|Single by Christina Aguilera|
|from the album Back to Basics|
|Released||February 20, 2007|
|Christina Aguilera singles chronology|
"Candyman" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Christina Aguilera for her fifth studio album, Back to Basics (2006). The song was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry and produced by Perry. "Candyman" was planned to be released as the second single from the album, but RCA Records decided to release "Hurt" instead. Subsequently, the track was released on February 20, 2007 as the third single from Back to Basics. "Candyman" is a classic pop song with strong elements from jazz, blues, and swing which talks about sexual intercourse.
"Candyman" received mainly positive reviews from music critics, who praised the track's melody and deemed it one of the standout tracks on the second disc of Back to Basics while some criticized its sexual content. Commercially, the single attained moderate success on charts worldwide, peaking within the top 20 of record charts in countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, it peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
At the 2008 Grammy Awards, "Candyman" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. An accompanying music video for the song was co-directed by Matthew Rolston and Aguilera herself. The clip was received positively, receiving a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Direction at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Aguilera performed "Candyman" on her Back to Basics Tour and several TV shows including Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. The song was covered by a number of artists including by Alexandra Burke and the Glee cast.
"Candyman" was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry, with production handled by the latter. Perry also provided piano, mellotron, bass. Jim McMillen played the trombone, Ray Herrmann and Glen Berger supported saxophone. Chris Tedesco played trumpet. The drums were held by Nathan Wetherington. Perry was also credited as the director, and Marc Jameson was credited as the programmer. According to Aguilera and Perry, the song was inspired by the Andrews Sisters' 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". Originally, "Candyman" was planned to be released as the second single from Back to Basics in late 2006. During an interview with Seventeen in July 2006, Aguilera again stated that "Candyman" would be released as the follow-up single to "Ain't No Other Man". However, RCA Records decided to release "Hurt" instead; as a result, "Hurt" was released as the second single, and "Candyman" was released as the third. On February 20, 2007, the song was sent to contemporary hit radio stations in the United States. In Germany, the single was released for digital download on April 6, 2007. One day later, "Candyman" was released as a CD single in France and Germany. On April 9, the song was available as a CD in the United States. On April 10, a digital EP was released via iTunes Stores of Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden. On the same day, the digital download version of "Candyman" was released in France. It was also available as a maxi single there on September 1, 2007. In the United States, a remix EP was released digitally on May 1, 2007.
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"Candyman" was written by Aguilera and Linda Perry, with production by Perry. Perry and Aguilera revealed with MTV News that the song was a tribute to The Andrews Sisters' 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". The track is a classic pop song, with strong elements from blues, jazz and swing. According to the music sheet on Musicnotes.com published by Universal Music Publishing Group, "Candyman" was composed on the key of E major. The song is a midtempo song, with a moderate tempo of 86 beats per minute. Aguilera's vocals on the song span from the low-note of G3 to the high-note of G5. The song opens with the lyrics, "Tarzan and Jane were swingin' on a vine / Sippin' from a bottle of vodka double-wine", which was credited as a sample used from "Tarzan & Jane Swingin' on a Vine" from Run To Cadence With U.S. Marines. At the end of the song, the sample is heard again. Lyrically, "Candyman" talks about sexual intercourse. Jenny Eliscu for Rolling Stone called the song's lyrics "nasty", as Aguilera sang, "He's a one-stop shop / Makes the panties drop".
Upon its release, "Candyman" received mainly positive reviews from music critics; most of them praised its melody but criticized the song's sexual theme. Billboard called the single "raunchy", but praised Aguilera's vocals, saying that "few popular vocalists could pull off such a laudable feat". Sputnikmusic's Amanda Murray called the song's lyrics "dumb and cheekily vulgar" and "reminiscent of the Spice Girls' 'The Lady Is a Vamp'". However, Murray praised its "fun" tempo. Sean Daly from Tampa Bay Times was positive toward the track, complimenting on Aguilera's vocals and its "X-rated lyrics". Spence D. of IGN called it a "cool" "Bugle Boy From Company C rip-off", while Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Scott Mervis labelled it "the swingiest single since Brian Setzer jumped, jived and wailed" and Yahoo! Music critic Dan Gennoe called "Candyman" "a good-time 1940s big band romp".
AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine selected "Candyman" as one of the two standout tracks on the second disc of Back to Basics, alongside "Mercy on Me". Lucy Davis for BBC Music chose "Candyman" and "I Got Trouble" are two old-school tracks that "successfully turns the volume and intensity down from 11 to somewhere like 5". Jenny Eliscu from Rolling Stone praised the track for its "fun" and "naughtiness", but also called "Candyman" "a dead rip-off of the Andrews Sisters' 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy'". A reviewer from The Guardian was negative toward "Candyman", writing that "this awful creation is Aguilera in distorted Disney mode, and the jollier she sounds, the more terrifying it becomes". "Candyman" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Commercially, "Candyman" achieved moderate success on charts. In the United States, the single debuted at number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 20, 2007. It peaked at number 25 on the chart, becoming Aguilera's fourteenth top 40 single on the Hot 100. On the Pop Songs chart, the single peaked at number 23 and remained there for a total of seven weeks. "Candyman" also peaked at number 18 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and stayed there ten weeks. It has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping more than 500,000 copies in the United States. As of August 2014, "Candyman" had sold 1,153,000 copies in the United States alone, as reported by Nielsen SoundScan. In Canada, the single peaked at number nine on the Canadian Hot 100 and was certified gold.
In the United Kingdom, "Candyman" peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart and remained within the top 75 for 20 weeks. Throughout Europe, the single attained the top 25 of most countries, peaking at number 11 in Belgium (Flanders) and Switzerland; number 12 in Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands; number 13 in Belgium (Wallonia); number 14 in Austria; and number 24 in Sweden. On the European Hot 100 Singles, "Candyman" peaked at number 15 on the chart. In Denmark, the single achieved gold certification by IFPI Denmark. "Candyman" was a commercial hit in Oceania. The single peaked at number two in both Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, the song remained in the top ten for 15 weeks and earned platinum certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). In New Zealand, the single also achieved gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).
The accompanying music video for "Candyman" was filmed on January 28, 2007 in an airport hangar in Southern California. It was directed by Matthew Rolston and co-directed by Aguilera. The video is based on the 1940s World War II theme. In most of 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 Westinghouse's "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 the American dancing competition So You Think You Can Dance, makes a cameo appearance as Aguilera's GI dance partner. Benji's 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. Choreography was carefully arranged so that none of the versions overlapped and the takes could be spliced together. The clip's color scheme is based on Technicolor films, focusing on primary colors and bright secondary colors.
The music video for "Candyman" was received positively. Sal Cinquemani for Slant Magazine praised it as the best video from Back to Basics. John Montgomery for MTV News, commented on Aguilera's bad girl image, writing "though Aguilera's mostly going for glam here, she's also plenty bad, too, swinging her way into some servicemen's heart, coyly sipping on a milkshake and shaking it so hard your even your grandpa had to notice". The clip garnered Aguilera a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Direction with Mathew Rolston at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around".
Aguilera first performed "Candyman" during a concert held in front of 1,500 fans and invited guests in London on July 20, 2006. The 40-minute concert comprised songs from the then-upcoming Back to Basics and other songs, including "Lady Marmalade" (2001) and "Beautiful" (2002). MTV UK was positive toward the performance, writing, "The gig reflected the jazz club mood of Christina's new album, with a swinging brass-heavy backing band and fit dancers bounding sexily around the stage". On September 8, 2006, Aguilera performed "Candyman" at Fashion Rocks, wearing a white sailor suit with cap. The performance included by dancers and a photo montage of jazz standard artists that appeared on the screen behind the stage. On December 31, 2006, Aguilera performed "Candyman" again on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. "Candyman" was also performed during the halftime show of the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Aguilera later performed the song in a sailor-inspired suit during the worldwide Back to Basics Tour. The performance is included on the video release Back to Basics: Live and Down Under (2008). Aguilera performed "Candyman" again on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2013 in military-styled suits in efforts to honor the US troops.
During the third week of the live show round of the fifth season of British television singing contest The X Factor, singer Alexandra Burke covered "Candyman". In the "Pot o' Gold" season of the third season of American TV series, Glee, the song was covered by Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones), Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez) and Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce). The version was well received by critics, some of which deemed it as the best song of the episode. It peaked at number 158 on the UK Singles Chart. "Candyman" was also performed during the fifth week of the second season of Polish television show The X Factor by semifinalist Ewelina Lisowska.
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Back to Basics.
|United States||February 20, 2007||Mainstream radio||RCA Records|
|Germany||April 6, 2007||Digital download|
|France||April 7, 2007||CD single|
|United States||April 9, 2007|
|Belgium||April 10, 2007||Digital download EP|
|United States||May 1, 2007||Digital download remix EP|
|France||September 1, 2007||Maxi single|