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Poison (Nicole Scherzinger song)

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Nicole Scherzinger - Poison.png
Single by Nicole Scherzinger
from the album Killer Love
Released October 25, 2010 (2010-10-25)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010; Koryland Studios (Barcelona, Spain), Solid Sound Studios (Nice, France)
Length 3:48
Label Interscope
  • RedOne
  • Beatgeek
  • Jimmy Joker
Nicole Scherzinger singles chronology
"Don't Hold Your Breath"

"Poison" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Nicole Scherzinger for her debut solo studio album, Killer Love (2011). Released on October 25, 2010, it is the first single from the album. It was produced by RedOne, BeatGeek and Jimmy Joker, and is distinctively different from Scherzinger's previous attempts at releasing solo material. "Poison" is backed with powerful synthesizers and a pulsing dance-pop beat. The single was released as a two-track digital download and as a seven-track remixes extended play (EP).

"Poison" has received mostly positive reviews from most music critics who praised her new sound and the energy on the record but some criticized the song for being too generic. Scherzinger performed "Poison" live for the first time on seventh series of The X Factor on November 28, 2010, to coincide with the song's UK release. Both the show's judges and studio audiences gave her a standing ovation, with the media later praising her energy, choreography and live vocals.

An accompanying music video, directed by Joseph Kahn, sees Scherzinger take on the role of a female superhero and switches between a good-girl and bad-girl persona. It was noted for its similarities to another Kahn-directed video, "Toxic" by Britney Spears. "Poison" peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart becoming Scherzinger's second most successful single as a solo artist, in addition to peaking at number seven in Ireland, where it also became one of her highest charting releases. The single reached number one in Scotland, which was Scherzinger's first solo number one worldwide.


In 2007, Scherzinger was planning to launch her debut album under the title Her Name is Nicole, however the release of four singles, including "Whatever U Like" (featuring T.I.) and "Baby Love" (featuring all failed to significantly impact on US charts.[1] "Baby Love" was moderately successful reaching top-twenty in Europe.[2] After a number of pushbacks the entire project was scrapped at the request of Scherzinger.[3] In May 2010, Rap-Up reported that Scherzinger was relaunching her solo career with an "empowering" ballad called "Nobody Can Change Me".[4] The song was recorded in a nighttime studio session while she was competing on season 10 of the U.S. reality competition, Dancing with the Stars, and was mastered on May 23, 2010, ready for its premiere on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM radio show the following day.[5] Idolator was unimpressed with the "treacly pop tune" saying that the lack of sexiness, "uninspiring message" and "squeaky vocals" did Scherzinger no favors.[6] However, Amos Barshad of New York magazine actually liked the song, stating that "there’s none of the Pussycat Doll’s forced sexiness here; instead, it sounds like something that could have just missed the final cut on a Kelly Clarkson album (that is sort of supposed to be a compliment, yeah)."[7]

Then in August 2010, Moroccan producer RedOne was interviewed by the BBC. In the interview he revealed he had been working on Scherzinger's album. "I just finished her album. Her last one never came out because it was collecting hamburgers, like fast food. One from McDonalds, one from Burger King, and so on. It tasted good, but it wasn't consistent. Her new record – people are really going to go crazy about it because it's the real her."[8] Scherzinger's boyfriend Lewis Hamilton selected "Poison" as the album's first single.[9] It debuted on her official YouTube account on October 14, 2010.[10]


"Poison" is an up-tempo electropop and dance-pop song produced by RedOne, BeatGeek and Jimmy Joker.[11][12] It was written by Scherzinger, Bilal Hajji, Kinda Hamid, Novel Jannusi, Achraf Jannusi, RedOne[13] in the musical key of A-minor.[14] With a guitar-driven melody,[15] "Poison" uses a pulsating and toxic beat throughout,[10][11] which is similar to that used in the Britney Spears song, "Toxic". The lyrics were also compared to "Toxic" and said to have similar themes, according to BBC Music blogger, Fraser McAlpine.[16] A reviewer from Rap-Up spoke of the song's overall theme. "The lead Pussycat Doll has thoughts of using a deadly elixir on the dance floor, singing through a fuzzy filter over bombastic synthesizers." They described the song as a "toxic pop gem".[10] According to the sheet music published at by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song has a time signature set in common time, with a tempo of 124 beats per minute. The melody is mainly composed with piano and guitar instruments.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Bridget Daley of Hollyscoop was impressed with the song saying, "It’s super beat, and now we understand what RedOne meant when he told Hollyscoop how much we were going to love Nicole’s 'new' sound!"[17] However, Becky Bain of Idolator thought the "pulsating dance song" was underwhelming. "We have to admit, we’re not bowled over by this one, which pretty much follows a standard, predictable dance-pop formula from the double shout-out at the start to the 'woosh'ing fade-out finish". However Bain also pointed out that current trends on the US Billboard Hot 100 were unpredictable, "then again, since when has the Hot 100 shyed away from generic pop tunes we’ve heard over and over again? This one could go either way, folks."[11]

