Pound the Alarm

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"Pound the Alarm"
Nicki Minaj Pound The Alarm.jpg
Single by Nicki Minaj
from the album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
ReleasedJune 12, 2012
RecordedAugust–September 2011
  • RedOne
  • Falk
  • Yacoub
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Get Low"
"Pound the Alarm"
"Out of My Mind"
Music video
"Pound the Alarm (Explicit)" on YouTube

"Pound the Alarm" is a song by American rapper and singer Nicki Minaj, serving as a single from her second studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. The song was written by RedOne, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub, Bilal Hajji, and Achraf Jannusi, with co-writing credits from Minaj, and production was handled by RedOne, Falk and Yacoub and was released as the fifth single, but third international single on June 12, 2012 by Young Money. The song was actually not to be released as a single, as Minaj posted a poll on her website asking fans to choose the next single. "Va Va Voom" originally won the poll, with "Whip It" second and "Pound the Alarm" as third. However, due to the amount of airplay requests, Minaj scrapped "Va Va Voom" and went ahead with "Pound the Alarm".

Musically, "Pound the Alarm" is a Eurodance song. The song talks about having a good time, and partying all night (as well as going to festivals/carnivals, as the music video portrays), however it does feature a verse with Minaj warning her lover. The song entered the top ten in countries including Finland, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. The song also charted on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking inside the top twenty and number 1 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

The accompanying music video was shot in her native birth country, Trinidad and Tobago, where it featured Minaj performing at a national Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. It features many performances from locals in the video, including dancing and her in front of her relatives at the end of the video. The music video received positive reviews, many enjoying the fun atmosphere. The song was also featured on her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour.

The song is included in the game Just Dance 2014. It is also one of the select songs available on the demo version.

The song is also included on Season 10 Episode 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race. It is featured at the end of the episode when the bottom two contestants, Dusty Ray Bottoms and Monét X Change, had to lip sync for their lives, and Dusty Ray Bottoms was eliminated from the competition.


On May 24, 2012, a poll was posted on Minaj's official website asking the fans to choose the next single(s). The poll is divided into three categories. The third and final category asks to choose between "Pound the Alarm", "Whip It", and "Va Va Voom". "Va Va Voom" had the most votes and won the poll. "Whip It" came in second and "Pound the Alarm" came in third.[1] After the poll results were finalized, a fan then told Minaj; "ΝΟΟΟ!! Pound The Alarm is way more energetic!!!", where Minaj replied: "I agree!!!! Fun2perform. But the polls don't lie do they?"." The song was eventually trending on Twitter for the choice of the songs. Moments later she tweeted: "Oop. Just got word that radio 1 in the uk and nova & 2day fm in australia are runnin w/ #poundthealarm due to the amount of requests"[2] and later added after "Sorry va va voomers...Looks like France has chosen #poundthealarm for the win as well barbz."[3]

Minaj confirmed on Twitter on June 6, 2012 that she chose "Pound the Alarm" as the next single instead of "Va Va Voom" due to the amount of radio requests "Pound the Alarm" was getting in the UK, Australia, and France.[4] It officially impacted Australian radio on June 12, 2012, where it was the most added track of the week.[5] It also impacted UK radio on June 15, 2012.[6] In the United States, the song was released as the second mainstream single and fourth single overall from the album on July 17, 2012.[7]


"Pound the Alarm" is a Eurodance song produced by RedOne, Falk, and Rami. It is composed in common time in the key of C minor with a tempo of 125 beats per minute.[8] It moves in common time and follows a chord progression of Cm–Gm–A–B, and Nicki's vocals span from B3 to A4.[9] The song makes use of EDM, techno and house in its composition, while also being influenced by rave.[10] After each chorus there is a "frantic" Eurodance and dubstep breakdown, and also features the sounds of alarms, weaving beats, and "seize-the-night" lyrics.[11][12]

