"Finally" Released: February 25, 2008 (2008-02-25)
The Dutchess is the debut studio album by American recording artist Fergie. It was released on September 13, 2006, by A&M Records and the will.i.am Music Group. As of 2008, the album has sold more than six million copies worldwide. The song, "All That I Got (The Make Up Song)" has been remixed slightly and used as one of the two main music themes for Tyra Banks' talk show, Tyra. Edited and Parental Advisory versions of the album were available. In Japan, the United States and Australia, deluxe versions of the album were released. For sales in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, the Parental Advisory version is the only Universal album edited in Peru.
The album produced 5 top five singles in the United States, including three number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, "London Bridge", "Big Girls Don't Cry", and "Glamorous", as well as the number two single "Fergalicious" and the number five single "Clumsy". All five of the aforementioned singles have sold over two million digital downloads each in the United States, thus setting a new record in the digital era for the most multi-platinum singles from one album. Fergie held this record until 2012, when Katy Perry achieved six multi-platinum singles with her album Teenage Dream (2010).
The album's name is a derivation of the noble title "The Duchess of York", as Fergie (a derivative of her last name "Ferguson") and Sarah Ferguson, the real Duchess of York, share a surname and nickname. The spelling "Dutchess," while nonstandard in contemporary English, was historically a valid spelling, as demonstrated in place names like Dutchess County, New York, itself named after a Duchess of York in 1683. will.i.am was an executive producer for the album. Ludacris, B-Real from Cypress Hill and Rita Marley all make guest appearances. Fergie has made it clear in interviews that she will still be an active member of the Black Eyed Peas.
In Australia, with the success of her first number-one single "Big Girls Don't Cry", the album peaked at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart on July 23, 45 weeks after it was released. The album has shifted over 210,000 copies and is certified triple platinum by ARIA. It has spent an impressive 62 weeks inside the nation's top 50, and 21 weeks inside the top 10. It spent four consecutive weeks at number one. Fergie has also had five consecutive top 4 hits from a debut album, the first artist to do so was Delta Goodrem with her 2003 album, Innocent Eyes, which had five consecutive number ones. Due to the re-release of The Dutchess in the United States, the original album bounced back from #104 to #28, because of the 11,000 copies of the deluxe edition sold in its first week.
Initial critical response to The Dutchess was mixed. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 58, based on 15 reviews, which indicates "average reviews". Andy Kellman from Allmusic gave to the album a rating of 2/5 stars and claimed that: "The Dutchess has all the characteristics of a release fronted by someone who has been itching to go solo and prove herself, once and for all, as a versatile force all her own". But that "The whole process, produced mostly by fellow Pea will.i.am, is mildly entertaining but tremendously taxing". A positive review came from Bill Lamb of About.com, who gave to the album a rating of 4/5 stars. He stated that "Fergie proves herself a skilled entertainer that can make you dance, laugh, nearly cry, and just have a really good time." He finished the review, saying that "The Dutchess is one of the top debuts of the year. Similar to Gwen Stefani's experience, this album is good enough to pull into question the wisdom of Fergie sticking with The Black Eyed Peas or considering striking out on her own. Another favorable review came from Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt' who say that "The Dutchess reaches further than most albums by contemporary divas." The Uncut review of The Dutchess was also positive, considering the album "One of the most rambunctiously entertaining and high-spirited records of 2006". Dan Gennoe from Dot Music was also favorable to the album, naming The Dutchess as an "exceptionally random R&B mixtape". Kathryn Perry from The Phoenix described The Dutchess as "An eclectic, danceable collection of hip-hop, R&B, and pop confections".
