Circles (Christina Aguilera song)

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"Circles"
Song by Christina Aguilera from the album Lotus
Format Digital download
Recorded 2012
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:25
Label RCA
Writer Christina Aguilera, Dwayne Abernathy, Candice Pillay, Alexander Grant
Producer Alex da Kid

"Circles" is a song by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, taken from her seventh studio album, Lotus (2012). It was written by Aguilera, Dwayne Abernathy, Candice Pillay and co-written and produced by Alex da Kid. Musically, the song is an uptempo alternative rock track. Lyrically, it finds Aguilera inviting her haters to "spin around in circles on her middle finger". The track received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised its raunchy lyrics and its catchiness. Upon the release of Lotus, "Circles" debuted on the South Korean international singles chart at number 160.

Background[edit]

Following the release of her sixth studio album, Bionic (2010),[1] Aguilera filed for divorce from her husband Jordan Bratman, starred in her first feature film, Burlesque (2010) and recorded the accompanying soundtrack.[2] She then became a coach on NBC's singing competition show The Voice[2] and appeared as a featured artist on Maroon 5's single "Moves Like Jagger" (2011), which spent four weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[3] Following these events, Aguilera announced that had plans to begin production of her seventh album, stating that she wanted high quality and "personal" songs for the record.[3] Regarding the creative direction, she revealed that the album would be a "culmination of everything I've experienced up until this point ... I've been through a lot since the release of my last album, being on (The Voice), having had a divorce ... This is all sort of a free rebirth for me."[4] She further said "I'm embracing many different things, but it's all feel-good, super-expressive [and] super-vulnerable."[4] The added that the album would be about "self–expression and freedom" because of the personal struggles she had overcome during the last couple of years.[5] Speaking about her new material during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2012, Aguilera said that the recording process for Lotus was taking a while because "I don't like to just get songs from producers. I like them to come from a personal place ... I'm very excited. It's fun, exciting, introspective, it's going to be great".[6]

Recording and composition[edit]

A 20 second sample of "Circles," where Aguilera invites her haters to "spin around in circles on her middle finger" over an alternative rock chorus.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Recorded at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California by Josh Mosser, "Circles" was written by Christina Aguilera, Candice Pillay, Alexander Grant and Dwayne Abernathy, and it was produced by Alex da Kid.[7] Aguilera's vocals were recorded by Oscar Ramirez at The Red Lips Room in Beverly Hills, California, while Aguilera and Pillay conducted the vocal production.[7] Pillay also contributed additional vocals on the track, and J Browz added additional guitar.[7] "Circles" is an alternative rock song, and runs for a duration of 3:25 (three minutes and twenty-five seconds).[8][9] The lyrics of the "rawky" chorus, "spin around in circles on my middle middle finger",[10] has been likened to a "'90s riot-grrrl".[11] Andrew Hampp for Billboard thought as though it sounded like "mini-Aguilera's" were chanting the words "round and round" and "motherfucker" in childlike voices.[11] "Circles" has a "playground" melodic structure, according to Robert Copsey of Digital Spy. He also thought the best lyrics in the song are "Why you always trying to get up in my mixture?/ I think you're just bitter".[10] At the end of the song, Aguilera speaks out loud the word "motherf**cker!".[10]

Critical reception[edit]

A woman with blonde hair and pink tips singing
A woman wearing a red outfit with her midriff showing
"Circles" received comparisons to the works of Nicki Minaj (left) and Rihanna (right).

"Circles" garnered mainly positive reviews from music critics. Andrew Hampp of Billboard was very positive, calling it "the biggest surprise on Lotus, and writing, "'Circles' is Aguilera at her most unapologetic and all the more delightful for it".[11] 4Music's Chris Younie wrote that, "Aguilera is throwing tonnes of attitude and sass our way".[12] Digital Spy's Robert Cospey praised its lyrics, labelling it "one of their immediate favourites".[10] Caomhan Keane from the website entertainment.ie called it "fun and delicious",[13] while Entertainment Weekly critic Melissa Maerz called it a "sassy kiss-off".[14] Story Gilmore of Neon Limelight was very positive, commenting, "As much as we love Xtina for her incredible voice, we also love her for her feisty personality. The tune is a brilliant mix of genres with a rockstar-worthy chorus".[15] Popjustice writer Same Hine enjoyed the track and said that he liked it "when Christina gets a bit wobbly and the bubblegum melody sounds oddly good with the lyrics", although it wasn't "her finest pop moment".[16] Mike Wass from Idolator wrote that the song "sounds like fluffiest Nine Inch Nails song ever recorded", also commenting it as "a total trainwreck, but there’s something amusing about Xtina putting her haters in their place".[17]

