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Christina Aguilera @ Staples Center Live Back to Basics Tour

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Still Dirrty on Wikipedia
Back to Basics
Studio album by Christina Aguilera
ReleasedAugust 10, 2006 (2006-08-10)
RecordedJanuary 2005 – April 2006
Los Angeles, California
(Chalice Recording Studios, Record Plant)[1]
GenrePop, R&B, soul, jazz, blues
Length78:43
LabelRCA
ProducerChristina Aguilera, Ben Allen, Big Tank, Charles Martin Roane, DJ Premier, Kwame, Linda Perry, Rich Harrison, Mark Ronson, L Boogie, Tony Reyes, Q, Rob Lewis
Christina Aguilera chronology
Singles from Back to Basics
  1. "Ain't No Other Man"
    Released: June 6, 2006 (2006-06-06)
  2. "Hurt"
    Released: September 12, 2006 (2006-09-12)
  3. "Candyman"
    Released: February 20, 2007 (2007-02-20)
  4. "Slow Down Baby"
    Released: July 24, 2007 (2007-07-24)
  5. "Oh Mother"
    Released: November 23, 2007 (2007-11-23)

Back to Basics is the fifth studio album by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, released on August 10, 2006 by RCA Records. Looking to transition from the provocative image of her fourth album Stripped (2002), Aguilera wanted to make a "a throwback to the 20s, 30s, and 40s-style jazz, blues, and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist". As executive producer, she enlisted collaborators including DJ Premier, Rich Harrison, Kwamé, Mark Ronson, and Linda Perry.

Upon its release, Back to Basics received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who complimented its musical diversity from Aguilera's previous albums, while also criticizing its length. The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 346,000 copies. Consequentially, it became her second non-consecutive number one album after her debut release Christina Aguilera (1999) and the best-selling debut week of her career. It was later certified platinum for shipments of one million units by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and has sold over 1.7 million copies. Internationally, the album debuted with 615,000 units, and has since sold 4.5 million copies worldwide. It was later certified platinum in Europe and double platinum in Australia and Canada. The album received a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2007 Grammy Awards and won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for its lead single "Ain't No Other Man".

Five singles were released from the album, all of which achieved worldwide success. The lead single, "Ain't No Other Man" was the album's most successful single, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, became Aguilera's first top ten hit on the chart since "Beautiful" (2002). Two next singles, "Hurt" and "Candyman", both charted moderately in the United States, but they were commercial success elsewhere. Two last singles, "Slow Down Baby" and "Oh Mother", were released exclusively in Australia and Europe, respectively. To promote the album, Aguilera embarked on the Back to Basics Tour in November 2006 which ran for eighty shows into July 2007. It visited North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, received positive reviews and grossed a total of $90 million worldwide.

Background

"For the Stripped record it was a very real and honest place for me, but it was also a darker place. So I feel really lifted, things are lighter for me. I'm happier now than I've ever really been."

—MTV, Aguilera explaining the album's concept and artwork[2]

Following the success of her fourth album Stripped (2002), Aguilera began recording her follow-up in 2005.[3][4] She stated that the break would give her more to write and sing about, adding her desire to "evolve as an artist and a visionary."[5] At this time, she replaced her nickname "Xtina", which she adopted during the promotion for Stripped, with a new alter ego "Baby Jane" to create a separate image for Back to Basics.[6][7] In addition to longtime collaborator Linda Perry, Aguilera worked with hip hop producers DJ Premier, Rich Harrison, Kwamé, and Mark Ronson for the first time.[8] DJ Premier questioned if Aguilera was familiar with his work, though she had known of his jazz-influenced work with Gang Starr in the late 1980s and early 1990s; she wanted her album to draw inspiration from his song "Jazz Thing". Aguilera noted that their collaboration became his first time "venturing into the 'pop' world".[9] Aguilera stated the reason to chose DJ Premier as the main producer of the first disc was to "go someplace different that people haven't approached".[10] She presented CDs of artists including Al Green and Aretha Franklin to reference her desired style for the project.[11] By May 2006, Aguilera recorded enough material to supply a two-disc album; she initially planned to condense it to a single, more "affordable" disc, but expanded the album to include two.[5]

