Unpretty

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"Unpretty"
Single by TLC
from the album FanMail
Released August 10, 1999 (1999-08-10)
Format
Recorded 1998;
D.A.R.P. Studios
Bosstown Recording Studios
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Genre
Length 4:38
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Austin
Certification Gold (RIAA)
TLC singles chronology
"No Scrubs"
(1999)
Unpretty
(1999)
"Dear Lie"
(1999)
Music video
"Unpretty" on YouTube

"Unpretty" is a song by American recording group TLC. It was produced by Dallas Austin and co-written by Austin and TLC member Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins for the band's third studio album, FanMail (1999). Built on a poem of the same name written by Watkins, which dealt with a woman's struggle with her self-image and unrealistic concepts of beauty portrayed in the media. Long time contributor Dallas Austin helped Watkins adapt the poem into an empowering song for their female fan base to overcome feelings of physical inadequacy.

"Unpretty" was the second single released from FanMail. It became the group's fourth US number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, spending three weeks atop the chart, and the second consecutive number one single in from the album, following "No Scrubs". A critical success, the song was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards. A remixed version of the song, sampling Dennis Edwards & Siedah Garrett's "Don't Look Any Further", was produced by JayDee of 1208Ent. and "Mad" Mike Lewin.

Music video[edit]

Paul Hunter directed the music video for "Unpretty", which was filmed on June 21, 1999 in Valencia, CA, and cost over $1.6 million to make. The clip ties together vignettes of several different stories relating to the song's lyrics. The main set of vignettes features a young woman, portrayed by band member Chilli, whose boyfriend convinces her to get breast implants to augment her modest bust. However, after she sees another patient in the hospital (played by actress Jade Valerie) getting her implants painfully removed, the woman flees the hospital in fear, and is later shown fighting with her boyfriend.

Another prominent set of vignettes features Lopes as an inner-city woman who witnesses a gang fight and a murder. Several of Lopes' scenes are set to her verse from "I'm Good at Being Bad", another track on FanMail, instead of "Unpretty". Lopes also appears in the "Unpretty" performance shots reciting the song lyrics in sign language.

Other vignettes feature a full-figured teenager (played by actress Tamika Katon-Donegal)[1] worried about fitting the "ideal" image of the petite supermodel and struggling with a bulimia as a result. Near the end of the video, however, she tears down the unrealistic images of models that she has tacked on her wall and changes into a bathing suit, a sign that she may be starting to embrace her own natural body shape. One last set of vignettes features Watkins as a high school student who is harassed by two white kids because she is black (which is based on what she dealt with in high school).

The group's official YouTube channel contains a shortened version of the video, released to all-ages audience (as "Children's Version"[2]), that removes both Watkins and Lopes' solo storylines, and some of the scenes considered as too explicit.

Impact[edit]

"Unpretty" was later covered by La Musique Populaire for their 2004 boxed set A Century of Song. In 2011, the song was covered by the hit television series Glee featuring Dianna Agron and Lea Michele (as Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry, respectively) in a mashup with the song "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story in the episode "Born This Way".

In 2005, a cover version appears in video game Donkey Konga 2 for the Nintendo Gamecube despite the fact group members T-Boz and Chilli are gamers, all the licensed tracks are covers including Unpretty.

Track lisitings[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.sag.org/iactor/tamikakaton-donegal.pdf
  2. ^ http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=289882
  3. ^ "Australian-charts.com – TLC – Unpretty". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  4. ^ "Austriancharts.at – TLC – Unpretty" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – TLC – Unpretty" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – TLC – Unpretty" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  7. ^ "TLC: Unpretty" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  8. ^ "Lescharts.com – TLC – Unpretty" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  9. ^ "Musicline.de – TLC Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – TLC search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  11. ^ "Charts.org.nz – TLC – Unpretty". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  12. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – TLC – Unpretty". VG-lista. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  13. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – TLC – Unpretty". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  14. ^ "Swisscharts.com – TLC – Unpretty". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  15. ^ "TLC: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  16. ^ "TLC Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for TLC. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  17. ^ "TLC Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for TLC. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  18. ^ "TLC Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for TLC. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  19. ^ http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-100-singles-1999.htm
  20. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  21. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  22. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  23. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – TLC – Unpretty". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  25. ^ "British single certifications – TLC – Unpretty". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 5, 2015.  Enter Unpretty in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  26. ^ "American single certifications – TLC – Unpretty". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 5, 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  27. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1999". Billboard (BPI Communications Inc.) 112 (4): 63. January 22, 2000. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Bailamos" by Enrique Iglesias
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
September 18, 1999 – October 2, 1999
Succeeded by
"Heartbreaker" by Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z