The Dutchess

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For other uses, see Dutchess (disambiguation).
The Dutchess
Studio album by Fergie
Released September 13, 2006 (2006-09-13)
Recorded 2005–06[1][2]
Length 58:00
Fergie chronology
The Dutchess
Singles from The Dutchess
  1. "London Bridge"
    Released: July 18, 2006 (2006-07-18)
  2. "Fergalicious"
    Released: October 23, 2006 (2006-10-23)
  3. "Glamorous"
    Released: January 23, 2007 (2007-01-23)
  4. "Big Girls Don't Cry"
    Released: May 22, 2007 (2007-05-22)
  5. "Clumsy"
    Released: September 25, 2007 (2007-09-25)
  6. "Pick It Up"
    Released: November 7, 2007 (2007-11-07)[5]
  7. "Here I Come"
    Released: January 19, 2008 (2008-01-19)
  8. "Finally"
    Released: February 25, 2008 (2008-02-25)

The Dutchess is the debut studio album by American recording artist Fergie. It was released on September 13, 2006, by A&M Records and the Music Group. As of 2008, the album has sold more than six million copies worldwide. The song, "All That I Got (The Make Up Song)" has been remixed slightly and used as one of the two main music themes for Tyra Banks' talk show, Tyra. Edited and Parental Advisory versions of the album were available. In Japan, the United States and Australia, deluxe versions of the album were released. For sales in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, the Parental Advisory version is the only Universal album edited in Peru.

The album produced 5 top five singles in the United States, including three number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, "London Bridge", "Big Girls Don't Cry", and "Glamorous", as well as the number two single "Fergalicious" and the number five single "Clumsy". All five of the aforementioned singles have sold over two million digital downloads each in the United States, thus setting a new record in the digital era for the most multi-platinum singles from one album.[6] Fergie held this record until 2012, when Katy Perry achieved six multi-platinum singles with her album Teenage Dream (2010).[7]


After ten years with the band Wild Orchid, Fergie joined the hip-hop band Black Eyed Peas in 2002, replacing Kim Hill and receiving a prominent role in the band.[8] Fergie's debut album with the band, "Elephunk", was the band's breakthrough, spawning the worldwide hit singles "Where Is the Love?" and "Shut Up", selling over 8 million copies worldwide[2] and receiving four Grammy nominations (and winning one for the song "Let's Get It Started").[9] Later, while releasing her second effort with the band, the even more successful "Monkey Business" (2005), which features the hit singles "Don't Phunk with My Heart" and "My Humps" (with both receiving a Grammy award) and sold 10 million copies worldiwde,[10] the singer announced that she and the other members of the group were working on solo projects, with her debut album being announced for a 2006 release.[2] In an interview for Jam! Canoe, Fergie claimed, "We've been working on it, Will and I," she says. "And I'm so happy with the way it's turning out, but we just felt after 'Elephunk' that we needed to make another Black Eyed Peas record." Regarding the album's musical direction she said, "It'll be a deeper look into who I am. Soundwise, it'll be eclectic like the Peas but I'll get to experiment with more of the different sounds of my voice. I like to use my voice as an instrument sometimes and I'll be able to show that on that album."[2]

Recording and production[edit], fellow member of The Black Eyed Peas, is the album's executive producer and produced eight songs.

The Dutchess was initially recorded in 2005, among promotion from The Black Eyed Peas' album "Monkey Business".[1][2] Great part of the album was recorded on the John Lennon studio bus while touring with the band. As stated by Fergie, "We'd go in a couple of hours before going on stage and that's how it got done. The songs span a seven-year period. Some were done before I was in the Black Eyed Peas - we just updated them, and some were done in this one-month span that we took off from touring, which is very rare for us. Will and I moved into this studio house in Malibu called Morningview. It's like a ranch. It was very serene-complete opposite to the chaos of touring. I was alone a lot, which is something that doesn't happen to me on tour, so I got to find these emotions that are a little bit deeper than the surface. [For example], 'The Makeup Song (All That I Got)' and 'Velvet' are very intimate lyrically and feeling-wise. I wanted [the latter] to sound like velvet feels-very smooth-and I wanted it to be sensual."[11]