The Dutchess debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 in the United States with sales of more than 150,000 in its first week. 51 weeks after its release, The Dutchess climbed to a new peak of number two in the United States. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number 27 with 9,110 copies sold. The song "Losing My Ground" was the upcoming single, though it was replaced for "Glamorous" for unknown reasons. In a matter of weeks it dropped out of the chart altogether until the success of "Glamorous" when the album shot up from 77 to 28. Again, after the success of "Big Girls Don't Cry", the album climbed to 19 and after dropping a few places, went back up to its number 18 peak. To date, the album has produced three Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits, including "London Bridge", "Glamorous", and "Big Girls Don't Cry", with "Fergalicious" peaking at number two. Fifth single "Clumsy" peaked at the number five on the chart. A remix of "Big Girls Don't Cry", which features Sean Kingston, became an iTunes-only single and the new song "Pick It Up" (which appears on the Japanese re-released edition of the album) became a single in Japan.
The album earned Fergie three number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including two more songs in the top five.
"London Bridge" was released as the lead single from the album on July 18, 2006, and was Fergie's first single as a solo artist. As of January 1, 2008, the single has sold 1,792,912 copies in the United States. "Fergalicious" is the second single from the album, The Dutchess. It features Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am, who also produced the track. "Fergalicious" was not officially released as the second single in the United Kingdom, where "Glamorous" was officially made the second single instead. However, "Fergalicious" still managed to chart at number 26 on the UK Official Download Chart and will be released as the fourth single there, over a year after the song's initial release, as a double A-side with "Clumsy". This is possibly due to the huge success of "Big Girls Don't Cry" in the United Kingdom which reached #2, saved the album, and even made it reach a new peak position at #18. As of August 2008, the single has sold over 2,700,000 copies.
"Glamorous" is the third single of The Dutchess; the song features Ludacris. In March 2007, the song became Fergie's second number-one single in the United States. The single was released on March 19, 2007 in the United Kingdom and was the second single taken from the album. The single was not as successful in Latin America (excluding Mexico, where it proved to be a hit) as "London Bridge" and "Fergalicious". "Glamorous" is the fourth single from the album in Brazil, where "Big Girls Don't Cry" was released as the third single. Fergie sang this song along with "Big Girls Don't Cry" at the Concert for Diana. As of March 2008, the single has sold 2,300,000 copies. "Big Girls Don't Cry", also known as "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)", is a song written by Fergie and Toby Gad for Fergie's debut solo album The Dutchess (2006). The song was released as the album's fourth single in 2007 (see 2007 in music) and topped the charts in several countries, most notably in Australia (for nine consecutive weeks - also becoming the number-one single in the ARIA's Year End Charts for 2007), and in the United States. It was the most played song of 2007 in Brazil (the success of the song there is due to Big Brother Brasil, which chose the song as the theme of the most popular couple of the show) and the most downloaded track in the United States, with astonishing sales of more than 2,750,000 copies sold. In July 2007, Fergie performed the song at the Concert for Diana and Live Earth. By the end of August 2007, the song became Fergie's third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was nominated in the 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance' category at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, which was held February 10, 2008.
"Clumsy" was written by Fergie and will.i.am, sampling Little Richard's "The Girl Can't Help It", Deee-Lite's "Who Was That", and a small part of MC Lyte's "Poor Georgie". The song was released as the album's fifth single. The song peaked at number five in the United States. on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the fifth consecutive top-five single from The Dutchess. Fergie has also had five consecutive top 5 hits from a debut album on the ARIA Charts in Australia making her the first artist to do so since Delta Goodrem in 2003 with Innocent Eyes who had five consecutive number ones. "Finally" is the sixth single from The Dutchess. It was sent to U.S. radio on February 26, 2008. It is the album's least successful single. It features John Legend on piano.
"Here I Come" is a song produced by and featured will.i.am. The track was released as a single in Australia in January 2008. It reached 22 on Australia Singles Chart and 122 on Billboard Hot 100. It was used on the commercials that advertised the debut of the new channel CW and in a Motorola Rockr commercial for Brazil and Portugal featuring Fergie. "Party People" was released as the first single from Nelly's fifth studio album Brass Knuckles. The song is also a single from the Deluxe Edition of The Dutchess. It reached 40 in the United States and 14 in the United Kingdom. "Labels or Love" is the second single from the Deluxe Edition of The Dutchess, and eighth overall. The song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but in the United Kingdom it reached 56. This is the last single from the album and a music video was filmed.
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