Big Girls Don't Cry (Fergie song)

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"Big Girls Don't Cry"
Single by Fergie
from the album The Dutchess
B-side "Pedestal"
Released May 22, 2007 (2007-05-22)
Format
Genre Pop
Length 4:28
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Fergie singles chronology
"Glamorous"
(2007)
"Big Girls Don't Cry"
(2007)
"Clumsy"
(2007)

"Big Girls Don't Cry" (also known as "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)") is a song recorded by American singer Fergie for her debut studio album, The Dutchess (2006). It was written by Fergie and Toby Gad while the production was helmed by will.i.am. The song was released as the fourth single from the album on May 22, 2007. "Big Girls Don't Cry" deviates from the hip-hop and urban music of Fergie's previous singles and opts for a more simplistic pop sound that incorporates acoustic and classical elements. It features credits from about thirty instrumentalists, many of which play the violins, violas and celli on the track. It is one of the few songs on the album that does not sample any other songs. The critical reception of "Big Girls Don't Cry" was positive, with many praising the maturity and simplicity displayed on the single as well as the message.

"Big Girls Don't Cry" was a commercial success domestically, attaining the top position on the Billboard Hot 100. It became her third single to do so and earned her the accolade of being the first artist with three number one singles from one album since 2000 with Christina Aguilera's first three number one singles. "Big Girls Don't Cry" also became Fergie's highest selling single in the country with 3,833,000 units sold as of August 2012,[1] and her longest charting with nearly fifty weeks logged on the Hot 100 between May 2007 and March 2008. The song peaked at number one in Canada and was present for fifty-three weeks on the chart. The song also reached number one in various international territories including Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Australia, where it spent nine weeks at the top position. Besides France and Hungary, "Big Girls Don't Cry" reached the top ten in all other international markets like the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It was used in an episode of Pretty Little Liars, "Father Knows Best". It was also performed on the 2012 Glee episode "Prom-asaurus" by Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), and Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss).

The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Anthony Mandler and released in May 2007. It consists over Fergie and her love interest, portrayed by actor Milo Ventimiglia, in scenes documenting their turbulent relationship that ultimately ends with Fergie packing up her belongings and driving away in her car. The music video featured Fergie in apparel designed by Candie's and was used by the brand to promote their clothing line.

Background[edit]

"Big Girls Don't Cry" was written by Fergie (credited as Stacy Ferguson) and Toby Gad.[2] The song was recorded at the Metropolis Recording Studio in London, England.[2] Will.i.am produced the song as well as playing the bass, supervising in programming the drums and engineering the song. In discussing the album with Clover Hope of Billboard, Adams described the production of this song to be his most challenging yet, saying that "I did an Edie Brickell type of production."[3] He was aided by Neil Tucker and Tal Herzberg, who also provided additional editing with the use of Pro Tools technology.[2] The song features a large number of instrumentalists on the song.[2] On the basses are Trey Henry and Mike Valerio while Keith Harris plays the drums, keyboard bass and keys.[2] George Pajon Jr. plays the guitar. "Big Girls Don't Cry" features eighteen violinists, four people on the violas and four people on the celli.[2] The strings were arranged and conducted by Ron Fair, who also produced the additional vocals on the song.[2] They were recorded by Allen Sides at the Signet Sound.[2] The song was mixed at Ocean Way Recordings in Hollywood, California by Jack Joseph Puig and Dean Nelson.[2] A&M Records, in association with will.i.am Music Group and Interscope Records, sent the song to contemporary hit radio on May 20, 2007 in the United States.[4]

Composition[edit]

"Big Girls Don't Cry" is a pop song with a length of 4 minutes and 28 seconds. It incorporates elements from different genres such as adult contemporary, acoustic folk and is composed by simple drums, synthesizers, violins, strings, viola, and celli.[5][6] The song is written in the key of G major and is set in time signature of common time with a moderate pop tempo of 118 beats per minute. Fergie's vocal range spans from the high-tone of C5 to the lower register of G3. The song has a basic sequence of G–Csus2–D5 as its chord progression.[7] The song is a ballad about the end of a relationship and dealing with personal issues.[2][8][9] James Simon of CHARTattack describes the song as "[an] emotive acoustic sentimentalism"[10] while Dan Gennoe compared the song to Pink's style of music, calling it and Voodoo Doll "pure Pink!".[11]