According to Fergie, the songs on the album are "from a seven-year period, but [Interscope CEO] Jimmy Iovine heard some [tracks] and was like, 'This is great, let's put it out'.[11] One of the album's executive producers and fellow Black Eyed Peas member stated that she was "writing about her personal struggles and casting her demons away and feminine power. [It's] her singing for young girls to be strong, and what they’re going through in life, just growing up in this world of uncertainty."[12] Ludacris, John Legend, B Real from Cypress Hill and Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s widow were also confirmed on the album. B Real was set to appear on a track called "Thriller Man", an homage to Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man,”, with B Real stating, “It’s pretty hot. Basically she took the song and switched the story around to suit it to her and put the female touch on it. She did the same chorus, she even did my same rhyme style, but she sung it. It’s hard to describe it, you just got to hear it — she did it justice.”[13] However, "Thriller Man" was not included on the album. Ron Fair and DJ Mormile were also the album's executive producers, with Fair, chariman of Geffen Records, expressing, "Once people get this album and hear what she's capable of as a singer and writer, I think that's when the roof blows off it. That's when she's not just a little trifling pop girl doing disposable hits." It was also announced that the album would feature samples from Little Richard, The Commodores and The Temptations.[14]

Album cover and title[edit]

The album's title, The Dutchess, is a play on words from the Duchess of York.

The album's title, The Dutchess, is a derivation of the noble title "The Duchess of York", as Fergie (a derivative of her last name "Ferguson") and Sarah Ferguson, the real Duchess of York, share a surname and nickname. The spelling "Dutchess," while nonstandard in contemporary English, was historically a valid spelling, as demonstrated in place names like Dutchess County, New York, itself named after a Duchess of York in 1683. The album's title garnered media attention, with Sarah Ferguson commenting, "Automatically, everybody in America thinks I'm Fergie, the most beautiful woman in the world, from Black Eyed Peas. [...] You know, I rang her up about that. I said, 'Fergie, it's Fergie... Now that you've done this, you have to sing at a concert for my foundation Children in Crisis'."[15] Fergie then commented about its title, "If you notice, on the album cover it says 'Fergie as the Dutchess' because I wanted each song to be a movie poster. But because 'London Bridge' did so well so fast, we had to get everything done so only half the songs on the album have movie poster themes. For example, for 'Fergalicious' I'm holding a lollipop; it's pretty campy and cute. The pictures were all shot by Ellen von Unwerth in Paris so a lot of them are very Brigitte Bardot-esque."[11]

Composition and themes[edit]

According to the webiste The Age, "'The Dutchess' offers a more introspective Fergie, a woman willing to talk about her loves, her critics and her former meth addiction."[14] Fergie explained in a Q&A interview for Billboard that, "This [album] is a complete thought. It's not just a verse or a sentence. It's my complete feeling and emotion. I think people will be surprised because they don't know that sensitive side of me yet. I also like to experiment with different tones in my voice, and I wanted to make the album really colorful."[11] She further explained the album's concept:

Regarding the album's sound, Fergie explained, "It’s a very colorful album. There’s dub, there’s reggae, there’s stuff like the Temptations, a band that I saw when I was 10 years old in concert. There’s the low rider, oldie style that we revisit that I was really inspired by in high school. There’s that punk-rock aspect — that just really raw rock and roll, get your hair messed up, sweat as much as you want, don’t feel pretty onstage — that aspect. There’s jazzy. We’re just crazy.”[14] “Every song has its own character,” she elaborated. “They use different pieces of my voice and that’s what I want to express, ’cause it’s fun. It makes the album less boring for me and hopefully for others as well.”[16] According to The Age, the album contains "everything from torch songs to bouncy pop, reggae and even techno," representing her wide musical influences.[14] Andy Kellman of Allmusic noted that the album has "throwback hip-hop, throwback soul, reggae, ska-punk, scat, vaguely torchy midtempo fluff, and a classy string-drenched ballad.[17]


