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Dirrty

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Not to be confused with Dirty.
"Dirrty"
Picture with the words "DIRRTY CHRISTINA AGUILERA FEATURING REDMAN" under the image of Christina Aguilera'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
B-side
  • "I Will Be"
  • "Make Over"
Released September 24, 2002 (2002-09-24)
Format
Recorded
Genre
Length 4:58
Label RCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Dana Stinson
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Balewa Muhammad
  • Jasper Cameron
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"Lady Marmalade"
(2001)
"Dirrty"
(2002)
"Beautiful"
(2002)
Redman singles chronology
"Smash Sumthin'"
(2001)
"Dirrty"
(2002)
"Put It Down"
(2007)

"Dirrty" is a song recorded by American recording artists Christina Aguilera and Redman for the former's fourth studio album Stripped (2002). Despite Aguilera's first three years of commercial success, she was displeased with the lack of control over her image. In response, she desired to create a song that would represent her authentic persona. She approached hip hop producer Rockwilder and suggested using Redman's 2001 song "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)" as a guide. The final result, "Dirrty", is an R&B and hip hop song that also features rapping verses from Redman. The song is about sexual activities.

RCA Records sent "Dirrty" to American radio stations in September 2002 as the lead single from Stripped. RCA and Sony Music Entertainment later released the song as a CD single. The single was Aguilera's first to fail to enter the top twenty of the US Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 48.[1] In Europe and Oceania, it reached the top five of charts in countries including Australia,[2] Denmark,[3] Ireland,[4] Netherlands,[5] Switzerland,[6] and the United Kingdom.[7]

The music video for "Dirrty", directed by David LaChapelle, was intended to publicize Aguilera's new image. It depicts sexual fetishes such as mud wrestling and muscle worshipping. The controversial video eliminated her image as a bubblegum pop singer. It received criticism from various news publications and other recording artists, and it was banned on Thai television due to its sexual content. Aguilera defended the video, calling it inspirational as it put her to the forefront. "Dirrty" was included on the setlists of Aguilera's three major concert tours: the Justified and Stripped Tour (2003), the Stripped Tour (2003), and the Back to Basics Tour (2006–08).

Development[edit]

"Dirrty" was created in the vein of Redman (pictured)'s 2001 hip hop song "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)", who is later featured on the song.[8]

American singer Christina Aguilera rose to prominence with the success of her 1999 self-titled debut album. It topped the US Billboard 200 and was certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It produced three Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles: "Genie in a Bottle", "What a Girl Wants", and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)".[9][10][11] Despite the success, Aguilera was displeased with being marketed as her then-manager Steve Kurtz desired, and felt unable to control her image.[12] She told The Sydney Morning Herald her dissatisfaction with being a part of the late 1990s teen pop trend, "The label [RCA Records] wanted to push the cookie-cutter, [...] almost virginal kind of imagery that wasn't me," Aguilera said. "I really wanted to squirm away from that, because I really thought it was really fake and superficial and untrue of what I was about."[13]

"Dirrty" was among the last tracks to be recorded for Aguilera's 2002 album Stripped.[8] It 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.[14] Aguilera desired to create a "down and dirty" song that would announce her new image. She approached hip hop producer Rockwilder, who had worked with her on "Lady Marmalade", and suggested recording a song in the vein of Redman's 2001 hip hop song "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)". "Dirrty" ultimately became a "near-remake" of its predecessor, as Entertainment Weekly said.[8] Rapper Redman, who previously appeared on Eminem's 2001 song "Off the Wall", in which Eminem disses Aguilera, is featured on the song.[15] Aguilera intended to use a misspelled title to personalize the song, also considering "Dirtee" or "Dirrdy". The title reflects the music video, which Aguilera describes as "gritty, [with] underground, illegal stuff going on."[16]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"Dirrty" is a hip hop and R&B song.[17][18][19] Composed in the key of G minor, it has a moderately fast tempo of 100 beats per minute. The lines in the refrain and Redman's rapping verses are emphasized by a pair of B♭ octave dyads. Aguilera's vocal range on the track spans F3 to D5.[20] Redman's original ape-like sounds from "Let's Get Dirty" are also featured on "Dirrty".[15] According to Stylus Magazine's Todd Burns, the song features a bassline which "doesn't quite mesh with the song in a natural way" and an "effective" overdubbing technique.[21] The song's lyrics detail sexual activities such as table dancing.[22] Jon Pareles noted that Aguilera was determined to shed her teen pop image that she achieved with her early works, and decided to show her sexuality and aggression in the "self-explanatory" "Dirrty".[23] Writing for The Guardian, Betty Clarke described the song's lyrics as "majestically filthy."[24] A sequel to the song entitled "Still Dirrty" was recorded by Aguilera for her 2006 album Back to Basics.[25]

