ Scott, Andy (March 22, 2013). "Listen To Kelly Clarkson's Latest Pop Anthem". Celebuzz. Spin Media. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  8. ^ "LISTEN: Kelly Clarkson's 'People Like Us'". Out. Here Media. November 16, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  9. ^ Gilchrist, Tracy E. (November 14, 2012). "Listen: Kelly Clarkson's Gay Anthem 'People Like Us'". The Advocate. Here Media. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  10. ^ Golden, Zara (November 15, 2012). "Is "People Like Us" Kelly Clarkson's "Born This Way"?". VH1. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  11. ^ a b 가온차트와 함께하세요 [South Korea "Gaon" International Singles - November 18, 2012]. Gaon Single Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved February 19, 2013. On the page, select "2012" and then "2012.11.18~2012.11.24" to obtain the corresponding chart.
  12. ^ Bronson, Fred (April 26, 2013). "'American Idol' on the Charts: Sales Kick In For Fantasia's Latest". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Trust, Gary (April 22, 2013). "Chart Highlights: Black Sabbath Returns To Rock Radio". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (June 21, 2013). "'American Idol' on the Charts: Kelly Clarkson Collects Her 84th No. 1". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  15. ^ Bronson, Fred (May 31, 2013). "'American Idol' on the Charts: Carrie Underwood Sees Second 'Voice' Bump". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  16. ^ Trust, Gary (May 13, 2013). "Chart Highlights: Mariah Carey, Miguel Blast Onto Radio Rankings With '#Beautiful'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  17. ^ Trust, Gary (September 10, 2017). "Ask Billboard: Kelly Clarkson's Career Sales & 'Wild Thoughts' About Rihanna". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  18. ^ Bronson, Fred (April 18, 2013). "'American Idol' on the Charts: For Scotty McCreery, 'See'-ing Is Believing". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  19. ^ " – Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us". NZ Top 40 Singles. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c Smith, Courtney (May 28, 2013). "KKelly Clarkson Channels Her Inner Misfit In 'People Like Us'". CBS Radio. CBS Corporation. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Mansfield, Brian (May 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson to perform on 'American Idol' -- Exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  22. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Filming Her New Music Video". Zimbio. Livingly Media, Inc. April 10, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  23. ^ a b c d e Lipshutz, Jason (May 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Saves The Misfits in 'People Like Us' Video: Watch". Billboard. New York: Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  24. ^ Mansfield, Brian (May 28, 2013). "Watch Kelly Clarkson's 'People Like Us' video". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  25. ^ Blake, Emily (May 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Dedicates 'People Like Us' Video To Her Fellow 'Misfits'". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  26. ^ Duren, Rand (May 28, 2013). "See Kelly Clarkson portray a beautiful, monochromatic scientist on her new video for 'People Like Us'". The Dallas Morning News. A. H. Belo Corporation. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  27. ^ "Music Video: Kelly Clarkson Premieres Official Music Video for "People Like Us"; Goes Overboard on Product Placement". May 28, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  28. ^ Montgomery, James (July 17, 2013). "2013 Video Music Award Nominations: Get The Full List!". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  29. ^ Mansfield, Brian (November 28, 2012). "Kelly Clarkson to perform on 'American Idol' -- Exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  30. ^ "Doom Patrol Music S1E8". Tunefind. April 5, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  31. ^ a b "People Like Us" – Remixes EP was released on April 30, 2013 in these countries:
  32. ^ a b "People Like Us" – Single will be released on June 30, 2013 in: and on July 12, 2013 in:
  33. ^ a b "People Like Us" – EP was released on May 10, 2013 in:
  34. ^ Greatest Hits – Chapter One (liner notes). Kelly Clarkson. RCA Records. 2012. ASIN B009LXEBD4.CS1 maint: others (link)
  35. ^ " – Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  36. ^ " – Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  37. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Canada AC)". Billboard.
  39. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Canada Hot AC)". Billboard.
  40. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard.
  41. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Global Dance Tracks for Kelly Clarkson. Prometheus Global Media.
  42. ^ " – Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us". Top 40 Singles.
  43. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201318 into search.
  44. ^ "Chart Update – 29 June 2013". The Official UK Singles Chart. Official Charts Company. June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  45. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  46. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  47. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  48. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  49. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  50. ^ "Canadian Hot 100 – Year-End 2013". Billboard. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  51. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (March 20, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Sets 'People Like Us' Single Release". Billboard. New York: Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 20, 2013.

External linksEdit