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Not Myself Tonight

"Not Myself Tonight"
Released April 6, 2010 (2010-04-06)
Length 3:05
Label RCA
Producer Polow da Don
Christina Aguilera singles chronology

"Keeps Gettin' Better"
"Not Myself Tonight"

"Not Myself Tonight" is a song by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, taken from her sixth studio album, Bionic (2010). It was released on April 6, 2010 as the lead single from the album by RCA Records. The song was written by Jamal Jones, Ester Dean, Jason Perry, and Greg Curtis, while production was done by Jones under the alias Polow da Don. An electropop and dance-pop song, "Not Myself Tonight" features synthesizers and drums and talks about adopting a different persona on the dance floor.

"Not Myself Tonight" received mostly positive reviews from music critics, who complimented its club nature and Aguilera's vocals on the track. The song performed moderately on charts worldwide, peaking within the top 20 in countries including in Canada, Japan, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the single reached number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart. It was certified gold certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 35,000 copies there.

The accompanying music video featured an S&M theme, with Aguilera sporting different bondage-inspired looks. Paying tribute to Madonna's music videos for "Express Yourself", "Like a Prayer" and "Human Nature", the video received mixed reviews from critics, who complimented its aesthetic but called it unoriginal. Aguilera performed the song on a number of venues, notably at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards and on The Today Show.

Background and composition

"Not Myself Tonight"
A sample of "Not Myself Tonight", dubbed a "euro-glamorous" version of Aguilera's "Dirrty"-era.

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Aguilera revealed the title of her then upcoming fourth studio album, as well as the name of three new songs in the February 2010 issue of Marie Claire magazine. During the interview she also revealed that the first single was to be the Tricky Stewart-produced "Glam", describing it as a "hip-hop throwback to Madonna's 'Vogue'".[1]

On March 23, 2010, after a 24-hour countdown on her official website ended, it was revealed that a song called "Not Myself Tonight" would be released as the first single from the album.[2] The single's artwork was also published, showing Aguilera dressed as a devil and sporting a PVC bodysuit, suspenders and chains.[3][4] The lyrics of the song were released a day later and an 18-second excerpt of the piece was published on March 26.[5][6] The song was initially set to premier on Aguilera's website on March 30, and received its first full airing on her A.P.E. radio station earlier that day.[7][8] It officially premiered on US radio on April 5, 2010. The song was later released digitally in the United States and many other countries on April 13, 2010.[7] "Not Myself Tonight" is an electropop and dance-pop song. Vocal range, Aguilera sings its lowest note "D3", in medium "Bb4" on the second verse, and belts notes "D5" on the chorus, of which a long note "D5" in (2:00). She gives a shout of exclamation "E6"in the intro.

Critical reception

The song received positive reviews from critics, warming up to Aguilera's return to her sound and style of the "Dirrty" era. James Montgomery of MTV News praised the track and said it was "a whirring, whooshing thing, full of blaring synthesizers and spare snares speeding along over pounding, four-on-the-floor beat...the kind of track you'd expect to hear rattling the speakers at the massive, multi-level clubs of Europe".[9] Bill Lamb from gave the song a positive review: "Whomever might think that vocal prowess makes little difference in a mainstream pop song needs to listen once to Christina Aguilera's stellar new single "Not Myself Tonight." The electropop tune sounds like it could be a bit ordinary until the vocals really kick in about 45 seconds into the song. From that point on Christina Aguilera towers over much of the competition proving why she is frequently included in the shortest lists of today's top pop singers".[10] Vibe magazine was impressed with the song: "With a writing assist by Ester Dean and Polow Da Don on the boards, Christina sounds as if she's managed to coalesce all her personalities into a comfortably edgy, grown-ass woman ready to slap up Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry (she's "kissing all the boys and girls!") at the gay club. Frenetic with sparkling synths, blaring snares and glints of soul, Xtina's obviously found herself the right babysitter, because the fuck-me pumps are out and ready for wearing".[11] Anthony Ramos of Access Hollywood said "The tribal-beat infused track is her sexiest record we’ve heard since 2002’s “Dirrty" ... it is a high-octane anthem that is sure to get tons of requests at nightclubs all over. While she gets it going with a sultry whisper asking her fans, “Do you wanna get crazy? ‘Cause I don’t give a f**k".[12] Michael Menachem from Billboard gave the single a positive review: "Aguilera channels a more Euro-glamorous version of her former dirrty alter-ego Xtina on Tonight, dashing lyrics about self-reinvention with breathy chants and naughty expletives. [...] [The] dripping synths, pulsing basslines and tribal house drums [...] sound appealingly unfinished. Paired with Aguilera's unmatched vocal range, Tonight proves that the current dance-pop craze would be incomplete without her."[13] Whitney Pastorek of Entertainment Weekly was more critical of the song, claiming that it was "produced within an inch of its life" but adding that "there’s no mistaking that voice" and asking "when she sings “Tonight I’m not the same girl,” are you concerned she means, like, in terms of quality control?".[14]