Producer Scott Storch, who had collaborated with Aguilera for Stripped, was asked to return for Back to Basics. However, he refused the offer when Aguilera declined to pay airfare for him and his entourage to fly out to Los Angeles, amongst other demands, which led to a breakdown of their relationship.[12] Subsequently, Aguilera included the song "F.U.S.S." ("F*** You Scott Storch"),[13] which Storch commented was "pathetic".[14] For the album's artwork, Aguilera drew inspiration from the images of 1920s, '30s, and '40s stars Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Carole Lombard, Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, and Veronica Lake. The photography was shot by German photographer Ellen von Unwerth at the Hollywood Dell. The cover depicts Aguilera in a white dress, lounging in a bed; the booklet included images inspired by 1920s burlesque club.[2]

Composition

Aguilera took inspiration for the production of Back to Basics from Billie Holiday, 90's R&B, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald.[15] Aguilera was exposed to soul, jazz and blues records when she was a child, as her mother used to bring her to look for vintage records.[16] When writing music for Back to Basics, Aguilera drew inspiration from real-life events she had experienced, including her relationship with her then-husband Jordan Bratman.[17]

The first disc incorporates elements of '20s, '30s, and '40s blues and jazz. Most of its songs employ record sampling, with the exceptions of "Without You", "F.U.S.S.", and "Still Dirrty". Its opening track "Makes Me Wanna Pray" features adult-contemporary musician Steve Winwood.[18] The following track "Back in the Day" recognizes jazz artists including Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, and Billie Holiday as "ground breakers", which she adds she was inspired by as early as her childhood.[19] "Ain't No Other Man" discusses a woman who finds a man she sees as her perfect match.[20] Similarly, "Understand" details the happiness she receives in her relationship after painful romantic experiences beforehand.[21] Conversely, "Slow Down Baby" sees a married woman asking another man to leave her alone.[22] "Oh Mother" recalls the household abuse in Aguilera's childhood and her mother's bravery in the situation; Aguilera commented that she felt a "responsibility" to share her experiences for others in a similar scenario to relate to.[23]

Aguilera co-wrote the interlude "F.U.S.S." after her falling out with producer Scott Storch;[13] it lists songs that the two wrote together for her second album Stripped, including "Loving Me 4 Me", "Walk Away", "Can't Hold Us Down", "Infatuation", "Fighter", and "Underappreciated".[24] The subsequent song "On Our Way" addresses a couple who have often found themselves in conflicts, but work to grow from their past mistakes.[25] In "Without You", Aguilera explains that she could not see herself living without her "better half".[26] Aguilera collaborated with Nas for the track "Still Dirrty", which was noted as a sequel to the controversial single "Dirrty" from Stripped. It differs from its predecessor by incorporating jazz styles and instrumentation from horns.[27] The penultimate recording "Here to Stay" finds Aguilera responding to her critics, singing that she will continue to keep "doing thing" regardless of the "pressures that face ";[28] it was featured in a Pepsi earlier in the year.[29] The disc concludes with "Thank You", which uses samples of Aguilera past hits "Genie in a Bottle" and "Can't Hold Us Down" and messages from her fans.[30]

The second disc revolves around a 1920s circus-inspired theme. It consists of all live records (with the exception of "Candyman"), and was mainly written by Aguilera and longtime collaborator Linda Perry.[8][5][17] The disc begins with the introductions "Enter the Circus" and "Welcome"; the former features a ringmaster welcoming an audience to a circus,[31] while the latter sees Aguilera singing and continuing to welcome the crowd.[32] "Candyman" samples the melody of The Andrews Sisters' 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy".[33] "Nasty Naughty Boy" details a woman offering a man sexual relations,[34] while "I Got Trouble" opines that her promiscuous tendencies create problems when dealing with others.[35] "Hurt" describes how someone deals with the loss of a loved one.[36] "Mercy on Me" incorporates a similar message, asking God for forgiveness after "leaving fragments of a man so broken".[37] "Save Me From Myself" thanks a man for strengthening her confidence and self-esteem,[38] while the final track "The Right Man" expresses comfort in knowing that Aguilera chose the right man to become her husband.[39]