The album starts with "Fergalicious", an electronica, hip-hop and dance song,[18] which according to the song's co-writer, producer and featured guest, has Fergie "just being sassy and flaunting her stuff from a strong female perspective, paying homage to Salt-N-Pepa."[16] He also labelled it "the sister of [Black Eyed Peas hit] My Humps'."[11] Fergie stated that, "In 'Fergalicious,' I emulated ['80s female rap trio] J.J. Fad, and sampled the track from Afro-Rican's "Give It All You Got."[11] Lyrically, the song uses food metaphors to describe how tasty the singer is.[19] "Clumsy" follows, with comparing the song Shangri-Las "Leader of the Pack" with a ghetto-ass beat, guitars and background singers."[11] Lyrically, it finds Fergie "trippin', stumblin', flippin', fumblin'" after being struck by Cupid's arrow.[19] In "All That I Got (the Make-Up Song)", she wants a guy who will love her for more than her outward appearance,[19] with the singer asking, "Would you love me/If I didn't work out/Or didn't change my natural hair?"[14] "London Bridge" was co-written by Sean Garrett and produced by Polow da Don[12] and includes sexual innuendo.[19] It was described as "a club track that only lightly touches on personal lyrics about fame and celebrity" ('It’s like every time I get up on the dude/ Paparazzi put my business in the news,' she sings),[12] with the singer also threatening to mace pushy photographers and boasts. "It's poking fun at certain things. I'm really not going to spray the paparazzi with mace - I don't know if you know that about me," she said in an interview.[14] Regarding the song's title, she claimed, “There are a couple things that you could relate with that title, but I’m just going to leave it to people’s imagination."[13]

Ludacris (left) is featured on the R&B track "Glamorous", while John Legend is featured on the piano ballad "Finally".

"Pedestal" lashes out at gossip bloggers like Perez Hilton who "hide behind computer screens", as noted by Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine,[20] while "Voodoo Doll" is a reggae song,[20] with dub influences,[14] where Fergie talks about her past and getting over those demons.[16] According to Fergie, "It's about my struggle with crystal meth. There's a demon part that's a completely different voice than the singing part, and it's almost like two voices. It's me battling with myself."[11] "Glamorous" is again produced by Polow da Don and features Ludacris.[13] It was described as an R&B song[18] with techno influences.[14] Lyrically, it talks about how fame doesn't give her amnesia about where she came from.[19] "Here I Come" features once more and it is done to the tune of The Temptations' "Get Ready."[17] In "Velvet", Fergie invites a man to share her bed.[19] As stated by Fergie, "I wanted it to sound like velvet feels - very smooth - and I wanted it to be sensual."[11] The pop/rock song[20] "Big Girls Don't Cry" talks about a crumbling romance.[19] admitted that it "really pushed my production skills. I did an Edie Brickell type of production - 'I'm not aware of too many things,' on guitars."[11]

"Mary Jane Shoes" is a song inspired in reggae, ska-punk and scat.[17] It features Rita Marley, Bob Marley's widow, and I Threes. “That was quite an honor for me,” Fergie said of the song. “I kind of get to play Bob Marley in that song, which is a beautiful thing.”[13] She went on to described the song as "a breezy reggae song, and at the end I go into a little bit of punk-rock mosh music because I love to do that if you've ever seen my stage shows."[11] commented, "She goes from dub, doing her interpretation of roots, to some ska-punk and ends up with jazz. From a production standpoint that was fun, flipping all those different styles."[11] The song is followed by the ballad "Losing My Ground", which is about desperation,[18] and the album closes with "Finally", a slightly Broadway-styled, ballad.[21] It was named a "dramatic piano and string-laden coda" track.[22] It was co-produced by John Legend, which also plays the piano.[11] Lyrically, it reflects on lessons learned the hard way and decides that life is good.[19] Fergie further explained the track:

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[23]
Review scores
Source Rating 4/5 stars[21]
Allmusic 2/5 stars[17]
Boston Phoenix 3/5 stars[24]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[25]
Entertainment Weekly B+[22]
Los Angeles Times 2/5 stars[26]
PopMatters 2/10 discs[27]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[28]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[20]
Yahoo! Music (7/10)[29]

Initial critical response to The Dutchess was mixed. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 58, based on 15 reviews, which indicates "average reviews".[23] Leah Greenblatt wrote for Entertainment Weekly that "Though not every track is a gem, The Dutchess reaches further than most albums by contemporary divas," prov[ing] that she's earned her Black Eyed independence — and perhaps even her new royal title."[22] Bill Lamb of agreed, writing that it "is one of the top debuts of the year, [which] is good enough to pull into question the wisdom of Fergie sticking with the Black Eyed Peas or considering striking out on her own. [...] Adventurous, bold, and a whole lot of fun, she is an artist to be relished."[21] Uncut called it "one of the most rambunctiously entertaining and high-spirited records of 2006,"[23] while Robert Christgau gave the album a "choice cut", prasing the tracks "Fergalicious" and "London Bridge".[25] Kathryn Perry of The Boston Phoenix named the album "an eclectic, danceable collection of hip-hop, R&B, and pop confections,"[24] while Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone called it "a shameless solo debut full of Eighties-style electro bangers."[28] Dan Gennoe of Yahoo! Music saw the album as "an exceptionally random R&B mixtape," but perceived that while "be[ing] loaded with future hits and staggering imagination, it's also fundamentally flawed."[29]