Fraser McAlpine of BBC Music stated that he thought the song was not as good as "Toxic" by Britney Spears, but was incredibly similar. After dubbing it a weaker version of "Toxic", he said, "And that just leaves us here with a song ['Poison'] which is all stomp and huff, a dramatic bang of a thing, which seeks to drag all the bad girls to the dancefloor so they can holler their evil intentions to into the faces of nervous men. It's a song which makes the most of Nicole's unwholesome sexiness – as opposed to wholesome, you understand, I'm not saying there's anything gross about her – and has drama and fury on its side."[16] Nick Levine of Digital Spy agreed saying that "Scherzinger has managed to bag herself a banger of an (ahem) debut single". He described the song's busy production as "having a whiff of the Berline "teknoklub" that is a "racket in the best possible way". Levine also praised Scherzinger for her conviction on the song, awarding it five out of five stars.[15] He gave "Poison" a better reception than he awarded Scherzinger's previous attempt, "Baby Love" (2007), which he only awarded three out of five stars, stating that it was the wrong single to launch the career of a world-class superstar.[18]

Chart performance[edit]

Following Scherzinger's performance on series seven of The X Factor, The Official Charts Company tipped "Poison" as a contender for number one on the UK Singles Chart.[19] Then on December 11, 2010, the single debuted at number one on the Scottish Singles Chart. Additionally "Poison" made its UK chart debut at number three with first-week sales of 67,425,[20] thus becoming her first top ten single in the UK, as a solo artist.[21] It also peaked at number two on the UK Digital Singles chart.[22] The song has been certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 200,000 copies of the single.[23] In Ireland, the single debuted at number seven.[24] "Poison" also charted at number nineteen on the Slovakian Airplay Chart.[25]

Music video[edit]

Two frames showing the good-girl (upper) and bad-girl (lower) personas that Scherzinger takes on in the video for "Poison"

The music video for "Poison" was filmed over one day in an empty warehouse in Los Angeles, with Joseph Khan serving as the director and Rich & Tone as the choreographers.[26] the music video for "Poison" features Scherzinger "sporting a skintight ninja outfit as she dance-fights with baddies."[27] The video's superhero theme has been compared to Kahn's "Toxic" music video for Britney Spears.[16]

The video begins on a city sidewalk where Scherzinger walks into a telephone booth as several men in black suits pass by the booth. As Scherzinger begins to undress, the men stop to stare as she begins taking of her glasses and shaking her hair back. The video then moves to Scherzinger in a dress walking past four men mopping the floor to a supply closet where she enters and reappears moments later, dressed in a black body suit with a cape. As the chorus begins, the situation rapidly switches back-and-forth from Scherzinger in her good-girl persona shown fighting escaped jail prisoners dressed in striped suits (and Beagle Boys masks) to Scherzinger in her bad-girl persona fighting with police. As the song progresses, Scherzinger is shown in a classic looking automobile and riding a BMW motorcycle, with a streaking white and black background. Several shots of her bad-girl persona alone in a room with two prisoners are then shown. As the bridge begins, she is shown in her good-girl ego standing by a podium, talking to a group of reporters while waving her hands in the air. As the bridge ends, she brings her hands down, blowing back all of the reporters, who then begin dancing and pumping their arms to the song. The video moves to Scherzinger dancing with the police and prisoners before ending with her blowing away the two men who were in the room with her and walking away.

MTV's Gil Kaufman called the video "slinky".[27] Robbie Daw from Idolator, said that "[we were] unsure about [...] 'Poison' when it first surfaced. But now that it’s been fitted with a somewhat stylish Joseph Kahn video, it’s all sort of starting to fall into place. 'Poison' video is super hot trash on a budget. .. But giving people with this much guilty pleasure in four minutes is just plain priceless."[28] French magazine Musique Mag, said that "[...] varying scenes, and fighting against thugs become [a] frenzied choreography."[29]

Live performances[edit]

Scherzinger performed "Poison", live for the first time, on November 28, 2010, during the week eight results show on series seven of The X Factor UK. She wore a red catsuit and long black trenchcoat for the performance.[30] The Sun said "Scherzinger stole the show last night" with her display of "live vocals". The judges gave the performance a standing ovation.[31] On The Xtra Factor following the live performances, Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell praised Scherzinger's performance, respectively calling it "one of the best live guest performances we've ever had" and "if you want an example of how you do it right... its Nicole. It was focus, performance, vocals...".[32] The Daily Mail followed suit, saying "Scherzinger put on a spectacle for her first live performance, complete with pyrotechnic lighting, full size cage and a stage full of scantily-clad dancers... The former guest judge brought the house down with her energetic routine".[33] Elena Gorgan of Softpedia agreed saying that Scherzinger wowed the "explosive" performance, earning her a standing ovation from the judges and audience.[34] The following day, she reprised the performance on ITV's breakfast show, Daybreak[35] before heading to London's Westfield Shopping Centre where she appeared on live screens to promote sports brand Reebok.[36] She stayed in the UK until December 5, 2010, promoting the single.[37]

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Killer Love booklet liner notes.[12]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Silver 200,000^