Critical reception

On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Back to Basics received an average score of 69, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 17 reviews.[40] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic appreciated the album's production, commenting that the project was "all the more impressive" coming after the "near career suicide of Stripped".[41] Entertainment Weekly's Jody Rosen opined that Aguilera "can make her own glorious kind of 21st-century noise", compared some tracks to the ones by several artists including Mariah Carey.[42] Mike Joseph of PopMatters felt that Aguilera "still shouts at times when a coo will do", but felt that her choice in collaborators made for an "ultimately rewarding listen".[44] Sputnikmusic's Amanda Murray noted Back to Basics as another "transitional" and "innovative" record for Aguilera.[44] Lucy Davies from BBC Music said that Aguilera has a "stunning voice", but stated that she could be more varied by cutting out some of the "y-e-e-eeeh, woah yeh's" on the second album.[51]

Thomas Innskeep from Stylus Magazine preferred the first disc of the album over the "ridiculously overblown ballads" on the second disc, adding that Back to Basics was "one of 2006’s best when Linda Perry’s fingerprints aren’t present".[49] Similarly, Yahoo! Music's Dan Gennoe described the first disc as a "low-down and dirty masterpiece", but said the second disc found Aguilera "crashing straight back down again".[50] Paul Flynn from The Observer provided a mixed review, saying that the beginning of the album was "all craft and very little heart"; however, he found the collaborations between her and Perry to be "deeply cinematic".[43] Rolling Stone's Jenny Eliscu opined that the release was "overindulgent and self-important", but would have been "masterful" had it been condensed into a single disc.[46] Kelefa Sanneh from The New York Times gave a mixed review, stating that it "contains a roughly even number of great songs and lousy ones", and sait that "her homages to World War II-era pop music resemble skits more than songs".[52] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine criticized Aguilera for using a sexual image to overshadow her vocals, but commented that Back to Basics was more "cohesive" than Stripped.[47] Robert Christgau provided a negative review, classifying the album as a "dud" ((dud)).[45]

The album received a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2007 Grammy Awards and won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Ain't No Other Man".[53] The following year, "Candyman" was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[54] In 2006, Back to Basics was named the Best Pop Album of the Year by iTunes.[55] In June 2008, Entertainment Weekly listed the album at number 80 of the 100 best albums of the last twenty-five years.[56]

Commercial performance

Upon its release, Back to Basics reached number one in over fifteen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.[57] With 346,000 in first-week sales,[58] the album debuted atop the US Billboard 200. It remained on the chart for forty-four weeks, falling off after a final position of number 164. The album placed at numbers 59 and 73 on the Billboard 200 Year-End charts in 2006 and 2007, respectively.[59][60] Additionally, Back to Basics debuted at number two on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album, spending forty-six weeks on the chart.[61] The album went on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million copies. With sales of 24,000, Back to Basics also debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart.[62] It attained a triple platinum certification there, reaching 300,000 sales.[63]

Back to Basics achieved similar success in Europe, peaking at number one on the European Top 100 Albums chart.[64] In the United Kingdom, it became Aguilera's first album to debut atop the UK Albums Chart.[65] It charted for thirty-three weeks in the top seventy-five,[66] and was eventually certified platinum in the country.[67] The album placed at numbers 56 and 127 on the UK Albums Chart's year-end list for 2006 and 2007, respectively.[65][68] It debuted at number five on the Greek Albums Chart and charted for seven weeks in total.[69] In Finland, Back to Basics charted for eighteen weeks on the country's official albums chart, peaking at number six.[70] It debuted at number ten on the French Albums Chart, where it spent fifty-two weeks. The album proved be less successful on the Portuguese Albums Chart, where it peaked at number 26 and charted for two weeks.[70]

