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Single by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
from the album Loose
B-side "Undercover"
Released April 25, 2006 (2006-04-25)
Format CD, digital download
Recorded Miami, Florida; 2005
Genre Dance-pop, R&B, hip hop
Length 4:02 (Album Version)
3:41 (Radio edit)
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Nelly Furtado, Timothy Clayton, Nate Hills, Tim Mosley
Producer(s) Timbaland, Danja
Nelly Furtado singles chronology
"No Hay Igual"
"No Hay Igual"
Timbaland singles chronology
"Are You Feelin' Me?"
(2002) Are You Feelin' Me?2002
(2006) Promiscuous2006
(2006) SexyBack2006
Audio sample
  • [[:File:|file]]
  • help

"Promiscuous" is a dance-pop/R&B song recorded by singer Nelly Furtado and Timbaland for Furtado's third album, Loose (2006). Furtado, Timothy "Attitude" Clayton, Timbaland and Danja wrote the song, and Timbaland and Danja produced it. The song lyrics feature a conversation between a man and woman who call each other a "promiscuous" boy or girl. "Promiscuous" was released as the first single from Loose in North America in early 2006, and as the second single elsewhere in mid-2006 except in Latin America, where the single was released as the third single in late 2006. The song received positive reviews and became Furtado's first number-one single in United States. It won in the Best Pop Song category at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, was nominated for the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Grammy Award at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards and won Single of the Year at the 2007 Juno Awards. The song charted at number three on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2006.

Background and writing[edit]

The lyrics of "Promiscuous" describe the two sides of the relationship that the song's protagonist deals with. It was one of the first songs Furtado wrote with labelmate Timothy "Attitude" Clayton. Furtado called their teamwork something she "had never done before" because she saw the writing process as "extremely freeing" because of his different approach and style. Clayton helped Furtado experiment with interpreting the "promiscuous girl" character and the two-sided relationship she is in.[1] Furtado also described that in the process of writing lyrics "we were actually flirting, which is why the song is so playful" and that she and Clayton nicknamed the song 'The BlackBerry Song', because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody".[2] Because of the preponderant musical influence of artists such as Talking Heads, Blondie, Madonna, The Police and Eurythmics, whom producers Timbaland and Danja listened to during the writing of the album, "Promiscuous" takes inspiration from pop music of the 1980s.[1] The sexuality was based on the "strong women in control" of the 1990s, such as Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, Salt-n-Pepa and TLC.[3] A reference to basketball player Steve Nash in the song's lyrics led to speculation that he and Furtado were romantically involved, but both deny the link, with Nash commenting, "I'm flattered that she put me in her song, but I'm completely in love with my wife and two little baby girls".[4] Furtado decided to include him because she and Nash are both from Victoria, British Columbia, and due to frequent citations of basketballers in songs, she decided to "give him the props".[3] In one of the verses Timbaland introduces himself as Thomas Crown. The Thomas Crown Affair is a film about wealthy businessman who plays a cat-and-mouse/flirting game with an insurance investigator. Timbaland only performed the song live on special occasions, such as Furtado's appearance on Saturday Night Live,[5] and the 2006 MuchMusic Video Awards.[6] Starting with Furtado's show at the 94th Grey Cup on November 19, 2006,[7] and extending into the Get Loose Tour, Timbaland's part is filled in by Canadian rapper Saukrates.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

"Promiscuous" was well received by music critics. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone considered it a highlight in Loose. Timbaland's appearance received particular praise, which added Furtado's "high-school musical vocals" over his eighty beats according to Sheffield.[9] Allmusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine compared it to "vintage Prince", citing "Promiscuous" as a highlight of Furtado's makeover. However, Erlewine believed that no matter how much Furtado sings about sex, she does not sound sexy and does not "generate much carnal heat."[10] IGN review considered the song "simultaneously annoying and yet catchy beyond belief" and listed as one of Loose's "Definitely Downloads",[11] Pitchfork Media called it "one of the best vocal performances of his [Timbaland's] career",[12] and Billboard called the duo of Furtado and Timbaland "a surprisingly good match".[13] The song was also included in three lists of best songs of 2006: fourth on Blender,[2] sixth at The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop,[14] and 56th on Rolling Stone.[15]

Chart performance[edit]

Furtado performing at Manchester Arena in 2007.