Lyrically, it talks about having a good time and partying. However, in one of the verses, she warns her lover by saying, "I'm a bad bitch, no muzzle", meaning that whilst muzzles prevent dogs from barking, nobody can stop her from saying what she wants to say, as she is a 'bad bitch'.[13] When the song received mixed reception from critics with it being too similar, RedOne, who produced both the song and "Starships" told MTV News that "Pound the Alarm" is sonically edgier. "It's got the pop element, but it's got some hard-core elements, some dance underground elements."[13] According to Laurence Green from MusicOMH compared the song to 2 Unlimited by saying "The techno push of 'Pound the Alarm' comes on like [2 Unlimited] set loose in the studio [...]".[14] Kitty Empire from The Observer described the song as firmly a "half-rap, half-pop" song.

Critical reception[edit]

Entertainment Weekly gave a positive review by describing the song as "The perfect trunk rattler to blast from your pink Barbie Bentley, with booming synths that build to a brain-numbing epiphany: 'Music. Makes Me. High.'"[15] Slant Magazine stated that "Pound the Alarm", along with "Starships", "Whip It", and "Automatic", are "retro-techno-pop earsores comprised of indiscriminately arranged bits of LMFAO's 'Sexy and I Know It', Rihanna's 'We Found Love', and pretty much any recent Britney Spears or Katy Perry song you can name", adding that "Her repeated exhortation on 'Pound the Alarm' to get things 'hotter and hotter and sexy and hotter' is about as weak as club-jam come-ons get."[16] Fact gave it a positive review, saying "its avalanche-force hoover noises are so over-the-top and its hooks so catchy that you may as well save time and cave into it now."[17]

Kitty Empire from The Observer said the song makes the album "a persuasive compromise between this album's chart fodder and its rap turf."[18] Andrew Unterberger of Popdust gave the song a mixed review, and compared it to the works of Jennifer Lopez, Taio Cruz, The Black Eyed Peas, and Beyoncé.[11] Billboard editor Andrew Hampp gave the song a negative review, stating that it is a "'Starships' sound-alike" and saying the only difference is that "Nicki does a little bit more singing than she does on her current single, but otherwise the two tracks are virtually indistinguishable. Even the chorus is a rewrite."[19] Emily Mackay from NME said the song was a "charmless trancey ba[n]ger" and categorised it as a part of the album that "flipflops".[20] Matthew Cole was more negative, stating the song is "about as weak as club-jam come-ons get". Drowned in Sound called the song "trashy electro [music]".[21] the song is like a sister song to "Rum and Raybans" by Sean Kingston featuring Cher Lloyd.

Chart performance[edit]

"Pound the Alarm" debuted at 92 and peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number fourteen on the US Pop Songs. The song also peaked at number one on Hot Dance Club Songs. The song managed to peak inside the top ten in Canada, peaking at number nine on the charts.

The song also managed to have success in the Oceanic regions. In Australia, the song debuted at number thirty-three, until the next week it peaked at number ten for two non-consecutive weeks. It was eventually certified 2× Platinum by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 70,000.[22] In New Zealand, the song debuted at twelve, until the next week it peaked at number six for two consecutive weeks. The song was then certified Gold by Recording Industry Association of New Zealand for sales of 7,500.[23]

The song was also very successful in European regions. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at seventy-nine until it fell out; it later re-entered at 61 and peaked at number eight. The song also marks Minaj's third solo top ten entry in the UK, following "Super Bass" and "Starships". In France, the song debuted at 137, until it rose to number 52. It re-entered at 59 and is currently peaking at nineteen. In Finland, the song debuted at fourteen and is currently peaking at four. In Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia), the song debuted at 41 and 43, until it peaked at fourteen and 31 (for two consecutive weeks). The song debuted at 86 on the Dutch Top 40 and peaked at number 30 on the chart; it further debuted and peaked at 23 in Denmark. In Switzerland, the song debuted at 52 and peaked at number 44. It peaked at number eight in Scotland as well.