Chart performance

During its first week on the radio "Not Myself Tonight" became the most added song on Mainstream Top 40 (886 plays in its first six days) and Rhythmic Radio stations in the United States.[15] It was released for digital download in the US on April 13, 2010, and sold 77,000 copies in its first week. It is Aguilera's third solo highest chart debut behind 2008's "Keeps Gettin' Better" debuting at number seven and 2006's "Ain't No Other Man" which opened at number 19.[16] After the physical release of the single, "Not Myself Tonight" debuted on the Australian singles chart on May 17, 2010 at number 22,[17] and number six in the physical singles chart.[18] In the UK, the song debuted at number 12 in the Singles Chart,[19] and at number ten in the Download Chart.[20] In South Korea, it sold 258,935 digital copies during 2010.[21] According to RCA, the song sold 368,000 copies in the US to date and over 1,500,000 copies worldwide.[22] It charted at number 3 on Japan Hot 100.

Music video

The music video for the song was filmed from April 7 to April 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, directed by Hype Williams. In a radio interview with Z100 Atlanta, Aguilera said: “I’m more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I think I’m even a more sexual Christina."[23] To celebrate the video premiere, her official site started to release photos from the video. Each day it featured a different look of Aguilera portrayed in the video.[24] The music video officially premiered on Vevo on April 30, 2010.[25] UK music channel 4Music then played the video for the first time on TV at 10:00 a.m. the following day.[26] In an interview with MTV News, Aguilera said that it was the first time she ever crossed paths with Williams. On working with Williams and the new looks she developed in the video, she stated,
"...someone with that much of a catalog under his belt and success as a video maker, he's like a legend. So again entering into the collaborating factor, I didn't know what to expect ... and he's probably thinking the same about me. And when we walked away from working with each other, it was just a love connection. I wanted to maintain and keep consistent with the look of the album packaging and book, and I really wanted to keep all that in line, and so he really paid attention, and I think it's really iconic and classic. We totally made magic together on a creative level, it was absolutely amazing. He really got in and listened to where my music was at."[27]

Aguilera also stated that some of the inspiration for the film came from her work in Burlesque, stating, "There is dancing, and I learned so much also as a dancer doing the 'Burlesque' film, moving my body in ways that were, I feel, never as precise before. Dancing always came sort of secondary to me. Vocals were my first love and where my heart really was. I never was as passionate about dancing, per se, but after 'Burlesque,' I really fell in love and I adapted that in the dancing for 'Not Myself Tonight,' but it was really, really fun to take what I learned from the movie."[28] She also commented, "A lot of that [video] was based on my visual inspiration," she explained. "I took Hype into my salon area in my home ... it's like my creative den. He took the ideas and then took other ideas and related to the ideas, and it just was really iconic imagery."[28] The video itself features a strong sexual theme with scenes of S&M and bondage, as well as scenes in a church and several prestigious-looking buildings. Aguilera wore several hairstyles and outfits, including many which were dominatrix-style.[29]

Influences and concept

According to Aguilera, the music video of "Not Myself Tonight" is a tribute to the pop star Madonna, citing her music videos as its major influence, most notably "Express Yourself" (1989).[30][31] She said "One of my favourite videos ever is 'Express Yourself' by Madonna which came across as really strong and empowering which I always try to incorporate through my expression of sexuality [...] I love the direct reference I made to Madonna with the eye glass moment and the smoke and stairs. I was paying tribute to a very strong woman who has paved the way before."[30] James Montgomery from MTV News noted "Truthfully, there are several Madonna videos referenced in "Not Myself Tonight," but especially this iconic 1989 clip helmed by David Fincher [Express Yourself]. More than anything, it appears to be the primary influence on Aguilera's clip, from the monocle Xtina [Aguilera] wears to the Fritz Lang-ian sets."[32] He also said that the S&M features in the video were reminiscent of her video for "Human Nature", commenting, "The influence on "Tonight" is pretty evident, most notably in Christina's leather get-ups, her dominatrix attitude and the sultry chair-related activities she engages in throughout."[32]

Aguilera goes back and forth between several hairstyles in the video, which have been compared to styles of Bettie Page, Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani. She also appears in a similar style as in her video for "Lady Marmalade".[32] Aguilera also recalls her "Dirrty" video, in which she rides on the front and back of a sweaty shirtless man.[33] Gil Kaufman of MTV News ran through the video, naming, "riding crops, a handful of F-bombs, sexy, see-through skimpy raincoats, shirtless dancing in the rain and a throwdown in a church that ends with a writhing group grope." Kaufman also commented, "Most of the clip, in fact, unfolds as a virtual video catalog for fetishwear, including black leather undies, a chainmail bikini top and a bedazzled outfit that consists of little more than strategically placed silver chains and pasties connected to wrist and ankle manacles."[33]