Critical reception[edit]

"Big Girls Don't Cry" received generally positive reviews. Spence D. of IGN writes that the album's aura diminishes as "Big Girls Don't Cry" plays and comments "Listening to this song it begins to dawn on you that by this juncture the album has strategically delivered a song tailor made for each of the varying commercial radio formats."[6] Mike Joseph of PopMatters praised the song for permitting her vocal ability to shine.[12] Bill Lamb of About.com rated the song four out of five stars, praising the mood, lyrics and vocals as "mellow, still sexy", "intelligent" and "strong". He noted however that there could be a moment in the song where it all catches fire. Lamb further added that the simple, gentle back lets the track unfolds on its own and that the song represents artistic growth on Fergie and will.i.am's part after time off from the Black Eyed Peas.[8] Kelly Smith of The Maneater felt differently about the song, finding it disappointing and the lyrics.[9] Alex MacGregor of UKMix.org compared the single to Gwen Stefani's "4 in the Morning", stating that they both have a timeless, Cyndi Lauper feel to them; he gave a four-star rating to "Big Girls Don't Cry".[13]

Chart performance[edit]

On May 5, 2007, "Big Girls Don't Cry" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number forty-one, becoming the week's highest debut, and the Hot Digital Songs chart at number twenty-one.[14] In its sixth week on the chart, it entered the top ten tier at number eight.[15] The following week it moved up four places to number four. After twelve weeks of fluctuating in the top five, the song reached the summit of the Hot 100 on the week of September 8, 2007, replacing Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls".[16] The song became Fergie's third number one single in the United States as a solo artist as well as the fourth top five single from The Dutchess album. The song earned her the accolade of being the first female artist to attain three number one US singles from an album since 2000, when Christina Aguilera did so with her third single, "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)", from her eponymous debut album.[17]

"Big Girls Don't Cry" became Fergie's third solo single to attain the top position on the Billboard Hot 100, following "London Bridge" and "Glamorous".

The song also charted at number one on the Radio Songs chart, the Pop Songs chart and the Adult Contemporary chart.[18] The song was certified platinum on December 6, 2007 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[19] It's digital download sales stand at 3,549,000, becoming her first single to surpass sales of three million downloads.[20] "Big Girls Don't Cry" is Fergie's most downloaded song, ahead of "Fergalicious", "Glamorous", "Clumsy", and "London Bridge".[20] In Canada, the song debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number seventeen on the issue dated June 2, 2007.[21] "Big Girls Don't Cry" entered the top five in its third week and reached number one in its seventh week on the chart.[22] It logged three consecutive weeks at the summit and a total of fifty-three weeks on the chart.[22]

In Australia, "Big Girls Don't Cry" debuted and peaked at number one on the issue dated July 22, 2007.[23] It ended Rihanna's six-week hold at the top position with "Umbrella" and barred the song from entering the position for three weeks.[24] The song logged nine weeks at the top position, from July 22 to September 16, 2007, and continued to chart up to thirty-two weeks.[23] It became her highest charting single in the country as well as her longest charting and highest selling single there, beating out her previous single "Glamorous".[23][25] The song has been certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 140,000 units.[25] On May 28, 2007, the song entered the chart in New Zealand at number twenty-eight.[26] The song entered the top three in its fourth week on the chart.[26] "Big Girls Don't Cry" reached number one on the issue dated July 23, 2007 and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for sales of 15,000 units.[26][27]