Release and commercial reception[edit]

"Dirrty" was released as the lead single from Stripped. RCA Records encouraged Aguilera to release the ballad "Beautiful" as the first single from Stripped. Aguilera insisted on releasing "Dirrty" as the lead single, as she felt that it represented her "real" persona.[26] RCA Records sent "Dirrty" to US radio stations in September 2002. It debuted at number 64 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart on September 21, 2002, and rose to number 49 the following week.[27] It dropped one place to number 50 on the chart issue dated October 5, 2002.[28] RCA Records released it in the United States as a 12-inch single on September 24, 2002, and as a CD single with "I Will Be" as a B-side on October 14.[29][30] Another US CD featuring "Make Over" as its B-side was released on December 10.[31] "Dirrty" was also released as a CD single in Germany on October 14, and in the United Kingdom on November 11 by RCA and Sony Music Entertainment.[32][33]

"Dirrty" was Aguilera's first single to fail to enter the top twenty of the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 48 on October 5, 2002.[34] It debuted at number 67 on September 21, 2002, and rose to number 49 the following week.[35] "Dirrty" additionally charted at number 14 on Top 40 Mainstream, number 20 on Rhythmic Top 40, and number 22 on Top 40 Tracks.[10]

Outside of the United States, "Dirrty" debuted at number seven on the Canadian Singles Chart on November 30, 2002,[36] and later peaked at number five on February 15, 2003.[37] In the United Kingdom, the single debuted atop the UK Singles Chart on November 17, 2002, remaining on the top spot for two weeks,[38] and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry.[39] The song reached the top five of record charts of European countries including Ireland (number one),[4] Netherlands (number two),[40] Norway,[41] Spain,[42] and Switzerland (number three),[6] Belgian Flanders,[43] Denmark,[3] and Germany (number four),[44] and Austria[45] and Hungary (number five).[46] Overall, the song peaked at number three on the European Hot 100 Singles chart on December 7, 2002.[47] "Dirrty" also peaked at number four on the Australian ARIA Charts and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[2][48]

Critical response[edit]

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine called it "the most instantly gratifying" song from Stripped.[49] Todd Burns from Stylus Magazine labeled it "one of the most interesting songs of the year" and compared its styles to Britney Spears' "image transformation" on "I'm a Slave 4 U" (2001).[50] In a separate review, Burns deemed it the best single of 2002, writing, "That's what pop music is all about, appealing to as many people as possible."[21] 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."[51]

Jancee Dunn called the release of "Dirrty" as the lead single "a shame" and opined that it misrepresented the rest of the album.[52] Likewise, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic was disappointed towards the track's being released as the lead single and found Aguilera's vocal range in the song too narrow. He added that the song's R&B styles "fit [Aguilera] poorly" and negatively compared it to the "slinky sexiness" of "I'm a Slave 4 U".[53] Michael Paoletta from Billboard called the song "horribly derivative",[54] while NME's Jim Wirth said that "Dirrty" was "probably the pick of an inconsistent crop."[55] Entertainment Weekly critic Seymour Craig gave it a D-, calling Aguilera's voice "desperate and shrill," and found it to be an unsuccessful attempt to gain street cred.[22] "Dirrty" won the Best Single award at the 2003 Q Awards.[56] 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.[57][58]

Music video[edit]

Development and content[edit]

A scene from the music video for "Dirrty", in which Aguilera performs the slutdrop. The music video is credited as the origin of the slutdrop, which later became popular among contemporary female artists.[59]

The music video for "Dirrty" was directed by David LaChapelle. It was filmed on September 8 and 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 auditioned.[60] Aguilera wanted to make sure that she and LaChapelle had the same vision for the video, not wanting it to be "glossy or pretty."[61] A scene where Aguilera is lowered into a boxing ring in a cage and a dance segment in the ring were filmed on the first day. The following day, a foxy boxing scene, a table dancing segment, a party scene with Redman's rapping his part, and a shower scene were filmed.[61] The video premiered on September 30, 2002, on Making the Video,[61] and was described as "a post-apocalyptic orgy."[62]