In United States, "Promiscuous" debuted at number sixty-four on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of May 20, 2006.[16] On July 8 it topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first number-one single.[17][18] It spent six weeks at the top spot[19] and was replaced by Fergie's "London Bridge".[20] It reached the top position on Billboard Pop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play chart.[21][22] "Promiscuous" reached number twenty-two on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number thirty-six on Hot Latin Songs chart.[23][24] The song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the shipment of 1,000,000 copies.[25] It also made number three on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart and number forty-four on the decade-end chart.[26][27] As of August, 2009, the song has so far sold over 2,504,000 digital downloads in the United States.[28] In Canada, "Promiscuous" was charted on the Canadian Digital Singles Chart, where it peaked at number one.[29]

Outside North America, "Promicuous" performed well. The song debuted at number five on the Australian ARIA Charts and peaked at number two in its third week.[30] It was her first top five hit since "I'm like a Bird" (2000) and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for the shipment of 70,000 copies.[31][32] "Promiscuous" debuted at number thirty-three on the New Zealand Top 40 on July 10, 2006.[30] It topped the chart in its third week and became her second number-one single after "Turn Off the Light" (2001).[30][33] It remained the top spot for five weeks and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).[30][34]

In Europe, "Promiscuous" became a commercial success, peaking at number five on European Hot 100 Singles.[35] The song debuted at number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number three the following week.[36] It spent a total of fourteen weeks on the chart.[36] On December 31, 2006 BBC Radio 1 reported that "Promiscuous" was the thirty-eighth highest selling single in the UK in 2006.[37] The single re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number sixty-six in January 2007 due to the The Official UK Charts Company's new rules.[38][39] It performed moderatly in others European countries, less than the next singles, it tooped the chart in Denmark[40] and was within the top five in Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Norway and Slovakia.[30][41][42][43] It missed to reach the top ten in Austria, France and Sweden.[30]

Awards and accolades[edit]

On December 4, 2006, "Promiscuous" won "Best Pop Single of the Year" at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, beating Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" and Sean Paul's "Temperature".[44] The song was nominated for the "Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards, losing to Tony Bennett & Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life".[45]

Music video[edit]

In Canada, the song's music video debuted on MuchMusic's MuchOnDemand after an interview with Furtado on May 8, 2006.[46] The song's music video was directed by Little X and features cameo appearances by Keri Hilson, Bria Myles and Justin Timberlake. It does not follow a storyline and per Furtado's request, focuses on scenes with dancing and flirting because she wanted to recreate the song's indicative vibe, and took the opportunity to film a club video for the first time. Furtado said of the video, "It's that whole dance that goes on. There's that mystery there, the fun, playful sexiness, the verbal Ping-Pong game".[47] Furtado and Timbaland cannot decide whether they want to begin dating or instead flirt with others on the dance floor. Their single performances are intercut with several scenes of a dancing crowd, and the lighting changes between blue, green, red, and yellow colors. "Promiscuous" premiered on MTV's Total Request Live on May 3, 2006, where it reached number one after spending twenty-one days on the countdown.[48] After its debut on MuchMusic's Countdown, it ascended to number one for the week of July 28, 2006. At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, it was nominated for the Best Dance, Female and Pop Video Awards.[49] The video was parodied by MADtv in a segment entitled "Syphilis Girl"; in the video, Furtado (Nicole Parker) is comically portrayed as having given Timbaland (Jordan Peele) the sexually transmitted disease,[50] as well as on YouTube by the comedic group Train of Thought Sketch Comedy, where the video is parodied by troupe member Kaci and features a puppet version of Timbaland.[51]



Credits are adapted from the Loose liner notes.[56]

  • Nelly Furtado – lyrics, lead vocals, background vocals
  • Timbaland – lyrics, lead vocals, producer, drums, keyboards
  • Danja – producer, drums, keyboards
  • Demacio Castellon – audio mixing
  • Marcella Araica – audio mixing
  • Jim Beanz – background vocals, vocal production
  • James Roach – engineer
  • Kobla Tetey – engineer
  • Tim "Attitude" Clayton – lyrics


Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
United States[69] April 25, 2006 Digital download
Australia[70] June 24, 2006
New Zealand[71]
Japan[72] June 27, 2006 CD single
United States[73] June 29, 2006
Canada[74] July 6, 2006
United Kingdom[53] July 24, 2006
Austria[75] August 11, 2006 Digital dowload
France[79] August 18, 2006 CD single
Ireland[81] August 28, 2006 Digital download
France[83] September 4, 2006
United Kingdom[54] September 11, 2006

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b . Universal Music Retrieved 2011-05-10.  Unknown parameter |titre= ignored (|title= suggested) (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External links[edit]