|Song by Kelly Clarkson from the album Wrapped in Red|
"4 Carats" is a song by American recording artist Kelly Clarkson, from her sixth studio album, Wrapped in Red (2013). Written by Clarkson, Cathy Dennis, Livvi Franc, with Greg Kurstin, who helmed the song's production. A Christmas pop song, "4 Carats" was originally written for Clarkson's seventh studio album that would have followed-up Wrapped in Red. Lyrically, the song explores the themes of holiday gift giving and materialism, with the singer asking Santa Claus for a four carat gemstone ring for Christmas day. Clarkson took inspirations from the songs "Santa Baby" (1953) and "Material Girl" (1984), sung by Eartha Kitt and Madonna, respectively, and described it as a crossover between the two.
Upon its release, "4 Carats" has received a mixed to positive reviews, who lauded the song's holiday pop sound but were ambivalent towards Clarkson singing a voluptuous number, due to her being a wholesome artist. Boosted by digital sales following Wrapped in Red's release, it entered the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart as an album cut at number 30 on the week ending November 16, 2013. It also charted on the South Korean Gaon International Singles Chart at number 144 on the week ending November 23, 2013.
Production and composition
After releasing her first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits – Chapter One, Clarkson began to write material for her sixth studio album on December 2012, intending to be her first Christmas album. She collaborated with Greg Kurstin, who was set to produce the whole record, to co-write some of its original tracks. Kurstin had previously collaborated with Clarkson on her fifth studio album Stronger (2011) as well as Chapter One; and together, they wrote the songs "4 Carats" and "Underneath the Tree" for Wrapped in Red.
Clarkson and Kurstin co-wrote "4 Carats" with Cathy Dennis, Livvi Franc. Dennis had previously co-wrote "Before Your Love", which Clarkson released as her debut double-A side single in 2002 with "A Moment Like This"; while Franc had previously co-wrote "The War Is Over" for Stronger. Clarkson revealed that "4 Carats" was not originally written for Wrapped in Red, intending it to be recorded for a pop studio album that would have been a follow-up to Stronger. Clarkson had then changed its lyrics to fit with Wrapped in Red's Christmas themes. A Christmas pop. song, the lyrics of "4 Carats" sings of materialism during the holiday season, in which a woman asks Santa Claus for a specific gift — a four carat (.8 gram) gemstone ring, which may be a diamond, or a ruby, something from Tiffany & Co.. Clarkson described the song as a "kitschy" crossover between Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" (1953) and Madonna's "Material Girl" (1984), while Matt Casarino of PopMatters described the themes as "tongue-in-cheek".
Brandon Baker of Philadelphia noted that should "4 Carats" be removed of its Christmas-time lyrics, it easily have found a home on any standard Clarkson pop album. Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani described it as a ""Santa Baby"-by-way-of-"Since U Been Gone" rocker", and found it to be a track that provides a modern update on the proverbial Christmas-list song" Jon Sobel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer remarked that "4 Carats" has a memorable pop hook. In his review, PopMatters' Matt Casarino wrote that Clarkson sounds too wholesome to effectively play a gold digger; and remarked that though the track has a nicely menacing guitar lick and a bouncy melody, Kitt easily rip it. Melinda Newman of HitFix described "4 Carats" as a song that wants to be a bit like "Santa Baby", and though it fits well with the lighthearted tone of Wrapped in Red's other originals, it suffers mildly in comparison.
On the week ending November 16, 2013, "4 Carats" charted on the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart as an album cut at number 30. It also charted on the Gaon Singles Chart in South Korea at number 144 on the week ending November 23, 2013.
Credits and personnel
- Produced at Echo Recording Studio, Los Angeles, California
Credits lifted from the Wrapped in Red liner notes.
|Chart (2013)|| Peak|
|South Korea International Singles (GAON)||144|
|US Holiday Digital Songs (Billboard)||30|
- Baker, Brandon (November 25, 2013). "Album review: Kelly Clarkson 'Wrapped in Red'". Philadelphia. Metrocorp. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Sobel, Jon (December 4, 2013). "Music Review: Kelly Clarkson – 'Wrapped in Red'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Fox, Marisa (October 18, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson in the Red Zone With "Wrapped in Red": The Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 125 (41). Retrieved February 23, 2014. (subscription required)
- "ACE Title Search". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
On the page, select "Title" and type "4 Carats" to obtain the corresponding entry.
- Caulfield, Keith (May 24, 2005). "Ask Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Stern, Brad (April 9, 2013). "Tinashe, Quadron, Livvi Franc + More: 5 Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Casarino, Matt (November 1, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red". PopMatters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Cinquemani, Sal (October 23, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red — Music Review — Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Newman, Melinda (October 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson sparkles on 'Wrapped In Red' holiday album". HitFix. HitFix, Inc. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Holiday Digital Songs for Kelly Clarkson. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "Gaon Digital Chart 2013년 11월 5주차" (in Korean). GAON. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Wrapped in Red (booklet). Kelly Clarkson. RCA Records. 2013. 88883-77623-2.