In a more mixed review, Andy Kellman of Allmusic gave the album 2 out of possible 5 stars, noting that the album is "mildly entertaining but tremendously taxing" and writing that the album has "passable switch-ups, but none of them has any lasting (or even immediate) value, with the possible exception of the inexplicably asinine 'London Bridge'."[17] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine analyzed that "the album too often seems to be striving to display diversity at the expense of artistry," also criticizing the song's lyrics, writing that they "don't delve very deep."[20] Mike Joseph of PopMatters was more negative, observing that it "sounds like it was driven maybe 10% by an artist and 90% by a focus group. Fergie prances, preens, moans, talks and raps, but the result is canned and sterile."[27] Although expressing that "Fergie is talented enough to compete with the likes of Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera," Norman Mayers of Prefix Magazine noted that "the material on 'The Dutchess' won't take her to those heights,"[30] while Benjamin Boles of Now pointed out that it "would’ve been better if they cut the 'serious' songs."[31] Ann Powers of Los Angeles Times concluded that "the problem is the Duchess herself. Fergie exudes earthy charm, but can't keep up with the breakneck music. She forces emotion on the slower show-stoppers, and she's all cartoon kitten on the come-ons."[26]

Chart performance[edit]

The Dutchess debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 in the United States with sales of more than 150,000 in its first week.[32] 51 weeks after its release, The Dutchess climbed to a new peak of number two in the United States.[33] In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number 27 with 9,110 copies sold.[citation needed] The song "Losing My Ground" was the upcoming single, though it was replaced for "Glamorous" for unknown reasons. In a matter of weeks it dropped out of the chart altogether until the success of "Glamorous" when the album shot up from 77 to 28. Again, after the success of "Big Girls Don't Cry", the album climbed to 19 and after dropping a few places, went back up to its number 18 peak. To date, the album has produced three Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits, including "London Bridge", "Glamorous", and "Big Girls Don't Cry", with "Fergalicious" peaking at number two. Fifth single "Clumsy" peaked at the number five on the chart. A remix of "Big Girls Don't Cry", which features Sean Kingston, became an iTunes-only single and the new song "Pick It Up" (which appears on the Japanese re-released edition of the album) became a single in Japan.[citation needed]

In Australia, with the success of her first number-one single "Big Girls Don't Cry", the album peaked at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart on July 23, 45 weeks after it was released. The album has shifted over 210,000 copies and is certified triple platinum by ARIA. It has spent an impressive 62 weeks inside the nation's top 50, and 21 weeks inside the top 10.[34] It spent four consecutive weeks at number one.[35] Fergie has also had five consecutive top 4 hits from a debut album, the first artist to do so was Delta Goodrem with her 2003 album, Innocent Eyes, which had five consecutive number ones. Due to the re-release of The Dutchess in the United States, the original album bounced back from #104 to #28, because of the 11,000 copies of the deluxe edition sold in its first week.

On December 21, 2007, Fergie performed "Finally" on the 9th Annual A Home for the Holidays special on CBS and on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2008 on ABC, where Ryan Seacrest announced that it would be a single in 2008. It was released to radio on February 26, 2008.[36] The music video for "Finally" was filmed by Marc Webb, but has not been released.[37] Some songs were written with Fergie's old band, Wild Orchid members Renee Sands, and Stefanie Ridel.


The album earned Fergie three number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including two more songs in the top five.

"London Bridge" was released as the lead single from the album on July 18, 2006, and was Fergie's first single as a solo artist. As of January 1, 2008, the single has sold 1,792,912 copies in the United States. "Fergalicious" is the second single from the album, The Dutchess. It features Black Eyed Peas member, who also produced the track. "Fergalicious" was not officially released as the second single in the United Kingdom, where "Glamorous" was officially made the second single instead. However, "Fergalicious" still managed to chart at number 26 on the UK Official Download Chart and will be released as the fourth single there, over a year after the song's initial release, as a double A-side with "Clumsy". This is possibly due to the huge success of "Big Girls Don't Cry" in the United Kingdom which reached #2, saved the album, and even made it reach a new peak position at #18. As of August 2008, the single has sold over 2,700,000 copies.