As with the song itself, several critics praised the video for its return to Aguilera's Stripped era, however some disliked the video's unoriginality and dirty vibe. James Montgomery of MTV News called the video "jaw-dropping" with Aguilera "the pop star getting back to her "Dirrty" roots".[32] Bill Lamb of dismissed claims that the video was trying to "out dirty" artists such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Rihanna, stating that the song gave a good indication of what the video might be like. Lamb also commented, "Bondage and fetish wear are increasingly prevalent across the spectrum in pop music and pop culture imagery." He also said that the video was aesthetically "gorgeous" and that director Hype Williams "gives the clip a crisp, clean, colorful look that is arresting."[34]

Tanner Stransky of Entertainment Weekly, commented that the video was very much like Lady Gaga, but said it was even more like Madonna. He also noted that, "When it comes to Madonna, nearly every pop star has taken pieces of her performances/styling/etc", and "With the Gaga argument, can we really fault Christina for taking from Gaga, when Gaga herself has so ripped from a variety of other artists?" Stransky also noted that Aguilera did indeed seem desperate in the "unoriginal" clip, saying that she had been gone for a long time and now "clawing for relevancy", but "maybe she should have gone in a totally different direction to avoid comparisons".[35] Daniel Kreps from Rolling Stone stated that "Aguilera assumes no less than a dozen different guises, all scantily clad, ranging from carbon copies of Lady Gaga (borrowing heavily from her unique wardrobe), Madonna, Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani, the girls from Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" video and Michelle Pfeiffer's S&M-inspired Catwoman from Batman Returns. Despite the video's attempt to shock, it's unlikely Aguilera will ever out-Gaga Gaga or out-controversy Madonna. ... Hopefully next time she steps in front of the lens she'll be more herself and less like everyone else"[36] Kreps did state that the video's "steaminess" made up for the unoriginality.[36] At August of 2013 this single sold 1,200,000 copies only in Us.

Live performances

Aguilera first performed the song live on The Oprah Winfrey Show on May 7, 2010, in a black one-piece and long black trench coat with high boots, accompanied by green laser lights, smoke and Matrix-esque dancers. She ad-libbed several times during the performance, at one point explaining the song's concept, stating to the audience, "This song is all about letting go and expressing yourself!", as she confidently "stomped and fro across the stage".[37] Aguilera also performed the song on her concert on The Today Show on June 8, 2010.[38] She also performed the song on Live With Regis and Kelly on June 10, 2010, and as a part of her concert on CBS's The Early Show on June 11, 2010.[39] Aguilera performed "Not Myself Tonight" as a part of a melody with "Bionic" and "Woohoo" at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards.[40] Aguilera again performed the song as a part of her edition of VH1 Storytellers.[41]

Formats and track listings

  • Digital download[42]
  1. "Not Myself Tonight" (Clean or Explicit) – 3:04
  • Australian CD single[43]
  1. "Not Myself Tonight" (Clean Version)
  2. "Not Myself Tonight" (Super Clean Version)
  3. "Not Myself Tonight"
  4. "Not Myself Tonight" (Instrumental)
  5. "Not Myself Tonight" (Call Out Hook)
  • German maxi single[44]
  1. "Not Myself Tonight"
  2. "Not Myself Tonight" (Mark Roberts Ultimix) [Dirty]
  3. "Not Myself Tonight" (Jody den Broeder Radio)

Charts and certifications


Chart (2010)[45] Peak
Australia (ARIA)[46] 22
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[47] 26
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[48] 24
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[49] 9
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[50] 11
Czech Republic (IFPI)[51] 38
Europe (European Hot 100)[52] 41
Finland (The Official Finnish Download Chart)[53] 29
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[54] 3
Germany (Media Control AG)[55] 24
Hungary (Single Top 10)[56] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[57] 18
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[58] 32
Russia (Digital Chart)[59] 12
Slovakia (IFPI)[60] 12
South Korea (GAON)[61] 4
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[62] 32
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[63] 34
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[64] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[65] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[66] 23
US Pop Songs (Billboard)[67] 14
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[68] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (2010) Position
Japanese Top 100[69] 72
Spain Top 20 TV[70] 20
US Dance Club Songs[71] 40


Radio and release history

Country Date Format
United States[72] April 6, 2010 Mainstream radio
Australia[73] April 13, 2010 Digital download
United States[7]
United Kingdom[83] May 9, 2010
Australia[84] May 7, 2010 CD single
United Kingdom[85] May 11, 2010 - (Aus Mixes)
Germany[86] May 21, 2010
United Kingdom[87] May 25, 2010 - (Eu Mixes)


External links

  • YouTube

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