The video opens with Aguilera gearing up and riding a motorcycle into a nightclub. Wearing a bikini and buttocks-bearing 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 bra, 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. It features several sexual fetishes, from mud wrestling to muscle worshipping.[63]

Reception[edit]

The video generated controversy and presented Aguilera's new public image, eliminating her previous bubblegum pop singer and "girl next door" image.[64][65] When Aguilera's collaborator Linda Perry first saw the video, she asked Aguilera: "Are you high? This is annoying. Why are you doing this?"[66] 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.[67]

Aguilera's new image was so widely rejected by the public that it began to overshadow her music.[68] Tim Walker from The Independent wrote: "[Aguilera] simulated masturbation while wearing little more than a pair of leather chaps."[69] Entertainment Weekly described Aguilera's image in the video as "the world's skeeziest reptile woman,"[22] and The Village Voice captioned her as a xenomorph from the Alien series.[70] Several of Aguilera's contemporaries, such as Shakira and Jessica Simpson, expressed disapproval of her image and the sexuality of the video.[71] Time magazine commented that "she appeared to have arrived on the set... direct from an intergalactic hooker convention."[68] 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."[72] 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.[71]

Despite the criticism, the video was a number-one video on MTV's series Total Request Live (TRL) in October 2002.[73][74] "Dirrty" was picked as the fifth greatest music video throughout TRL history in the final countdown on November 16, 2008.[75] LA Weekly selected it as the fourth greatest music video on TRL, writing: "Ass-less chaps: An underutilized pop star accessory."[76] The video was nominated for Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, and Best Choreography at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.[77] It also earned six nominations at the 2003 Music Video Production Association Awards, and won two: Best Styling and Best Make-Up.[78][79] The video ranked at number 100 on Slant Magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time" in 2003.[80] In late 2008, the video was voted the ninth "Sexiest Music Video of All Time" by over a quarter of a million FHM readers in a poll the magazine ran worldwide.[81] It also appeared at number two on VH1 list of "Scandalously Sexy Music Videos" in 2013.[82] The music video is credited as the origin of the slutdrop dance move, which would later become popular among contemporary female artists, such as the Pussycat Dolls and Beyoncé.[59]

Live performances and media usage[edit]

Aguilera performing "Dirrty" on the Back to Basics Tour in Dublin, November 21, 2006

Aguilera first performed "Dirrty" at the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards in Barcelona, recreating the music video's scenes and wearing the same chaps in the video for the performance.[83] She later performed the song on UK television shows CD:UK and Top of the Pops in 2002,[84][85] and then as part of a medley with "Fighter" at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in August 2003, which was backed by guitarist Dave Navarro.[86]

"Dirrty" was included on the setlists of Aguilera's three major concert shows. For the 2003 Justified & Stripped Tour and Stripped Tour, it was the opening song on the setlists. For the performance, Aguilera appeared in torso-baring black outfit and black hair, which, according to San Francisco Chronicle's Neva Cholin and MTV's Christina Fuoco, resembled Cher's styles.[87][88] The performance at the Wembley Arena in London was recorded for the 2004 video release Stripped Live in the U.K..[89] "Dirrty" was also included on the setlist of Aguilera's 2006-08 Back to Basics Tour, as part of the circus segment. The performance incorporated elements of "Cell Block Tango" from the Broadway musical Chicago, and "Entrance of the Gladiators" by Julius Fučík, and featured a carousel hourse.[90] Ben Walsh from The Independent highlighted "Dirrty" as the best song of the concert.[91] However, The Observer's Kitty Empire called it "blushery."[92] The performance at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide was recorded for the 2008 video release Back to Basics: Live and Down Under.[93]

Two weeks after its premiere, the video was parodied 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."[94] Aguilera later commented that she found the parody disappointing and that she "could have made a funnier script out of it."[71] The song was covered by British Ed Sheeran for a Live Lounge session of BBC Radio 1 in February 2015.[95] Sheeran's performance was instrumented by guitar and incorporated soul elements.[96] "Dirrty" was also parodied by Stephen Merchant on the show Lip Sync Battle in May 2015.[97]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of Stripped.[14]

Recording location
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 Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[48] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[125] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[126] Gold 5,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[127] Platinum 10,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[128] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[129] Platinum 30,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[130] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Gold 400,000double-dagger

References[edit]

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External links[edit]