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Song Stories

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”

Beyonce | 2008

Drawing from her then-secret marriage to Jay-Z, Beyonce’s megahit celebrates female empowerment by calling out men’s unwillingness to commit to relationships. But it was her simple yet stylized black-and-white video that really made a splash, when her choreographed moves sparked the first ubiquitous dance craze of the internet age, which kicked off when a high-heeled, leotard-wearing Justin Timberlake spoofed the song on Saturday Night Live. A global phenomenon was born, as countless parodies popped up on YouTube. Beyonce has said the inspiration for the routine was Bob Fosse’s 1969 performance of “Mexican Breakfast” on The Ed Sullivan Show. As she herself put it, it is “the most iconic” song and video of her career thus far.

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Song Stories

“Promiscuous”

Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

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