Dirrty

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"Dirrty"
Picture with the words "DIRRTY CHRISTINA AGUILERA FEATURING REDMAN" under the image of a blonde woman's face. She has a nose earring, a tight fitting cap, and mascara-darkened eyes. Her hands are partially blocking the view of her face.
Single by Christina Aguilera featuring Redman
from the album Stripped
Released September 14, 2002 (2002-09-14)
Format
Recorded
Genre
Length 4:58
Label RCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Rockwilder
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Balewa Muhammad
  • Jasper Cameron
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
  • "Dirrty"
  • (2002)
Redman chronology
  • "Smash Sumthin'"
  • (2001)
  • "Dirrty"
  • (2002)

"Dirrty" is a song by American recording artist Christina Aguilera featuring rapper Redman, taken from Aguilera's fourth studio album, Stripped (2002). The song was written by Aguilera, Redman, Jasper Cameron, Balewa Muhammad, and Dana Stinson and was produced by Rockwilder and Aguilera. It is a hip hop and R&B track which talks about sexual activities.

Aguilera wanted to release a seriously "down and dirty" song to eliminate her bubblegum pop singer image since her career began in 1999. Thus, RCA Records sent "Dirrty" to US mainstream stations in mid-September and released the song as a CD single via retailers from October to November 2002 as the lead single from Stripped to announce her new public image. A music video for "Dirrty" was directed by David LaChapelle and was released on September 30, 2002, depicting various sexual fetishes.

"Dirrty" received mixed reviews from music critics, who were ambivalent towards its composition. The song was nominated a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2003. "Dirrty" peaked at number 48 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Aguilera's first single to chart outside the top twenty of the Hot 100. However, the single was an international success, peaking within the top ten charts of multiple countries including Canada, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Australia and the United Kingdom. Its music video generated controversy for its sexual content and was banned from Thai television stations.

Aguilera performed "Dirrty" during several concerts, including her three major concert tours: Justified and Stripped Tour (2003), Stripped World Tour (2003) and Back to Basics Tour (2006–07). To date, "Dirrty" has been credited as one of the influences for contemporary artists for Aguilera's reinvention and the controversial music video.

Background[edit]

Aguilera came to prominence with the successes of her first three studio albums Christina Aguilera (1999), Mi Reflejo (2000), and My Kind of Christmas (2000).[1] However, she was dissatisfied with being marketed as a bubblegum pop singer, an effort pushed by her then-manager Steve Kurtz, because of the genre's financial lure.[2] By late 2000, Aguilera parted ways with Kurtz and hired a new manager Irving Azoff, in addition to announcing that her forthcoming album would have more musical and lyrical depth.[1] She selected Stripped as its title, explaining that the term represented "a new beginning, a re-introduction of [herself] as a new artist".[3]

To announce her new image on Stripped, Aguilera wanted to release a seriously "down and dirty" song.[4] She approached hip hop producer Rockwilder, who had worked with her on the cover of LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade" (2001).[4] Aguilera suggested using rapper Redman's "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)" (2001) as a guide, resulting in "Dirrty" was a remake of its precursor, also featuring the rapper.[4] Previously, Redman appeared on Eminem's song "Off the Wall" (2000), where Eminem dissed Aguilera with the lyrics, "Causin' terror to Christina Aguilera/ When I grab her by the hair and drag her across the Sahara" and resulted a feud between Aguilera and Eminem.[5] However there was no trouble between Aguilera and Redman during the recording sessions of "Dirrty".[5] On the song's title, Aguilera intended to use a misspelled title as a way to personalize the song, also considering "Dirtee" or "Dirrdy".[6] She decided on "Dirrty" as a reflection of the music video, commenting that the title was "gritty, like the video, [with] underground, illegal stuff going on".[6]

Recording and composition[edit]

A 30 second sample of "Dirrty", a remake of Redman's "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)" (2001).[7] An R&B and pop rock song,[8] it talks about sexual activities[7] that features Redman's "ape" sounds, which he also created in the song "Let's Get Dirty".[5]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Dirrty" was recorded at The Enterprise Studios in Burbank and Conway Studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles by Oscar Ramirez, Wassim Zreik, and Dylan "3-D" Dresdow.[9] The song was written by Aguilera, Dana Stinson, Balewa Muhammad, Reginald Noble, and Jasper Cameron.[9] Production was handled by Aguilera alongside Rockwilder, with Redman providing backing vocals.[9] "Dirrty" was mixed by Dave "Hard Drive" Pensado, with the assistance by Ethan Willoughby.[9]

