Buttons (The Pussycat Dolls song)

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"Buttons"
Single by The Pussycat Dolls
from the album PCD
B-side "Flirt"
Released April 11, 2006 (2006-04-11)
Format
Genre
Length 3:46 (album version)
3:52 (featuring Snoop Dogg)
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
The Pussycat Dolls chronology
"Beep"
(2006)
"Buttons"
(2006)
"I Don't Need a Man"
(2006)
Snoop Dogg chronology
"Say Somethin'"
(2006)
"Buttons"
(2006)
"Cali Iz Active"
(2006)

"Buttons" is a song recorded by American girl group The Pussycat Dolls from their debut studio album, PCD (2005). The song was written by Sean Garrett, Jamal Jones, Jason Perry, Nicole Scherzinger, Calvin Broadus while the production was handled by Jones along with Sean Garret and Ron Fair. The song was released as a digital download on April 11, 2006, as the album's fourth single and was serviced to contemporary hit radio in the United States on May 8, 2006. "Buttons" is a dance-pop and R&B song which uses strong elements of Middle Eastern music in its production. Lyrically, the song involves Scherzinger speaking of a woman's desire to be undressed.

Critics were divided on "Buttons" with some complimenting the song's production, however, others criticized it followed the same formula of their previous singles. The song reached the top-five in countries such as Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The song reached number one in Austria and in New Zealand, where it became their fourth consecutive number one single on the chart. It peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and sold over two million digital copies in the United States, making The Pussycat Dolls the first female group in digital history to have three singles pass the two million mark in digital sales.

The sepia-toned music video directed by Francis Lawrence features The Pussycat Dolls in various dance sequences. Other scenes include Scherzinger by herself singing the verses. Since its release, "Buttons" has become a staple in Scherzinger's live performances. It was part of the set lists of the group's two major tours, PCD World Tour (2006–07), World Domination Tour (2009) and Scherzinger's own Killer Love Tour (2012). It was nominated for two awards at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Dance Video and Best Choreography; it won the latter award.

Background and composition[edit]

A 24-second sample of "Buttons"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

On December 19, 2005, the Pussycat Dolls performed at the 2005 Radio Music Awards a "racy rendition" of "Santa Baby" were Snoop Dogg joined them dressed up as Santa Claus.[1] Following their performance, Interscope Records asked Snoop Dogg to be part of the song adding two verses.[2] In February 2006 at the Grammy Style Studio event, Scherzinger announced that Snoop Dogg would be a guest in the remix exclaiming, "It's the D-O-double-G, baby!"[1]

The song was co-written by Sean Garrett, Jamal Jones, Jason Perry, Nicole Scherzinger while the production was handled by Jones under his stage name Polow Da Don, Garret and Ron Fair.[3] The vocal production of "Buttons" was completed by Fair while engineering was handled by J.D. Andrew, Mike "Angry" Eleopoulos and Pro Tools by Tal Herzberg and Young Smoke.[3] Scherzinger's vocals were mixed by Dave Pensado at Larabee Studios in Burbank, California.[3]

"Buttons" is a dance-pop and R&B song that lasts three minutes and fifty-two seconds.[3][4] According to the sheet music published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, "Buttons" was composed using common time in the key of D minor, and set in a moderate hip hop tempo.[5] It features "snaky synths", a "PG-13 vocal tease" and elements of Middle Eastern music in its production.[4][6] The lyrics of the song feature the Pussycat Dolls' desire to be undressed.[7] According to Miriam Zendle, "Snoop Dogg's role in the track seems to be as the object of affection for the girls, who ask him to 'loosen up [our] buttons' and to not 'leave [us] asking for more'."[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Bill Lamb of About.com gave the song 3 out 5 stars favoring the "touch of Middle Eastern music" but criticized the song's predictability and following the same formula as the previous songs. He suggested to "head back to the studio with new ideas."[4] Lamb also expressed his gratitude towards the group saying: "The Pussycat Dolls are one of the phenomenal stories of the last 12 months in pop music. Now, with a total of 3 hits behind them, and a successful concert tour wrapping up, Pussycat Dolls are an established part of the contemporary pop music scene."[4] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the song along with "Beep" as "degrading material" while noted that "[they] are a bit easier to swallow thanks, in part, to the group's cartoonish image."[9] Spence D. of IGN wrote that "it's familiar and funky, but it doesn't present anything new to the realm of female soul pop."[10] Sputnikmusic's Nick Butler in a review for PCD wrote that along with "Bite the Dust" and "Flirt", "none of them work as well as the singles." However he did later write that "they're enjoyable enough."[11] Miriam Zendle of Digital Spy described the song as "horrible" awarding it 1 out 5 stars.[8] Alex Hegazy of Glasswerk wrote that the song is "perfect for getting people in the mood for a summer soiree."[12]

Recognition[edit]