"Glamorous" is the third single of The Dutchess; the song features Ludacris. In March 2007, the song became Fergie's second number-one single in the United States. The single was released on March 19, 2007 in the United Kingdom and was the second single taken from the album. The single was not as successful in Latin America (excluding Mexico, where it proved to be a hit) as "London Bridge" and "Fergalicious". "Glamorous" is the fourth single from the album in Brazil, where "Big Girls Don't Cry" was released as the third single. Fergie sang this song along with "Big Girls Don't Cry" at the Concert for Diana. As of March 2008, the single has sold 2,300,000 copies. "Big Girls Don't Cry", also known as "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)", is a song written by Fergie and Toby Gad for Fergie's debut solo album The Dutchess (2006). The song was released as the album's fourth single in 2007 (see 2007 in music) and topped the charts in several countries, most notably in Australia (for nine consecutive weeks - also becoming the number-one single in the ARIA's Year End Charts for 2007), and in the United States. It was the most played song of 2007 in Brazil (the success of the song there is due to Big Brother Brasil, which chose the song as the theme of the most popular couple of the show) and the most downloaded track in the United States, with astonishing sales of more than 2,750,000 copies sold. In July 2007, Fergie performed the song at the Concert for Diana and Live Earth. By the end of August 2007, the song became Fergie's third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was nominated in the 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance' category at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, which was held February 10, 2008.

"Clumsy" was written by Fergie and, sampling Little Richard's "The Girl Can't Help It", Deee-Lite's "Who Was That", and a small part of MC Lyte's "Poor Georgie". The song was released as the album's fifth single. The song peaked at number five in the United States. on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the fifth consecutive top-five single from The Dutchess. Fergie has also had five consecutive top 5 hits from a debut album on the ARIA Charts in Australia making her the first artist to do so since Delta Goodrem in 2003 with Innocent Eyes who had five consecutive number ones. "Finally" is the sixth single from The Dutchess. It was sent to U.S. radio on February 26, 2008. It is the album's least successful single. It features John Legend on piano.

Promotional singles[edit]

"Here I Come" is a song produced by and featured The track was released as a single in Australia in January 2008. It reached 22 on Australia Singles Chart and 122 on Billboard Hot 100. It was used on the commercials that advertised the debut of the new channel CW and in a Motorola Rockr commercial for Brazil and Portugal featuring Fergie. "Party People" was released as the first single from Nelly's fifth studio album Brass Knuckles. The song is also a single from the Deluxe Edition of The Dutchess. It reached 40 in the United States and 14 in the United Kingdom. "Labels or Love" is the second single from the Deluxe Edition of The Dutchess, and eighth overall. The song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but in the United Kingdom it reached 56. This is the last single from the album and a music video was filmed.

Track listings[edit]

The Dutchess – Standard edition[38]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Fergalicious" (featuring 4:52
2. "Clumsy" 4:00
3. "All That I Got (The Make Up Song)" (featuring
4. "London Bridge"  
Polow da Don 4:01
5. "Pedestal"  
Board 3:22
6. "Voodoo Doll"  
  • Ferguson
  • Adams 4:23
7. "Glamorous" (featuring Ludacris)
Polow da Don 4:06
8. "Here I Come" (featuring 3:21
9. "Velvet"  
  • Ferguson
  • George Pajon Jr.
  • Michael Fratantuno
  • Pajon Jr.
10. "Big Girls Don't Cry"  
  • Fair[a]
11. "Mary Jane Shoes" (featuring Rita Marley and the I-Threes)
  • Ferguson
  • Adams 3:55
12. "Losing My Ground"  
  • Boldt
  • Fair
13. "Finally" (featuring John Legend) (includes hidden track "Maybe We Can Take a Ride")
  • Legend
  • Fair
  • Ridel[a]
Total length:

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
Time on Earth by Crowded House
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
July 30, 2007 – August 20, 2007
Succeeded by
Where We Land by Damien Leith


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External links[edit]