Candyman (Christina Aguilera song)

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"Candyman"
Single by Christina Aguilera
from the album Back to Basics
Released February 20, 2007 (2007-02-20)
Format
Recorded 2006
Genre
Length 3:14
Label RCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Linda Perry
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"Tell Me"
(2006)
"Candyman"
(2007)
"Slow Down Baby"
(2007)

"Candyman" is a song recorded by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, on her fifth studio album, Back to Basics (2006). The song was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry and produced by Perry. "Candyman" was planned to be released as the second single from the album, but RCA Records decided to release "Hurt" instead. The single was released on February 20, 2007 as the third single from Back to Basics. "Candyman" is a pop, jazz, and blues song with elements from swing music which talks about sexual intercourse.

"Candyman" received mainly positive reviews from music critics, who praised the track's fun melody and deemed it one of the standout tracks on the second disc of Back to Basics, while some of them noted its sexual content. Commercially, the single attained moderate success on charts worldwide, peaking within the top 20 of most countries. In the United States, it peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having sold more than one million copies in the country, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

At the 2008 Grammy Awards, "Candyman" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. An accompanying music video for the song was co-directed by Matthew Rolston and Aguilera herself. The clip was received positively, receiving a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Direction at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. To promote Back to Basics and "Candyman", Aguilera performed the track on a number of shows. It was eventually covered on several occasions.

Background and release[edit]

Aguilera's fifth studio album, Back to Basics, is made up of two discs.[1] Aguilera worked with "more beat-driven" producers on the first disc, such as DJ Premier and Mark Ronson, who included samples in the production.[1] The second disc consists solely of collaborations with producer Linda Perry.[1][2] Aguilera sent letters to different producers that she hoped could help her with the direction she was taking for the project, encouraging them to experiment, re-invent and create a modern soul feel.[3] "Candyman" was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry, with production handled by the latter.[4] Perry also provided piano, mellotron, bass.[4] Jim McMillen played the trombone, Ray Herrmann and Glen Berger supported saxophone. Chris Tedesco played trumpet.[4] The drums were held by Nathan Wetherington.[4] Perry was also credited as the director, and Marc Jameson was credited as the programmer.[4] According to Aguilera and Perry, the song was inspired by the Andrews Sisters' 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy".[5]

Originally, "Candyman" was planned to be released as the second single from Back to Basics in late 2006.[6] During an interview with Seventeen in July 2006, Aguilera again stated that "Candyman" would be released as the follow-up single to "Ain't No Other Man".[7] However, RCA Records decided to release "Hurt" instead because the label thought that "Hurt" would be a commercial hit, similar to Aguilera's 2002 single "Beautiful".[6] As a result, "Hurt" was released as the second single, and "Candyman" was released as the third.[6] On February 20, 2007, the song was sent to contemporary hit radio stations in the United States.[8] In Germany, the single was released for digital download on April 6, 2007.[9] One day later, "Candyman" was released as a CD single in France[10] and Germany.[11] On April 9, the song was available as a CD in the United States.[12] On April 10, a digital EP was purchased on iTunes Stores of Belgium,[13] France,[14] Germany,[15] Spain,[16] and Sweden.[17] On the same day, the digital download version of "Candyman" was released in France.[18] It was also available as a maxi single there on September 1, 2007.[19] In the United States, a remix EP was released digitally on May 1, 2007.[20]

Composition[edit]

