Bills, Bills, Bills

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"Bills, Bills, Bills"
Destiny's Child – Bills, Bills, Bills (single).jpg
Single by Destiny's Child
from the album The Writing's on the Wall
B-side
  • "Bug a Boo" (snippet)
  • "So Good" (snippet)
  • "Now That She's Gone" (snippet)
ReleasedMay 31, 1999 (1999-05-31)
RecordedDecember 1998[1][2]
Studio
  • Digital Services (Houston, Texas)
  • DARP (Atlanta, Georgia)
GenreR&B
Length4:15
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Shek'spere
Destiny's Child singles chronology
"Get on the Bus"
(1998)
"Bills, Bills, Bills"
(1999)
"Bug a Boo"
(1999)
Music video
"Bills, Bills, Bills" on YouTube

"Bills, Bills, Bills" is a song by American group Destiny's Child from their second studio album, The Writing's on the Wall (1999). It was written by Beyoncé Knowles, LeToya Luckett, Kelly Rowland, Kandi Burruss of Xscape, and Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and produced by the latter. The song was released as the lead single from The Writing's on the Wall on May 31, 1999, by Columbia Records.

"Bills, Bills, Bills" became Destiny's Child's first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100. Internationally, it reached the top 10 in Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Critically acclaimed, the song was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2000Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best R&B Song.[3]

The accompanying music video for "Bills, Bills, Bills", directed by Darren Grant, was filmed in a beauty salon as a tribute to Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles. In 2021, the song resurged in popularity on streaming platforms, as well as TikTok, where it became the most popular "comeback" track in the United States and the United Kingdom that year.[4][5]

Background and composition[edit]

"Bills, Bills, Bills" is one of the five tracks that Destiny's Child worked with Kandi Burruss and She'kspere on their sophomore album that would help create their signature sound.[6] Burruss stated that the idea for the song came to them when they were in a store and Briggs began beat-boxing the beat in his head.[7] Burruss also claimed that the lyrics, specifically the verses for the song, were inspired by personal dating experiences she had.[8] The group members expanded on writing lyrics for the song after the concept was presented to them.[8]

Musically, the song is a sassy, playful, and jittery R&B track with slinky instrumentation led by harpsichord-synthesizers.[9][10] The track is described to have a quirky melody and descriptive lyrics that draw attention to listeners because of the story the group members are singing.[11]

Release[edit]

In the United States, "Bills, Bills, Bills" was serviced to urban and rhythmic contemporary radio stations on May 31, 1999, and June 1, 1999, respectively.[12][13] The single was then released physically in the United States on CD, maxi-CD, 12-inch vinyl, and cassette.[14] In the United Kingdom, the song was issued on July 12, 1999, as a cassette and two maxi-CDs.[15] Germany and France soon followed with maxi-CDs for the song being released on July 16, and July 26, respectively.[16][17] The track was later sent to US contemporary hit radio on July 20, 1999.[18]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Bills, Bills, Bills" debuted at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and climbed to number one five weeks later, dethroning Jennifer Lopez's debut single "If You Had My Love" from the top spot.[19][20] It was Destiny's Child's first song to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the ninth-best-selling single of 1999 in the United States.[20][21] "Bills, Bills, Bills" also reached number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for nine consecutive weeks.[22] In the United Kingdom, "Bills, Bills, Bills" peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart.[23]

Music video[edit]

The video takes place in a hair salon, inspired by Tina Knowles, Beyoncé's mother and the group's fashion stylist at the time. The video starts with Beyoncé arguing with her boyfriend and being fed up with him asking for her car keys. Destiny's Child are seen doing hair styling on clients. The members then do some choreography with salon chairs in light pink ensembles. In another setting, Destiny's Child are wearing black and white, zebra-like patterned outfits while so-called "broke", "tired", and "good for nothin'" men are seen in rooms behind them. The final setting for the video takes place in front a wall of glass block windows. Here, the members are wearing shiny blue outfits. The video is edited when the members are singing to the camera to make them move jittery to the beat.

The video made its premiere on music video stations such as BET, MTV, and The Box on the week ending June 13, 1999.[24]

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are taken from the US CD single liner notes and The Writing's on the Wall album booklet.[25][35]

Studios

Personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Belgium (BEA)[67] Gold 25,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[68] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[69] Platinum 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "Bills, Bills, Bills"
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States May 31, 1999 Urban contemporary radio Columbia
June 1, 1999 Rhythmic contemporary radio [13]
June 15, 1999 [14]
United Kingdom July 12, 1999
  • Cassette
  • two maxi CDs
[15]
Germany July 16, 1999 Maxi CD Sony Music
United States July 20, 1999 Contemporary hit radio Columbia [18]
France July 26, 1999 Maxi CD Sony Music
October 19, 1999 CD

Cover versions[edit]

Sporty Thievz, the same group that wrote "No Pigeons" as an answer song to TLC's "No Scrubs", wrote a response to "Bills, Bills, Bills" entitled "No Billz (Why, Why, Why)." Sporty Thievz were also featured on "I Can't Go For That", a re-recorded remix of "Bills, Bills, Bills" with new lyrics, produced by the Trackmasters, along with a rapper called Jazz.

In 2015, New York-based rock band They Might Be Giants recorded a cover version,[71] later released on their album Phone Power.

The song was also performed a cappella by the fictional Dalton Academy Warblers group on the American musical television series Glee in the eleventh episode of the second season, entitled The Sue Sylvester Shuffle.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flashing lights & 3 other titles, Beautiful & 15 other titles, Poems by me, continuation – song, music – Copyright Info". Faqs.org. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
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  4. ^ "Year on TikTok 2021 Music Report". Newsroom | TikTok. August 16, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  5. ^ "Tion Wayne and Russ Millions' Body named TikTok UK song of 2021". BBC News. December 13, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  6. ^ St. Asaph, Katherine. "Destiny's Child: The Writing's on the Wall". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 17, 2022. Originally brought in for just one track, Burruss and Briggs not only ended up with five tracks but crafted its most recognizable sound...
  7. ^ "Destiny's Child The Writing's On The Wall LP revisited by co-writer Kandi Burruss | Return To The Classics | SoulCulture". Soul Culture. April 3, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2022. She'kspere and I were in Texas. I think we were in the store or something. He started beat boxing the beat in his head; he was like, 'It'd be dope if we played off of bills. Can you pay my bills? Pay my automobiles?'
  8. ^ a b Biakolo, Kovie (July 8, 2021). "Kandi Burruss Shares the Funny Story Behind Writing Destiny Child's 'Bills, Bills, Bills'". Glamour. Retrieved June 17, 2022. When I got with the girls at the studio, we were singing them the idea. I had the melody of how I felt like the verse should go, and we came together for the lyrics. ... I use a lot of my past relationships as inspiration. The relationship I had been in prior to [writing the song], I took inspiration from it...though I didn't tell them that.
  9. ^ "The 99 Greatest Songs of 1999: Critics' Picks". Billboard. April 8, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2022. Briggs and Burruss specialized in telling off deadbeat men through playful R&B songs in 1999 ... 'Bills' was the sassy, harpsichord-synth-led first single
  10. ^ "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 200-151 – Page 5". Pitchfork. August 30, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2022. 'Bills Bills Bills' wasn't the first great piece of jittery post-Timbaland R&B, but it was the first to offer a performance that mirrored the hyper-finesse of the style's insectile stop-start surfaces.
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External links[edit]