"Dirrty" is an R&B and hip hop song.[8] Composed in the key of Bb minor, it has a moderate fast tempo of 100 beats per minute.[10] The lines in the chorus and Redman's rap are emphasized by a pair of B♭ octave dyads.[10] Aguilera's vocal range on the track spans from the low-note of F3 to the high-note of D5.[10] At the beginning of "Dirrty", Redman's "ape" sounds were heard, which he also created in the song "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)" (2001).[5] It also features a bassline, which "doesn't quite mesh with the song in a natural way", and the "effective" overdubbing technique.[11] The song's lyrics detail sexual activities such as table dancing.[7] The New York Times' Jon Pareles noted that Aguilera was determined to forget her teen pop image from her previous works, and decided to show her sexuality and aggression in self-explanatory songs like "Dirrty", "Get Mine, Get Yours" and "Can't Hold Us Down".[12] Writing for The Guardian, Betty Clarke described the song's lyrical content as "majestically filthy", among with "Get Mine, Get Yours".[13] Later, a sequel entitled "Still Dirrty" was included on her 2006 album Back to Basics.[14]

Release and reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

"Dirrty" was negatively compared to Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" by several music critics.

"Dirrty" received mixed reviews from music critics. Slant Magazine called it as "the most instantly gratifying" song from Stripped.[15] Todd Burns from Stylus Magazine commented that the song sounds "like nothing else on the record", but noted that it "doesn't scream anything but vainly attempting to cop Britney Spears' image transformation on "I'm a Slave 4 U' (2001)".[16] In a separate review, Burns deemed it the best single of 2002, and worte, "why shouldn't it be enjoyed in groups? That's what pop music is all about, appealing to as many people as possible. And god knows I need people around me when listening to this song to pick me up off the floor. It's absolutely exhausting to both listen to- try concentrating to each individual part [...] and to dance to...".[11] While reviewing Aguilera's 2008 compilation album Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits, Nick Levine from Digital Spy called "Dirrty" the "sluttiest, sweatiest club banger in recent memory".[17] Also reviewing the compilation, Nick Butler from Sputnikmusic selected the track as the "good" songs on it.[18]

On the other hand, Jancee Dunn from Rolling Stone commented that "Dirrty" was not a good choice to be the lead single from Stripped. She also noted that it is "hard to hear the song without conjuring up that Girls Gone Wild: Beyond Thunderdome video", and added that it "misrepresents the rest of the album".[19] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic referred to it as a "non-song" and found that Aguilera's vocal range in the song was too narrow, also shared disappointment for the song being chosen as the lead single.[20] He further compared "Dirrty" to "I'm a Slave 4 U".[20] Michael Paoletta from Billboard called the song "horrible",[21] while NME's Jim Wirth said that "Dirrty" is "probably the pick of an inconsistent crop".[22] Similarly, Entertainment Weekly critic Seymour Craig gave it a D-, calling Aguilera's voice "desperate and shrill", and found that it is unsuccessful attempt to gain street cred.[7] While reviewing Stripped, Amanda Murray from Sputnikmusic called "Dirrty" a "frightfully bad song".[23]

Bill Lamb from About.com selected the song as one of the best singles of the year, placing it at number 26.[24] During the 2003 Q Awards, Aguilera accepted the Best Single prize for "Dirrty".[25] There, she gave a speech, "I think I got this award because it's a brave and different song. It's about being proud of your sexuality and celebrating being a woman".[25] The song also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 45th Grammy Awards, but lost to Santana's "The Game of Love" featuring Michelle Branch.[26]

Commercial performance[edit]

Aguilera and her dancers performing "Dirrty" on the 2006-07 Back to Basics Tour

In the United States, "Dirrty" achieved moderate success on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number 67 on the issue of September 21, 2002.[27] Two weeks later, on October 5, 2002, it reached its peak of number 48.[28] The song was more successful in mainstream markets, reaching number 14 on the Top 40 Mainstream and number 22 on the Top 40 Tracks component charts. It had some crossover success and peaked at number 20 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart.[29] It was a success in Canada, debuting on the Canadian Singles Chart at number seven, later peaking at number five, and remained within the top ten for three and a half months.[30]

The song was successful in Europe. In the United Kingdom, "Dirrty" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on November 17, 2002 ― for the week ending date November 23, 2002 ― where it remained for two weeks,[31] becoming the 30th best-selling single of 2002 in the region.[32] "Dirrty" stayed on the Italian Singles Chart for 21 weeks, peaking at number eight.[33] The track peaked at number three on the Swiss Singles Chart, where it remained for four weeks, and spent 25 weeks on the charts.[34] "Dirrty" was later certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).[35] It was successful throughout in other European countries, reaching the top five in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the top ten in Portugal, and Sweden.[30]

