Dirrty

Dirrty

"Dirrty" is a song performed by American singer Christina Aguilera featuring rapper Reggie "Redman" Noble. The song was written by Aguilera and Redman along with Jasper Cameron, Balewa Muhammad, and Rockwilder for Aguilera's second studio album Stripped (2002). It received mixed reviews from music critics.

"Dirrty" was released in September 2002 as the album's lead single (see 2002 in music). It was unsuccessful in the U.S., only reaching number forty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It was more successful outside the U.S. and topped the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart. At the 45th Grammy Awards, "Dirrty" was nominated for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals".

The song is best remembered for its accompanying music video, for which Aguilera was allowed creative control. The video brought her sexuality to the forefront and depicted various sexual fetishes, from mud wrestling to sthenolagnia. It eliminated the teenybopper, "girl next door" image that she had accumulated from her previous work.

Background and writing

Aguilera had worked with hip hop producer Rockwilder during the recording of "Lady Marmalade" (2001). Late in the making of Stripped, Aguilera approached him again, wanting him to help produce a "down and dirty" song to announce her comeback and new public image. Aguilera suggested using Redman's "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in da Club)" (2001) as a guide, and the resulting "Dirrty" was a remake of its precursor.

"Dirrty" is a hip pop song composed in the key of G minor. The lines in the chorus and Redman's rap are emphasized by a pair of B♭ octave dyads. The song's lyrics detail sexual activities such as table dancing. Aguilera decided to use a misspelling for the title as a way to personalize the song, also considering "Dirtee" or "Dirrdy". She decided on "Dirrty" as a reflection of the music video, commenting, "I felt like having two r's, kind of like grrr…Gritty…underground, illegal stuff going on.

Critical reception

"Dirrty" received mixed reviews from music critics. Allmusic referred to it as a "non-song" and found that Aguilera's vocal range in the song was too narrow. Entertainment Weekly gave it a D-, calling the singing "desperate and shrill", and found it an unsuccessful attempt to gain street cred. The Guardian, however, described it as "majestically filthy", and Slant Magazine referred to it as "the most instantly gratifying" song from Stripped. Stylus Magazine called it the best single of 2002, impressed by how "the bassline doesn't quite mesh with the song in a natural way" and the effective use of overdubbing.

Chart performance

Linda Perry, who had worked with Aguilera on "Beautiful", stated that she and Aguilera's management had recommended it as the lead single from Stripped but that Aguilera insisted on "Dirrty" instead. RCA Records, however, stated that it had agreed with Aguilera to release "Dirrty" to attract attention to Aguilera and the album. The single performed poorly in the United States, only peaking at number forty-eight. The song was somewhat more successful in mainstream markets, reaching number fourteen on the Top 40 Mainstream and number twenty-two on the Top 40 Tracks. It had some crossover success and peaked at number twenty on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart. "Dirrty" was nominated for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" at the 2003 Grammy Awards, but lost out to Santana's "The Game of Love" featuring Michelle Branch.

The track was much more successful in Europe. In the United Kingdom, the song reached the top of the chart for the week ending November 23 and remained there for two weeks. It was successful throughout Europe, reaching the top five in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland, and the top ten in Italy, Portugal, and Sweden.

The single had similar success elsewhere. It debuted on the Canadian Singles Chart at number seven, later peaking at number five, and remained within the top ten for three and a half months. It peaked at number four for three consecutive weeks on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, lasting eleven weeks on the chart. The single was listed at number thirty-six on the 2002 end of year chart, and at number twelve on the Urban Singles Chart. The Australian Recording Industry Association certified "Dirrty" platinum for shipping 70,000 copies.

Music video

The song's music video was directed by David LaChapelle. It depicts what was described as "a post-apocalyptic orgy". The video opens with Aguilera gearing up and riding a motorcycle into a nightclub. Wearing a bikini and 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 bikini top, 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. Christina also does a male masturbation motion in one scene.

The music video was successful on video chart programs. It debuted on MTV's Total Request Live October 2, 2002 at number six. It lasted forty-four days on the program, half of which were at the top of the countdown. At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, the video was nominated for Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, and Best Choreography. The video lasted eight weeks on MuchMusic's Countdown, peaking at number eleven.

The video generated some controversy and presented Aguilera's new public image, which lead to the video being edited on some stations. During the second verse, Christina says the line, "I need the...uhh/To get me off" while motioning male masturbation. In the edited version if the video, the lower half of the screen is cropped, so that below Christina's waist (and the motion) cannot be seen. Because of this edit, people started calling this version the "edited version," and calling the regular version the "uncut version." Leading people to think that the "uncut version" contained more risqué content than it did. When Perry first saw the video, she asked Aguilera, "Are you high? This is annoying. Why are you doing this? Two weeks after its premiere, the video had already been spoofed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer star 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. Aguilera later commented that it was disappointing and that she "could have made a funnier script out of it." Protests 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 RCA disallowed Thai television stations from playing the video.

Aguilera's new image was widely rejected by the public to the extent that it began to overshadow her music. Entertainment Weekly described it as "the world's skeeziest reptile woman", and The Village Voice captioned her as a xenomorph from the Alien series. Several of Aguilera's contemporaries, such as Shakira and Jessica Simpson, disapproved of her image, finding it "a step too far". Time magazine commented that "she appeared to have arrived on the set…direct from an intergalactic hooker convention", adding that "she earned that extra r." Aguilera, stating that she like "to play and experiment, to be as tame or as outlandish as [she] happened to feel", stood by the music video and her image in response to the criticism:

Formats and track listings

American 12" vinyl single

  1. "Dirrty" – 4:58
  2. "Dirrty" (no rap edit) – 4:01
  3. "Dirrty" (instrumental) – 3:58American/European CD maxi single
  4. "Dirrty" (no rap edit) – 4:01
  5. "I Will Be" – 4:12
  6. "Dirrty" – 5:58
  7. "Dirrty" (video) – 4:49American CD maxi single
  8. "Dirrty" – 5:00
  9. "Dirrty" (no rap edit) – 4:01
  10. "Dirrty" (short intro with rap) – 4:35

Credits and personnel

  • Lead vocals: Christina Aguilera, Redman
  • Producers: Rockwilder, Christina Aguilera
  • Recording engineers: Oscar Ramirez, Wassim Zreik
  • Mix engineer: Dave "Hard Drive" Pensado
  • Assistant mix engineer: Ethan Willoughby

Charts and certifications

Charts Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 4
Austrian Singles Chart 5
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 4
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 8
Brazilian Singles Chart 25
Canadian Singles Chart 5
Danish Singles Chart 4
Dutch Singles Chart 2
Finnish Singles Chart 20
French Singles Chart 98
German Singles Chart 4
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 8
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 20
Norwegian Singles Chart 3
Swedish Singles Chart 6
Swiss Singles Chart 3
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 48
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 14
Country Certification Sales/Shipments
Australia Platinum 70,000
Netherlands Gold 40,000
Norway Platinum 10,000
Sweden Platinum 20,000
Switzerland Gold 20,000
New Zealand Gold 7,500

References

External links

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