A 20-second sample of the climax in "Candyman", when Aguilera hits the highest note of E5 for eight seconds.[21]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Candyman" was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry, with production by Perry.[4] Perry and Aguilera revealed with MTV News that the song was a tribute by The Andrews Sisters' 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy".[5] The track is a "classic" pop and blues song[22] which contains elements from jazz[23][24] and swing.[25] According to the music sheet on Musicnotes.com published by Universal Music Publishing Group, "Candyman" was composed on the key of E major.[21] The song is a midtempo song, with a moderate tempo of 86 beats per minute.[21] Aguilera's vocals on the song span from the low-note of G3 to the high-note of E5.[21] At the beginning, the lyrics are "Tarzan and Jane were swingin' on a vine/ Sippin' from a bottle of vodka double-wine",[21] which was credited as a sample used from "Tarzan & Jane Swingin' on a Vine" from Run To Cadence With U.S. Marines.[4] At the end of the song, the sample is heard again.[21] Lyrically, "Candyman" talks about sexual intercourse.[26][27] Jenny Eliscu for Rolling Stone called the song's lyrics "nasty", as Aguilera sang, "He's a one-stop shop/ Makes the panties drop".[27]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, "Candyman" received mainly positive reviews from music critics; most of them praised its melody but criticized the song's lyrics for being too sexual. Jenny Eliscu from Rolling Stone praised the track for its "fun" and "naughtiness".[27] She also called "Candyman" "a dead rip-off of the Andrews Sisters' 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy'".[27] Billboard called the single "raunchy", but praised Aguilera's vocals on it, saying that "few popular vocalists could pull off such a laudable feat".[28] Bill Lamp from About.com gave "Candyman" a rating of four out of five stars, writing, "[With the song] Aguilera continues to demonstrate she is one of the top female artists in the business".[29] Sputnikmusic's Amanda Murray called the song's lyrics "dumb and cheekily vulgar" and "reminiscent of the Spice Girls' 'The Lady Is a Vamp'".[30] However, Murray praised its "fun" tempo.[30]

Sean Daly was positive toward the track, complimenting on Aguilera's vocals and its "X-rated lyrics".[31] Spence D. of IGN called it a "cool" "Bugle Boy From Company C rip-off",[32] while Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Scott Mervis labelled it "the swingiest single since Brian Setzer jumped, jived and wailed"[33] and Yahoo! Music critic Dan Gennoe called "Candyman" "a good-time 1940s big band romp".[34] Stephen Thomas Erlewine selected "Candyman" as one of the two standout tracks on the second disc of Back to Basics, alongside "Mercy on Me".[26] Lucy Davis for BBC Music chose "Candyman" and "I Got Trouble" are two old-school tracks that "successfully turns the volume and intensity down from 11 to somewhere like 5".[35] However, The Guardian was negative toward "Candyman", writing that "this awful creation is Aguilera in distorted Disney mode, and the jollier she sounds, the more terrifying it becomes".[36] "Candyman" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.[37] It also earned a BMI Award in 2008.[38]

Chart performance[edit]

Commercially, "Candyman" achieved moderate success on charts. In the United States, the single debuted at number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 20, 2007.[39] It peaked at number 25 on the chart, becoming Aguilera's fourteenth top 40 single on the Hot 100.[40] On the Pop Songs chart, the single peaked at number 23 and remained there for a total of seven weeks.[41] "Candyman" also peaked at number 18 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and stayed there ten weeks.[42] It has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping more than 500,000 copies in the United States.[43] As of September 2012, "Candyman" had sold over one million digital copies in the United States alone, as reported by Nielsen SoundScan.[44] In Canada, the single peaked at number nine on the Canadian Hot 100[45] and was certified gold.[46]

In the United Kingdom, "Candyman" peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart and remained within the top 75 for 20 weeks.[47] Throughout Europe, the single attained the top 25 of most countries, peaking at number 11 in Belgium (Flanders)[48] and Switzerland;[49] number 12 in Denmark,[50] Germany,[51] Ireland[52] and the Netherlands;[53] number 13 in Belgium (Wallonia);[54] number 14 in Austria;[55] and number 24 in Sweden.[56] On the European Hot 100 Singles, "Candyman" peaked at number 15 on the chart.[57] In Denmark, the single achieved gold certification by IFPI Denmark.[58] "Candyman" was a commercial hit in Oceania. The single peaked at number two in both Australia and New Zealand.[59][60] In Australia, the song remained in the top ten for 15 weeks[59] and earned platinum certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[61] In New Zealand, the single also achieved gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).[62]

Music video[edit]

The three versions of Aguilera, as seen in the music video. According to MTV News, it is a tribute to The Andrew Sisters.