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

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Singapore October 25, 2010 Digital download Universal [44]
Sweden [45]
Ireland November 25, 2010 Digital download (UK Remixes Version) [46]
Portugal Digital download [47]
Ireland November 26, 2010 [48]
United Kingdom November 28, 2010 Polydor [49]
Digital download (UK Remixes Version) [50]
Norway November 29, 2010 Digital download Universal [51]
France December 10, 2010 [52]
December 13, 2010 Digital download (UK Remixes Version) [53]
Netherlands December 17, 2010 Digital download [54]
Spain December 20, 2010 [55]
France January 3, 2011 Digital download (France Version) [56]
Germany January 28, 2011 Digital download [57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Copsey, Robert (September 22, 2010). "Scherzinger – Solo Album Will Surprise". Digital Spy (Hachette Fillapaachi Medias). Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger & – Baby Love (Charts)". αCharts. 2007. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ Copsey, Robert (October 15, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger premieres new single". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi Médias UK). Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger Readies 'Empowering' New Single". Rap Up magazine. May 23, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ "On Air With Ryan Seacrest and Nicole Scherzinger". KIIS-FM. May 24, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ Bain, Becky (May 25, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger's "Nobody Can Change Me" Proves She Should Stick To Dancing". Idolator. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ Barshad, Amos (May 26, 2010). "Can Interscope Interest Anyone in a Nicole Scherzinger Solo Album?". New York Magazine. New York Media. Retrieved May 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ Savage, Mark (August 9, 2010). "Talking Shop: RedOne – As producer and co-writer for Lady Gaga, RedOne is responsible for some of the most ubiquitous radio hits of the last 18 months". BBC News. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  9. ^ Kelly, Kirsty (January 21, 2011). "Scherzinger 'wasn't sure of Dolls success'". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi Médias UK). Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c "New Music: Nicole Scherzinger – 'Poison'". October 14, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c Bain, Becky (October 14, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger Is Toxic On New Dance Single "Poison"". Idolator. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Killer Love (Booklet). Nicole Scherzinger. Santa Monica, CA: Polydor, Interscope Records (Cat no. 0602527665153). 2011. 
  13. ^ "Poison (Nicole Scherzinger) BMI Work #12250383". BMI Repertoire (Broadcast Music Incorporated). Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Nicole Scherzinger – Poison sheet music". (Alfred Publishing). 
  15. ^ a b Levine, Nick (November 29, 2010). "Music – Singles Review – Nicole Scherzinger: 'Poison'". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c Fraser McAlpine (February 24, 2007). "Chart Blog: Nicole Scherzinger – 'Poison'". BBC. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  17. ^ Daly, Bridget (October 14, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger: "Poison" Debuts – Nicole Scherzinger". Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  18. ^ Levine, Nick (October 5, 2010). "Music – Singles Review – Nicole Scherzinger: 'Baby Love'". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi Médias UK). Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  19. ^ Copsey, Robert (December 1, 2010). "Scherzinger battles for No.1 single". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi Médias UK). Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  20. ^ Jones, Alan (December 7, 2010). "X Factor's Heroes frozen at top of singles chart". Music Week. United Business Media. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  21. ^ Peak chart positions for singles in United Kingdom:
  22. ^ "Digital Charts". The Official Charts Company. December 11, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Certified Awards Search" (To access, enter the search parameter "Nicole Scherzinger" and select "Search by Keyword"). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger Irish discography". Irish Recorded Music Association. Irishcharts at Hung Medien. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201050 into search. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  26. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger's Poison by Joseph Kahn". November 25, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  27. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (November 1, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger Releases Solo Single 'Poison,' Prepping Album". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  28. ^ Daw, Robbie (October 29, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger Is A Butt-Kicking Comic Book Diva In Her "Poison" Video". Idolator. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Clip : Nicole Scherzinger Poison". Musique Mag. October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  30. ^ "X Factor 2010: The Wanted, Nicole Scherzinger and Justin Bieber take to the stage". OK!. Northern & Shell. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Pussycatsuit Doll Nicol Scherzinger steals show". The Sun. News Group Newspapers. November 29, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  32. ^ The Xtra Factor (November 28, 2010) Xtra Factor Results Week 8: Judges Questions. ITV. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  33. ^ Reporter, Daily Mail (November 29, 2010). "X Factor 2010: Nicole Scherzinger steals the show with long-awaited debut of solo single Poison". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  34. ^ Gorgan, Elena (November 29, 2010). "Nicole Scherzinger Wows with Explosive 'Poison' Performance on X Factor". Softpedia. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger performs | Music | Entertainment | Daybreak". ITV. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  36. ^ Baker, Rosie (May 18, 2009). "Reebok streams Nicole Scherzinger live on screens". Marketing Week. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger album will be 'in-your-face'". (BBC News). November 29, 2010. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  38. ^ " – Nicole Scherzinger – Poison" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  39. ^ "Nicole Scherzinger – Chart history" Billboard Euro Digital Songs for Nicole Scherzinger. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  40. ^ "Chart Track: Week 48, 2010". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  41. ^ "Archive Chart: December 11, 2010". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  42. ^ "Archive Chart: 2010/11/12" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  43. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2010" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
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