Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2006

Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado With Timbaland

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Nelly Furtado hip hops her way to a dance hit with clever lascivious playfulness and attitude.

Song: Promiscuous
Artist: Nelly Furtado With Timbaland
Album: Loose
Songwriter: Timothy "Attitude" Clayton
Producer: Timbaland

Two unattached people playing the mating game without really dating.

The hip rhyming banter of a guy and girl looking to hookup, romance not much of an issue.

N: You expect me to just let you hit it, but will you respect me if I let you get it? N: All I can do is try, gimme one chance. What's the problem, I don't see no ring on your hand. Promiscuous girl, wherever you are, I'm all alone and it's you that I want.N: Promiscuous boy, you already know, that I'm all yours, what you waiting for? T: Promiscuous girl, you're teasing me, you know what I want, I've got what you need. N: Promiscuous boy, let's get to the point 'cause we're on a roll, you ready?

A moderately fast very danceable 16th note groove reflects the strong playful sexual desires of the two singers.

The verses are rapped without any melody, but the choruses are sung with a very memorable hooky melody using a minor pentatonic scale with an added b6 tone for an unusual modern color

There are no chords in the verse, only groove and an instrumental riff. The chorus uses only three 7th chords in diatonic minor, mostly IVmaj7 and iv7 and an occasional i7 in a seldom used weak position. This gives the track a feel of floating without stopping to rest, a zone that does not ever resolve, a technic common in hip dance music.

2 song sections with a breakdown variant of the verse.

AAB AAB B' AB tag.

Verse-Verse-Chorus Verse-Verse-Chorus-Breakdown-Chorus-Tag.

Easy to dance to and to follow.

No signature

Simple but innovative production, the groove is exciting, the harmonies are used in an unorthodox, almost unbalanced manner. The focus is on the two singers and their playful banter.

Both Furtado and Timbaland play the battle of the sexes with appropriate provocation and flair.

Predicted Longevity
With such a surprisingly strong melody in the chorus, and the unique vocal back and forth conversation, fresh concept and presentation, it has all the elements to have a fairly long life in the dance genre. Not the kind of song that can be covered by others, but who cares? It is a provocative dance hit that will be enjoyed by many (and reviled by some). A Grammy candidate, but probably not a winner.

Album Cover: Loose

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