"Dirrty" debuted on November 3, 2002 on the ARIA Singles Chart, and peaked at number four on the week of December 1, 2002, remaining there for three consecutive weeks and lasting eleven weeks on the chart.[36] The song was later listed at number 36 on the 2002 end of year chart,[37] and at number 12 on the Urban Singles Chart.[38] The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified "Dirrty" platinum for shipping 70,000 copies.[39] In New Zealand, "Dirrty" debuted at number 27 during the week of December 1, 2002, and eight weeks later on February 9, 2003, it reached its peak of number 20.[40] It was later certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).[41]

Music video[edit]

Background and synopsis[edit]

Aguilera doing the slutdrop in the music video for "Dirrty".[42]

The music video for "Dirrty" was directed by David LaChapelle. It was filmed between September 8–9, 2002 in Los Angeles, at an abandoned newspaper print building. Aguilera took boxing lessons to prepare for the video, and more than 100 dancers were auditioned for the filming.[43] According to Aguilera, the director was a genius and she had wanted to work with him for a long time. She also wanted to make sure that she and LaChapelle had the same vision and to not make anything glossy or pretty.[44] The first day, it was filmed the scene Aguilera is lowered in a cage into a boxing ring, and a dance segment in the ring. The following day, the filming team filmed a foxy boxing scene, a table dancing segment, a party scene with Redman's rapping his part, and finished with filming a shower scene.[44] It premiered on September 30, 2002 on Making the Video,[44] and was described as "a post-apocalyptic orgy".[45][46] According to director LaChapelle, the concept of the video was:

"The concept of the video is, the song is called "Dirrty", and it's every conotation of that word, dirty, I think this is a loose on dirty clubs, underground, so it's everything, we have plushies, we have crazy, absurd, subversive things going on. Seeing "Dirrty" you will have some good time. It's kind of place your parents don't want you to go to. [...] It represents all the underground, dirty things and strange, dark places".[44]

The video opens with Aguilera gearing up and riding a motorcycle into a nightclub. Wearing a bikini and chaps, she is lowered from a cage into a boxing ring and dances, accompanied by several back-up dancers. A masked woman is lowered into the ring, and the two engage in foxy boxing. The scene is intercut with sequences of Aguilera dancing in a crop top, which she later removes to reveal a bikini top, and a microskirt. Redman then proceeds down a hallway, passing people such as mud wrestlers, a contortionist, and furries. The video proceeds to a scene of Aguilera and back-up dancers splashing and dancing while being sprayed with water in a room containing several urinals, as a possible reference to urolagnia.[47] Tim Walker from The Independent wrote that "she simulated masturbation while wearing little more than a pair of leather chaps".[48]

Reception[edit]

The video generated some controversy and presented Aguilera's new public image. When Perry first saw the video, she asked Aguilera: "Are you high? This is annoying. Why are you doing this?"[49] Two weeks after its premiere, the video was spoofed by actress Sarah Michelle Gellar on Saturday Night Live, who said (playing Aguilera): "When people see this video, they gonna stop thinking of me as some blonde-haired, bubblegum, music-industry ho – and start thinking of me as an actual ho."[50] Aguilera later commented that she found the spoof disappointing and that she "could have made a funnier script out of it."[46] Protests also occurred in Thailand over Thai-language posters in the video that translate to "Thailand's Sex Tourism" and "Young Underage Girls". LaChapelle stated that he had not known what the posters stated, and Aguilera's recording company in the country disallowed Thai television stations from playing the video.[51]

Aguilera's new image was so widely rejected by the public that it began to overshadow her music.[52] Entertainment Weekly described it as "the world's skeeziest reptile woman",[7] and The Village Voice captioned her as a xenomorph from the Alien series.[53] Several singers, such as Shakira and Jessica Simpson, disapproved her image and the sexuality of the video.[46] Time magazine commented that "she appeared to have arrived on the set... direct from an intergalactic hooker convention", adding that "she earned that extra r".[52] Writer Emma Forrest remarked: "What she's depicting is subcultures within sexuality, and to say that this is normal young woman's sexuality is just not fair. ... Even Madonna never did that to girls."[54] Aguilera told Blender in response to the criticism:

"I like to shock—I think it's inspiring. I love to play and experiment, to be as tame or as outlandish as I happen to heel on any given day. When you are bold and open, artistically speaking, in music and in video, a whole bunch of people automatically feel threatened by you, especially in Middle America... OK, I may have been the naked-ass girl in the video, but if you look at it carefully, I'm also at the forefront. I'm not just some lame chick in a rap video; I'm in the power position, in complete command of everything and everybody around me. To be totally balls-out like that is, for me, the measure of a true artist."[46][55]

A woman with blonde hair wearing yellow outfits and smiling
A woman with long curly brown hair
The slutdrop dance move in "Dirrty" gained popularity among contemporary artists, including Beyoncé (left), while the video was also credited as an influence to Miley Cyrus (right)'s "We Can't Stop" (2013)

At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, the video was nominated for Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, and Best Choreography.[56] The video lasted eight weeks on MuchMusic's Countdown, peaking at number 11.[30]

Legacy[edit]

"Dirrty" has been honored to be one of the sexiest music videos by media outlets. On MTV's TRL's finale in 2008, it named the video as the fourth greatest of the MTV generation and inducted into the "TRL Hall of Fame". MTV later ranked it as the sexiest music video of all time.[57] Likewise, in late 2004, the video was voted the "Sexiest Music Video of All Time" by over a quarter of a million FHM readers in a poll the magazine ran worldwide.[58] The video also was part of Heavy and Fuse's Sexiest Music Video of All Times lists.[59][60] Slant Magazine also named the video one of "The 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time", coming in at 100.[61] In 2012, The Sun newspaper named "Dirrty" the raunchiest pop music video of all time.[62] In 2013, the VH1 list "The 25 Most Scandalously Sexy Music Videos of All Time" ranked at number two, making female artist with the highest-rated music video on list.[63]

"Dirrty" music video has been credited as the origin of the dance move now known as the slutdrop.[42] Later, the dance move gained popularity among contemporary artists, including The Pussycat Dolls and Beyoncé.[42] The clip was also credited as an influence to Miley Cyrus's video "We Can't Stop" in 2013.[64]

Live performances and covers[edit]

Aguilera performing "Dirrty" during her 2006-07 Back to Basics Tour.

In November 2002, Aguilera performed the song on the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards in Barcelona, Spain, recreating the music video's ambient, transforming the stage as a boxing ring while entering the stage riding a motorcycle and wearing assless chaps during the performance.[65] It was also performed on British television show Top of the Pops the same year.[66] She performed the track on the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in August 2003, in a medley with "Fighter", along with guitarist Dave Navarro.[67] It was also included as the opening song of her 2003 Justified/Stripped Tour and its extension, Stripped Live... on Tour, the same year. Aguilera appeared by emerging from what appeared to be an industrial jungle gym to sing the song, wearing torso-baring black outfit and black hair, resembling Cher's looks.[68][69] The performance was later included on the video release Stripped Live in the U.K. (2004).[70]

The song was performed again on her 2006-07 Back to Basics Tour. As part of the Circus segment, she performed the song astride a carousel pony.[71] During the concert, the song also included elements of two compositions: "Cell Block Tango" from the Broadway musical Chicago, and the classic march "Entrance of the Gladiators" by Julius Fučík. Ben Walsh from The Independent highlighted the performance of "Dirrty", commenting that "her best song by a mile, was enjoyable".[72] However, The Observer's Kitty Empire called it "blushery".[73] The performance was later included on the video release Back to Basics: Live and Down Under (2008).[74] In 2010, Aguilera again performed the song in a medley with "Stripped Intro" as a part of her edition of VH1 Storytellers.[75]

The song was covered in argentinian show Patito Feo by Brenda Asnicar, in the episode "Las Divinas" performed the song during the halloween party.[76]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Major formats and track listings for "Dirrty".[77]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Stripped, RCA Records.[9]

Recording
Personnel
  • Songwriting – Christina Aguilera, Dana Stinson, Balewa Muhammad, Reginald Noble, Jasper Cameron
  • Production – Rockwilder, Christina Aguilera.
  • Vocals – Christina Aguilera, Redman.
  • Background vocals – Redman.
  • Recording – Oscar Ramirez, Wassim Zreik, Dylan "3-D" Dresdow.
  • Mixing – Dave "Hard Drive" Pensado.
  • Assistant mixing – Ethan Willoughby.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[39] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[109] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[110] Gold 5,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[111] Platinum 10,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[112] Gold 7,500*
Sweden (GLF)[113] Platinum 30,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[35] Gold 20,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[114] Silver 200,000^

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

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
United States[115] September 14, 2002 Mainstream radio
Germany[116] October 14, 2002 CD single
France[117] October 18, 2002 CD single
United Kingdom[118] November 11, 2002 CD single

References[edit]

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External links[edit]