Music video[edit]

The video was shot in Trinidad at Queen’s Park Savannah on July 4, 2012 and had what was seen to be a carnival theme.[24] Open auditions were held for the video on-set. 500 people were scheduled to appear in the music video and were asked to come wearing carnival attire.[25] Director Benny Boom, who filmed Minaj's "Beez in the Trap" and "Right by My Side" videos, also directed the "Pound the Alarm" video.[26] Minaj released a 'behind the scenes' video of the shoot on July 13, 2012. It premiered on Minaj's VEVO account on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. The video has over 216 million views as of April 2018 meaning it is now 2X VEVO Certified.


Minaj dresses in carnival attire throughout the video.

The video for "Pound the Alarm" begins with Minaj on a building, singing and looking over the town. She pays tribute to Trinidad and Tobago, her birthplace, and the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.[27] The video opens with a steelpan version of the song, and shots of different locations in Port of Spain. Then the flag of Trinidad and Tobago appears before Minaj is shown standing in a bird eye view of Port of Spain. Minaj is wearing a custom made Trinidadian flag-themed bra and high-rise panties. She then is seen walking down an alleyway in a red carnival costume, joined by other women in the same Trinbagonian carnival attire, they are seen partying and dancing to the song. In this scene Minaj has a large feathered headdress on. Minaj is then seen onstage holding a concert with Trinidadian artistes: Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, while confetti comes down and the audience throw up the Trinidadian flag. Many Trinidadian carnival characters appear in the video such as Dame Lorraine, Blue Devil, Jab Jab, Moko Jumbies (people walking on stilts) and others. Towards the end of the video Minaj is sitting on top of a stereo speaker, while fireworks appear in the night sky. Minaj forms a conga line, and does some choreography with her backup dancers. Minaj and other women are dancing sensually on each other; the local term for this dance is called "wining". Towards the end of the video Minaj is seen in front of her cousins from Trinidad,[28] and wrapping a Trinidadian bandanna around her mouth. The video ends with Minaj walking towards a bright light still dressed in Carnival attire.

Of the video, Romeo's Corner said "Other than being a very colorful video and the beautiful Trinidad as its backdrop, I don't see how this video could do anything with 'Pound the Alarm' other than having fun."[29]

Live performances[edit]

Minaj performed "Pound the Alarm" live during Radio 1's Hackney Weekend on June 23, 2012 as part of the line-up on the main stage. Minaj performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on July 13, 2012.[30] The song was also included on Minaj's Pink Friday Tour and her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour. She also performed the song on Today, along with "Starships" and "I Am Your Leader".

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[31]
  1. "Pound the Alarm" – 3:21
  2. "Pound the Alarm" (music video) – 4:05
  • Digital download EP[32]
  1. "Pound the Alarm" (Liam Keegan Mix) – 4:42
  2. "Pound the Alarm" (Nicole Chen Mix) – 5:43
  3. "Pound the Alarm" (Nick Lees Mix) – 5:51
  4. "Pound the Alarm" (Jelfa Mix) – 5:27
  5. "Pound the Alarm" (Kitz Looper Mix) – 5:25
  1. "Pound the Alarm" (Liam Keegan Mix) – 4:42
  2. "Pound the Alarm" (Nicole Chen Mix) – 5:43
  3. "Pound the Alarm" (Nick Lees Mix) – 5:51
  4. "Pound the Alarm" (Jelfa Mix) – 5:27
  5. "Pound the Alarm" (Kitz Looper Mix) – 5:25

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Nicki Minaj – songwriter
  • RedOne – songwriter, producer, backing vocals, instruments
  • Carl Falk – songwriter, producer, mixing, instruments
  • Rami Yacoub – songwriter, producer, mixing, instruments
  • Bilal Hajji – songwriter, backing vocals
  • Achraf Jannusi – songwriter, backing vocals
  • Trevor Muzzy – recording, mixing, vocal editing
  • Ariel Chobaz – recording
  • Jon Sher – recording assistant
  • Jeanette Olsson – backing vocals

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
Australia[5] June 12, 2012 Mainstream radio
United Kingdom[6] June 15, 2012
United States[75][76] July 17, 2012 Top 40/Mainstream radio
July 31, 2012 Rhythmic radio

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]