The accompanying music video for "Candyman" was filmed on January 28, 2007 in an airport hangar in Southern California.[63] It was directed by Matthew Rolston and co-directed by Aguilera.[63] The video is based on the 1940s World War II theme.[63] In most of the music video, she dances and sings in three different hair colors: red, blonde and brown, as if she were in a singing trio, a tribute to The Andrews Sisters.[64] In another scene, she appears as the famous biceps-flexing factory worker from Westinghouse's "We Can Do It!" poster.[6][63] Finally, she appears in scenes inspired by pin-up girls Judy Garland, Betty Grable, and Rita Hayworth.[63] The video also features product placement for Campari.[63][65] Benji Schwimmer, 2006 winner of the American dancing competition So You Think You Can Dance, makes a cameo appearance as Aguilera's GI dance partner.[63] Benji's sister Lacey Schwimmer also appears in the video as a jitterbugger.[63] Aguilera asked Rolston to co-direct the video with her after he worked with her for a photo shoot for the cover of Rolling Stone.[63] Shooting the sequences of Aguilera as a singing trio took the longest since they had to be shot for each hair color and camera angle, which was computer-controlled for precision.[63] Choreography was carefully arranged so that none of the versions overlapped and the takes could be spliced together.[63] The clip's color scheme is based on Technicolor films, focusing on primary colors and bright secondary colors.[63]

The music video for "Candyman" was received positively. Sal Cinquemani for Slant Magazine praised it as the best video from Back to Basics.[6] Alexandra Capotorto for PopCrush praised the "'40s-inspired video", calling the costumes and choreography in the clip "amazing".[66] John Montgomery for MTV News, commented on Aguilera's bad girl image, writing "though Aguilera's mostly going for glam here, she's also plenty bad, too, swinging her way into some servicemen's heart, coyly sipping on a milkshake and shaking it so hard your even your grandpa had to notice".[67] The clip garnered Aguilera a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Direction with Mathew Rolston at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.[68]

Live performances and covers[edit]

Aguilera performing "Candyman" during her Back to Basics Tour (2006–07)

Aguilera first performed "Candyman" during a concert held in front of 1,500 fans and invited guests in London on July 20, 2006.[69][70] The 40-minute concert comprised songs from the then-upcoming Back to Basics and other songs, including "Lady Marmalade" (2001) and "Beautiful" (2002).[70] MTV UK was positive toward the performance, writing, "The gig reflected the jazz club mood of Christina's new album, with a swinging brass-heavy backing band and fit dancers bounding sexily around the stage".[70] On September 8, 2006, Aguilera performed "Candyman" at Fashion Rocks, wearing a white sailor suit with cap. The performance was supported by dancers and a photo montage of jazz legends that appeared on the screen behind the stage..[71] On December 31, 2006, Aguilera performed "Candyman" again on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.[72] "Candyman" was also performed during the halftime show of the 2007 NBA All-Star Game.[73] The song was later performed during the worldwide Back to Basics Tour.[74] The performance was preceded by newspaper headlines that flashed across a big screen, such as "Christina goes from 'dirrty' to demure" and "Christina cleans up her act".[75] Aguilera wore black lace thigh-high boots and a white bodysuit.[75] The performance is included on the video release Back to Basics: Live and Down Under (2008).[76] Aguilera performed "Candyman" again on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2013 in her military outfits.[77]

During the third week of the live show round of the fifth season of British television singing contest The X Factor, singer Alexandra Burke covered "Candyman".[78] In the "Pot o' Gold" season of the third season of American TV series, Glee, the song was covered by Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones), Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez) and Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce).[79] The version was well received by critics, some of which deemed it as the best song of the episode.[80][81][82] It peaked at number 158 on the UK Singles Chart.[83] "Candyman" was also performed during the fifth week of the second season of Polish television show The X Factor by semifinalist Ewelina Lisowska.[84]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Sampling credits
  • Contains a sample from "Tarzan & Jane Swingin' on a Vine" from Run To Cadence With U.S. Marines.
Personnel
  • Christina Aguilera - vocals, background vocals, songwriting
  • Jim McMillen - trombone
  • Linda Perry - producing, songwriting, directing, piano, mellotron, bass
  • Chris Tedesco - trumpet, horn contractor
  • Ray Herrmann - saxophone
  • Glen Berger - saxophone
  • Nathan Wetherington - drums
  • Marc Jameson - programming

Source:[4]

Track listing and formats[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[8] February 20, 2007 Mainstream radio RCA Records
Germany[9] April 6, 2007 Digital download
France[10] April 7, 2007 CD single
Germany[11]
United States[12] April 9, 2007
Belgium[13] April 10, 2007 Digital download EP
France[14]
Germany[15]
Spain[16]
Sweden[17]
France[18] Digital download
United States[20] May 1, 2007 Digital download remix EP
France[19] September 1, 2007 Maxi single

References[edit]

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External links[edit]