Joseph R. Atilano of Inquirer Entertainment praised "Circles" as one of the catchiest songs of the album and compared the track to songs by Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.[18] Kitty Empire of The Observer commented that the "sing-song verse is redolent of Rihanna".[19] Montreal Gazette editor T'cha Dunlevy simply described it as "a raunchy flip of the bird to haters".[20] HitFix writer Melinda Newman called it a "shape-shifting" and compared Aguilera to Gwen Stefani "as she adopts a patois".[21] Annie Zaleschi of The A.V. Club was mixed, naming it a "bitter ’90s alt-rock crossed with M.I.A.'s antagonistic attitude; it should be an angry kiss-off. Instead, cringe-inducing lyrics sap its ire".[9] For Michael Gallucci of PopCrush, the song "dips back to the bubblegum pop of Aguilera’s debut for the verses, but pumps a ton of distortion into her voice during the refrains. ‘Circles’ doesn’t seem to know what kind of song it wants it to be, so it settles for two not very good ones".[22]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
  • Recorded at Westlake Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Vocals recorded at The Red Lips Room, Beverly Hills, CA.
Personnel
  • Songwriting – Christina Aguilera, Candice Pillay, Alexander Grant, Dwayne Abernathy
  • Production – Alex da Kid
  • Vocal production – Christina Aguilera, Candice Pillay
  • Recording – Josh Mosser
  • Vocal recording – Oscar Ramirez
  • Additional background vocals – Candice Pillay
  • Additional guitar – J Browz

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Lotus, RCA Records.[7]

Charts[edit]

Upon the release of Lotus, "Circles" debuted on the South Korean international singles chart at number 160 during the week of November 11 to 17, 2012, due to digital download sales of 1,930.[23]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
South Korea (Gaon)[23] 160

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bain, Becky (August 23, 2012). "Christina Aguilera’s Demo Of New Single 'Your Body' Surfaces: Listen". Idolator (Buzz Media). Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Hampp, Andrew (September 21, 2012). "Christina Aguilera: Billboard Cover Story". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Schneider, Marc (April 11, 2012). "Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Hit the Studio". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Elber, Lynn (August 28, 2012). "Christina Aguilera: New album is a 'rebirth'". Yahoo! Music (Yahoo!). Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Gerrick D. (September 13, 2012). "Christina Aguilera readies new album 'Lotus'". Los Angeles Times (Eddy Hartenstein). Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Christina Aguilera: 'New album is quality over quantity'". Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. May 27, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Lotus (inlay cover). Christina Aguilera. RCA Records. 2012. p. iTunes Digital Booklet. 
  8. ^ "iTunes — Music — Lotus by Christina Aguilera". iTunes Store (GB). Apple. November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Zaleski, Annie (November 13, 2012). "Christina Aguilera: Lotus". The A.V. Club (Chicago: The Onion, Inc). Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Copsey, Robert (November 2, 2012). "Christina Aguilera's new album 'Lotus': First listen". Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c Hampp, Andrew (November 12, 2012). "Christina Aguilera, 'Lotus': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  12. ^ Younie, Chris (November 2, 2012). "News: Review: Christina Aguilera – Lotus". 4Music (Channel 4). Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ Keane, Caomhan (November 27, 2012). "Music Review - Christina Aguilera - Lotus". Entertainment.ie. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ Maerz, Melissa (November 9, 2012). "Lotus - review - Christina Aguilera Review". Entertainment Weekly (Time Warner) (1232-1233). Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ Gilmore, Story (November 22, 2012). "4 Tracks You Need To Know From Christina Aguilera’s New Album 'Lotus'". Neon Limelight. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  16. ^ Hine, Sam (November 13, 2012). "Christina’s ‘Lotus’: a review". Popjustice. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ Wass, Mike (November 13, 2012). "Christina Aguilera's 'Lotus': Album Review'". Idolator (Buzz Media). Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ R. Atilano, Joseph (December 4, 2013). "Album review: ‘Lotus’ by Christina Aguilera". Inquirer Entertainment. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  19. ^ Empire, Kitty (November 10, 2012). "Christina Aguilera: Lotus – review". The Observer (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ Dunlevy, T'cha (November 12, 2012). "New music review: Lotus, Christina Aguilera (RCA/Sony)". The Gazette (Montreal) (Postmedia Network). Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  21. ^ Newman, Melinda (November 12, 2012). "Album Review: Christina Aguilera blooms on 'Lotus'". HitFix. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  22. ^ Gallucci, Michael (November 2012). "Christina Aguilera, 'Lotus' - Album Review". PopCrush. Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "Gaon Download Chart (Week 47)". Gaon Chart. November 17, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]