Billboard ranked "Buttons" the seventh best song of the Summer of 2006.[13] Bill Lamb ranked the song at 92 on his list of Top 100 Pop Songs of 2006, commenting "it's not among the best songs from their string of huge pop hits, but 'Buttons' is still listenable."[14] Rolling Stone ranked the song at 91 on its list of 100 Best Songs of 2006.[6] In 2010, Ernest Baker ranked the song at 16 on his list of The 25 Greatest Slutwave Songs of All Time.[15] In 2013, the writers of Complex magazine put the song at number 18 on their list of Sexual Top 40 hits.[16] Fuse included the song on its list of Top 100 Number Ones.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number seventy-one on the issue dated May 27, 2006, earning the highest debut of the week.[18] In its tenth week, "Buttons" entered the top ten at number seven, and began to steadily climb up the chart.[19] It eventually reached a peak of three on September 16, 2006.[20] "Buttons" spent a total of 11 weeks inside the top ten of the Hot 100 and 30 weeks on the chart in total.[21] The track's Dave Audé remix topped the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart, while the album version peaked at number twenty on the same component chart.[22] On the Pop Songs the song peaked at number one for two weeks.[23] According to Nielsen Soundscan, as of January 24, 2010, the song has sold over 2 million digital downloads, making the Pussycat Dolls the first all-female group in digital history to have three singles—along with "Don't Cha" and "When I Grow Up"—pass the two million mark in digital sales.[24] The song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipment of a million copies of the single.[25]

On July 3, 2006, "Buttons" debuted on the New Zealand Singles Chart at number thirty-eight based on airplay alone.[26] In its third week the song jumped thirty-one places to number one, earning the group's fourth consecutive number one.[27] Along with "Don't Cha", "Stickwitu", "Beep" and "Buttons", the Pussycat Dolls logged their twelfth week at the top.[27] The song also displaced Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" from number one, which had spent the previous seven weeks atop the chart.[27] On November 13, 2006, "Buttons" has received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), denoting sales of 7,500 copies.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Buttons" was directed by Francis Lawrence over a period of three days.[28] Speaking about the video Kimberly Wyatt said, "we decided to turn in up a notch; it was time to see what we're really about."[2] Carmit Bachar added "it's pretty much an ode to were we've come from."[28] The choreography was done by the group's founder, Robin Antin and Mikey Minden. Behind-the-scenes footage was included on The Pussycat Dolls live album Live from London (2006).[28]

Synopsis[edit]

The video begins with Snoop Dogg performing his rap while lead singer, Nicole Scherzinger dance around him seductively. As the first chorus begins the group, dressed in suggestive black outfits, walking towards a tunnel where they later perform a striptease. As the second chorus begins, they are seen performing upon a horizontal bar. Towards the end of the chorus Scherzinger separates herself from the group and performs against a backdrop of curtains made from jewelry then proceeds to dance around a chair. Before the chorus begins four additional chairs and the group performs a dance routine. Melody Thornton is separated from the rest doing her melismatic ad-libs on the chorus. When Snoop Dogg's verse begins, The Pussycat Dolls are shown walking towards him. During the breakdown, the girls dance while smoke is filled and halfway through the video, the floor turns on fire. The video ends with the girls walking away.

Recognition[edit]

The music video was acclaimed by critics and won several awards. Tom Breihan from The Village Voice ranked the video at number 10 on his favorite videos of the year commenting, "Obvious reasons and all, but this is also a big, glossy pop video done right: flashy editing, decent choreography, a distinct look. If those are easy things to do, why isn't every pop video this good?"[29] The video also received criticism: Bill Lamb of About.com wrote that the video and the song "are more of the same from previous hits."[4] The video received two nominations for Best Dance Video and Best Choreography at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards; it lost Best Choreography to Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie", but won Best Dance Video.[30] It was also nominated at the 2007 MTV Australia Video Music Awards for Best Hook Up but lost Justin Timberlake's SexyBack.[31] Contessa Gayles of AOL Music Blog included the music video at number 39 on the list of Top 50 Dance Music Videos.[32] In 2007, Canadian music channel MuchMusic the video at number 4 in the list of the 50 Sexiest Music Videos of All-Time.[33] It was also ranked at number 85 on Fuse's 100 Sexiest Videos of All Time.[34] MuchMusic also included "Buttons" on their Top 10 Hottest Videos at number 4 in 2012.[35] VH1 also called the music video a "stripalicious song that makes you want to undress and get dirrty."[36]

Live performances[edit]

On June 30, 2006, the Pussycat Dolls performed on Good Morning America as part of its Summer Concert Series along with "Don't Cha" and "Stickwitu".[37] The Pussycat Dolls performed the song at the Fashion Rocks on September 8, 2006.[38] Wearing "skimp[y] outfits for their performance" they were joined by rapper Jibbs.[38] On August 2, 2008, the Dolls performed the song and presented at the MTV Asia Awards 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, along with "When I Grow Up".[39] The group then performed the song at the Walmart Soundcheck, along with "I Hate This Part", "Takin' Over the World", "When I Grow Up" and "Don't Cha".[40] The Pussycat Dolls also performed "Buttons" on their second worldwide tour, Doll Domination Tour (2009). Colene McKessick of Press and Journal said, "hits such as 'When I Grow Up', 'I Hate This Part' and 'Buttons', [set] the crowd into a frenzy.[41]

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of PCD: Tour Edition, A&M Records, Interscope Records.[3]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[88] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[89] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (ABPD)[90] Gold 50,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[91] Platinum 15,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[92] Gold 7,500*
United Kingdom (BPI)[93] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[94] Platinum 2,000,000*
Ringtone
United States (RIAA)[95] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Radio and release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[96] April 11, 2006 Digital download Interscope Records
Canada[97]
United States[42] May 8, 2006 Contemporary hit radio
Rhythmic radio
United Kingdom[98][99] June 23, 2006 Extended play Polydor Records
June 26, 2006 Digital single Polydor Records
Germany[43][100] Universal Music
July 7, 2006 CD single

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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