Candyman is a song by American recording artist Christina Aguilera. It was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry for Aguileras fifth studio album, Back to Basics. RCA Records released it as the albums third single in early 2007. The song got a positive response from critics, who praised the uptempo beat.
Candyman had moderate success throughout the charts, peaking at top 20 in most countries. In the US it reached number 25, has been certified Gold and sold over 1 million digital copies. The song was highly successful in Australia and New Zealand, peaking at number 2 in both countries.
It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at 2008 Grammy Awards. The music video was directed by Matthew Rolston and Aguilera herself, and is based on a 1940s World War II theme. The music video received a MTV Video Music Awards nomination for Best Direction at 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.
Background and composition
Aguileras fifth studio album, Back to Basics, is made up of two discs. Aguilera worked with more beat-driven producers on the first disc, such as DJ Premier and Mark Ronson, who included samples in the production. The second disc consists solely of collaborations with producer Linda Perry. Aguilera sent letters to different producers that she hoped could help her with the direction she was taking for the project, encouraging them to experiment, re-invent and create a modern soul feel. She described the first disc as kind of a throwback with elements of jazz, blues and soul music combined with a modern-day twist, like hard-hitting beats.
Originally Candyman was planned as the second single and even was confirmed by Aguilera during several different interviews. However, RCA felt that, with the holiday season coming up, it would be safer to release Hurt, as it would become a big holiday power ballad, comparable to how Aguileras Beautiful performed commercially back in late 2002, instead it was released as the albums third single.
Perry and Aguilera have said that the song consists of new lyrics to a melody that borrows from The Andrews Sisters 1941 hit Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Critics are usually complimentary towards Aguilera for her authentic replication of the old style. The song includes the military cadence Tarzan & Jane Swingin on a Vine, sampled from the album Run to Cadence with the United States Marines, Volume 2. The long belted note at the end of the track is a high E5. Aguilera holds the note in full-belt for approximately 8 seconds.
The music video for the single Candyman was filmed on January 28, 2007. It was directed by Matthew Rolston and co-directed by Aguilera. It is based on a 1940s World War II theme, and Aguilera rented an airport hangar in Southern California to film it. In the music video, she dances and sings in three different hair colors - red, blonde and brown, as if she were in a singing trio, a tribute to the Andrews Sisters. In another scene, she appears as the famous biceps-flexing factory worker from Westinghouses We Can Do It! poster. Finally, she appears in scenes inspired by pin-up girls Judy Garland, Betty Grable, and Rita Hayworth. The video also features product placement for Campari. Benji Schwimmer, 2006 winner of So You Think You Can Dance, makes a cameo appearance as Aguileras GI dance partner. Benjis sister Lacey Schwimmer also appears in the video as a jitterbugger. Aguilera asked Rolston to co-direct the video with her after he worked with her for a photo shoot for the cover of Rolling Stone. Shooting the sequences of Aguilera as a singing trio took the longest since they had to be shot for each hair color and camera angle, which was computer controlled for precision. The choreography was carefully arranged so that none of the versions overlapped and the takes could be spliced together. The color scheme is based on Technicolor films, focusing on primary colors and bright secondary colors.
On February 22, 2007, MTV gave the World Premiere of Candyman live on TRL and later on MTVs Making The Video. The video debuted at number six on TRL and reached the top of the countdown four times. The video has since gone on to retire at number three, making it Aguileras ninth video to retire. Candyman has garnered Aguilera a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Director with co-director Mathew Rolston at the 2007 VMAs.
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