The album achieved success in major markets in Oceania. It debuted at number one on the Australian Albums Chart and charted for forty weeks, while debuting at number two on the New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart and charting for twenty-seven.[70] The album reached numbers 45 and 34 on Australia's year-end charts in 2006 and 2007, respectively;[71][72] while charting at 43 in New Zealand in 2007.[73] Back to Basics went on the reach double platinum certification in the former and platinum in the latter. Japan became the only Asian market where Back to Basics, where it debuted at number seven on the Japanese Oricon Main Albums Chart with first-week sales of 32,241 units.[74] It was later certified gold in the country for shipments of 100,000 copies.[75]

With 4.5 million copies sold worldwide as of 2010,[76] Back to Basics is the third best-selling album by Aguilera, behind Stripped's 12 million copies and Christina Aguilera's 17 million copies.[12]

Singles

"Ain't No Other Man" was released as the lead single from Back to Basics on June 6, 2006.[77] Having released her latest studio album for years prior, the single was recognized as the beginning of Aguilera's comeback.[5] The song was met with general acclaim from music critics, who appreciated its fun nature.[78] It peaked at numbers 2 and 6 on the UK Singles Chart[65] and the US Billboard Hot 100,[61] and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling more than one million copies.[79] The song won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 49th Grammy Awards.[53] Its accompanying music video debuted on June 21, 2006, through Total Request Live.[17] It was heavily inspired by the clubs and fashion of the 1920s and begins with a sample of "I Got Trouble", another song included on Back to Basics. Through the clip, Aguilera portrays her alter ego "Baby Jane".[80]

The second single "Hurt" was released on September 12, 2006.[77] The song was described by Jody Rosen of Entertainment Weekly as being a "melodrama that would make Barbra Streisand shudder; fewer still could make it so compelling".[42] The single was a moderate hit in the US, peaking at number 19 on the Hot 100 and later being certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies.[61][81] Elsewhere, it was a commercial success, peaking within the top ten in several European countries, including Austria and France.[82] Its music video was premiered on October 17, and incorporates the theme of a 1940s-style circus.[83] "Candyman" was released as the third single on February 20, 2007.[77] Its lyrical content was criticized by Amanda Murray of Sputnikmusic, but was also complimented as an enjoyable song.[48] Similar to "Hurt", "Candyman" was also a moderate hit in the US, peaking at number 25 and later being certified gold.[61][84] Internationally, the single was a commercial success, reaching the top twenty in countries including Australia and New Zealand.[85] It was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 50th Grammy Awards.[86] Its music video debuted on February 22, and sees inspiration from the style of earlier Technicolor films.[87]

After Aguilera became pregnant with her first child, "Slow Down Baby" was given a limited release as the fourth single on July 30 in Australia; it peaked at number 21 in the country.[88] Alternatively, "Oh Mother" was released as the fourth single in select regions in Europe; it peaked at numbers 23, 54, and 79 in Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, respectively.[89] Both songs did not receive an accompanying music video, and failed to attain sales certifications in the territories in which they were released.

Promotion

Aguilera began promoting Back to Basics on June 8 with a performance of "Ain't No Other Man" at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards.[90] The following month, she traveled to London and appeared on 1 Leicester Square with actor Russell Brand.[91] In August, Aguilera held an album release party at Marquee in New York City;[92] MTV also aired a television special which featured her discussing the project and performing several of its songs.[93] Aguilera performed "Hurt" at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards on August 31.[94] In September, she performed "Candyman" and "Bennie and the Jets" for the Fashion Rocks charity event, the latter being a duet with Elton John.[95] On November 15, Aguilera sang seven songs at "Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo! Music", a bi-monthly show which featured performances in front of a live studio audience.[96] Also that month, she performed "Hurt" at Saturday Night Live,[97] the "NBC Christmas Thanksgiving Special",[98] and the German television series Wetten, dass..?.[99] On February 10, 2007, Aguilera sang "Makes Me Wanna Pray" and "Candyman" at the "Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Awards Party".[100] She performed "Candyman" on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve 2007[101] and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[102]