The song also achieved chart success in the European market. "Big Girls Don't Cry" first entered the UK Singles Chart on June 17, 2007 at number sixty.[28] It quickly rose into the top ten region and peaked at number two in its fifth week on the chart.[22] The song reached number three in Switzerland in its eleventh week and logged thirty-four weeks on the chart.[22] In Sweden, the song entered the top twenty of the Singles chart on July 19, 2007, rising from number fifty-four the previous week.[29] On August 23, 2007, the song peaked on the chart at number four and maintained that position for two non-consecutive weeks.[30] It was later certified gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (Sweden).[31] The song was also certified gold in Norway and reached the top position of the chart on the issue dated September 11, 2007, lasting three consecutive weeks at its peak position.[22][32][33]

Music video[edit]

Fergie in the music video

The music video was directed by Anthony Mandler and began production on March 30, 2007. The video had a 'First Look' on MTV's TRL on May 16, 2007 and peaked at #5 on May 24, 2007. The video topped VH1's Top 40 Videos of 2007 list. Milo Ventimiglia plays Fergie's love interest. The video begins with Fergie getting out of her car (a red 1969 Mustang fastback) and going inside a warehouse where she meets her band and practices. Meanwhile, she is seen singing next to her boyfriend, who is sleeping. She starts walking through the house, and is then watching herself and her boyfriend from a different point of view getting out of her car. They go into the house, and her boyfriend gets out a guitar and starts playing, while Fergie is singing. Later on, she sees her boyfriend out the window with several guys, one of whom passes him a small package, which is presumably drugs, and it upsets her. Fergie then starts singing the chorus while she is taking her clothes off a clothes line and putting them into a suitcase. As the third verse begins, Fergie is walking around a warehouse singing while wearing a tan-gray baby doll dress. At the end of the song, she is seen getting into her car and driving down the road.

There are other music videos for this song as well. The one described above is the so-called "Personal" version; it is approximately 5 minutes in length and the song is played once. There is also the so-called "Extended" version; it is approximately 9 minutes in length and the song is played twice. It begins with Fergie driving to the warehouse, then uses flashbacks which include the plot scenes run in sequence. At the conclusion of this first playing of the song, Fergie has arrived at the warehouse and, with her band, the song is played again, this time with all of the warehouse scenes run in sequence.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording and sample
  • Recorded at the Metropolis Recording Studio in London, England.
  • Strings recorded at Signet Sound
  • Mixed Ocean Way Recordings in Hollywood, California.
Personnel
  • Songwriting - Stacy Ferguson, Toby Gad
  • Production - will.i.am
  • Bass and drum programming - will.i.am
  • Basses - Trey Henry, Mike Valerio
  • Drums, keyboard bass, keys - Keith Harris
  • String arrangement and conductor - Ron Fair
  • Violins - Bruce Dukov, Natalie Leggett, Charlie Bisharat, Sarah Thornblade, Julie Gigante, Josefina Vergara, Sid Page, Roberto Cani, Anatoly Rosinsky, Liane Mautner, Barbra Porter, Darius Campo, Helen Nigthengale, Tiffany, Hu. Becky Bunnell, Shoshana Claman, Lisa Sutton, Armen Annasian
  • Violas - Brian Dembo, Matt Funes, Thomas Diener, Andrew Duckles
  • Celli - Cecilia Tsan, Larry Corbett, David Low, Suzie Katayma
  • Engineering - will.i.am, Neil Tucker, Tal Herzberg
  • Pro Tools - Tal Herzberg
  • Guitars - George Pajon Jr.
  • Mixing - Jack Joseph Puig, Dean Nelson (assistant)

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Dutchess, A&M Records, Will.i.am Music Group, Interscope Records.[2]

Track listing[edit]

  • US CD and download single
  1. "Personal (Big Girls Remix) (featuring Sean Kingston) - 3:55
  • UK CD single
  1. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - 4:28
  2. "Pedestal" - 3:23
  • Australian CD single
  1. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - 4:28
  2. "Pedestal" - 3:22
  3. "Finally" (Live) - 3:50
  4. "Big Girls Don't Cry" (Music Video) - 5:08

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States[76] May 22, 2007 Top 40/Mainstream radio
Worldwide[77] July 6, 2007 Digital EP
Germany[78] July 6, 2007 CD single
United Kingdom[79] July 9, 2007
France[80] October 8, 2007

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]