Ali Tamposi, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin and produced by Kurstin. It was sent to mainstream radio on January 17, 2012, by RCA, as the second single from Clarkson’s fifth album, Stronger. The song is an uptempo pop rock song that uses vibrant beat pulsating with synth and electric guitar. According to Clarkson, the song was inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche quote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and its lyrics contain the theme of empowerment. The song is considered as an anthem for recovery after the end of a bad relationship.
Critical reception for “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” was mostly positive. Critics were impressed with the song’s catchy hook and strong chorus although some of them panned the lyrics for being too clichéd. The song was a commercial success, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as charting at the top twenty in several counties, including Australia, Denmark, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The song’s accompanying music video was directed by Shane Drake. It incorporates the theme of a global flash mob which features worldwide fan involvement. The music video garnered positive receptions from critics who felt that its overall impact was joyful and fun. Clarkson has performed “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” in several live appearances, notably during the first season of the American singing competition The X Factor, the 2011 VH1 Divas special, and at the 37th season of Saturday Night Live. Clarkson also included the song in the set list of her Stronger Tour.