Touring

Main article: Back to Basics Tour

During 2006 and 2007, Aguilera visited Asia, Europe, and Oceania during her Back to Basics Tour.[103] It was promoted by the mobile phone network Orange and Sony Ericsson.[104] The eighty-show tour received positive reviews from critics, who complimented it as the strongest of her career.[105] Grossing over $90 million worldwide,[106] it became the ninth highest-grossing tour of the decade for a female performer.[107] In February 2008, the Back to Basics: Live and Down Under DVD was released.[108]

Track listing

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Back to Basics.[8]

Notes
  • ^signifies an additional producer
  • ^signifies a co-producer
  • ^signifies a vocal producer
Sampling credits
  • "Intro (Back to Basics)" contains a sample of "The Thrill is Gone (Live)", as performed by B.B. King, The Crusaders and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • "Makes Me Wanna Pray" contains a sample from "Glad", as performed by Traffic.
  • "Back in the Day" contains samples from "Charlie", as performed by Don Costa Orchestra, and "Troglodyte", as performed by The Jimmy Castor Bunch. It also includes an uncredited sample of "Close (to the Edit) by Art of Noise.
  • "Ain't No Other Man" contains samples from "Happy Skippy Moon Strut", as performed by Moon People, and "The Cissy's Thang", as performed by The Soul Seven.
  • "Understand" contains a sample from "Nearer to You", as performed by Betty Harris.
  • "Slow Down Baby" contains samples from "Window Raisin' Granny", as performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips and "So Seductive", as performed by Tony Yayo.
  • "Oh Mother" contains a sample from "Vois Sur Ton Chemin", written by Bruno Coluais and Christopher Barratier.
  • "On Our Way" contains a sample from "Sentimentale", as performed by Claude Bolling.
  • "Here to Stay" contains a sample from "The Best Thing You Ever Had", as performed by Candi Staton.
  • "Thank You (Dedication to Fans...)" contains samples from "Can't Hold Us Down" and "Genie in a Bottle", as performed by Aguilera, and "Think Big", as performed by Pudgie the Fat Bastard featuring The Notorious B.I.G. The track also features fan club recordings by Shane Burrows, Jessica Cavanaugh, She-Tara Franklin, Michael Holmin, Warren Keller, Antoinette Litte, Gustavo Medina, Sarah Anne Moore, Joshua Pospisil, Cory Steale, Durant Searcy, Samantha Silver, Tammy Simpson and Shanna Nicole Wiles.
  • "Candyman" contains a sample from "Tarzan & Jane Swingin' on a Vine" from Run To Cadence With U.S. Marines.

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Allmusic.[109]

  • Vocals – Christina Aguilera
  • Vocal Scratches on Back in the Day – Tracie Burton, Kara DioGuardi, DJ Premier.
  • Choir: Christina Aguilera
  • Keyboards – Tony Reyes & Mark Ronson.
  • Bass – Paul Ill, Rob Lewis, Linda Perry, Tony Reyes, Mark Ronson.
  • Double Bass – Francis Senger & Jason Torreano.
  • Guitar – Bill Bottrell, Rob Lewis, Linda Perry, Mark Ronson, & Eric Schermerhorn.
  • Executive Producer: Christina Aguilera.
  • Management Of Production Of Sound: DJ Premier, Kwamé, Linda Perry, Rich Harrison, Mark Ronson, Big Tank & Q.
  • Additional Micro-Management: Christina Aguilera .
  • Vocal Producer: Rob Lewis.
  • Mastering: Brian Gardner.
  • Engineers: Tal Herzberg, Linda Perry, Oscar Ramirez, Charles Martin Roane, Mark Ronson & DJ Premier, Jordan,
  • Assistant Engineer : Kristofer Kaufman, Alan Mason & Chris Wonzer.
  • A&R: Ron Fair.
  • Photography: Ellen von Unwerth
  • Art Direction & Design: Linda Perry

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