Express (Christina Aguilera song)

Single by Christina Aguilera
from the album Burlesque: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side "Show Me How You Burlesque"
Released November 3, 2010
Recorded 2009
Genre Electropop
Length 4:20
Label RCA
  • C. "Tricky" Stewart
  • Claude Kelly
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"I Hate Boys"
"Show Me How You Burlesque"

"Express" is a song recorded by American singer Christina Aguilera for the accompanying soundtrack album to her film Burlesque (2010). Written by Aguilera, C. "Tricky" Stewart and Claude Kelly and was produced by Stewart, "Express" is an uptempo electropop number. The track premiered on November 3, 2010 on On Air with Ryan Seacrest to promote the soundtrack. It was also released to Australian radio as a single on December 6, 2010.

"Express" received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who praised its both old-school–and–contemporary sound. It attained moderate chart success, peaking at number two on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles and also charting in other territories. Aguilera performed the track at the American Music Awards of 2010 and on the seventh season of British television singing contest The X Factor.

Background and composition

A 26-second sample of "Express"

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In support of her sixth studio album, Bionic, Aguilera planned to embark on the Bionic Tour.[1] However, on May 24, 2010, the singer and tour promoter Live Nation both posted messages on their websites stating that due to excessive promotion of Bionic and preparing for her upcoming film debut in Burlesque, she felt she would need more time to be able to put together a show that her fans deserve to see.[2] Aguilera stated that this was not possible to do in less than one month between the release of the album and the start of the tour as she would need more time to rehearse.[2][3] For the accompanying soundtrack for the film, Aguilera worked with Tricky Stewart;[4] he co-wrote and produced two songs, "Show Me How You Burlesque" and "Express", and produced several other tracks including "Something's Got a Hold on Me", "Tough Lover" and "But I Am a Good Girl".[5] "Express" was premiered on the On Air with Ryan Seacrest radio show (KIIS-FM) on November 3, 2010 as a promotional single from the album.[6][7]

"Express" was written by Aguilera, Christopher Stewart and Claude Kelly, and was produced by Tricky Stewart.[5] Aguilera's vocals on the track span two octaves, from the low-note of E3 to the high-note of E5.[8] It is an electropop song;[9] the melody of "Express" is similar to the old-school style of "Lady Marmalade",[10] and has a dance production.[11] Thus, "Express" has an old-school sound, but is also modern.[11] Lyrically, the song evokes sexual theme, as she "seductively" sings, "Show a little leg, you gotta shimmy your chest".[12]


"Express" received mainly positive reviews from music critics. Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine called the song "nasty, buzzing bump-and-grind" and "a bionic 'Lady Marmalade'".[10] Blogcritics thought that "Express", among with "Show Me How You Burlesque" are the two songs that "work better in the context of the movie, where the elaborate visuals help distract from their lack of melody and strong hooks".[11] An online website, Movie-Moron was positive toward the track, saying that it is "the most modern sounding thing" in the soundtrack, also compared "Express" to Aguilera's 2002 single "Dirrty".[13]

Commercially, "Express" charted on several music charts worldwide, despite not being released as an official single. In the United States, the song peaked at number two on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[14] In the United Kingdom, "Express" peaked at number 75 on the UK Singles Chart,[15] and also charted on the UK R&B Chart at number 21 on December 25, 2010.[16] On the Swiss Singles Chart, "Express" debuted and peaked at number 54 on January 21, 2011, and stayed there for 3 weeks.[17] In Japan, the track also peaked at number 68.[18]

Live performances

To promote "Express" and Burlesque, Aguilera has performed the track on two shows. Aguilera performed "Express" for the first time at the American Music Awards of 2010 on November 21, 2010, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.[19] During an interview with MTV News about the performance, Aguilera stated that the performance would be "fantastic" and would "give a fitting look inside the movie".[19] Wearing a "black spangly bodysuit" with knee-high boots and a bowler, Aguilera seated in a chair with her back to the audience in the beginning of the show.[19] She began to snap her fingers and leaned into the "jazzy, skittery rhythms" of "Express".[19] Later, the scene revealed a set made up to mimic the backstage at a burlesque club, with the singer surrounded by a number of dancers.[19] Gil Kaufman of MTV News said that the performance is a flash back to the "Dirrty-era" of Aguilera.[19]

On December 11, 2010, Aguilera performed "Express" again on the seventh series of British television singing contest The X Factor.[20] During the show, the singer cavorted around the stage in her lingerie with her "army of scantily clad female dancers".[20] Aguilera's performance, as well as Rihanna's one of "What's My Name?", received criticism for being inappropriate for pre-watershed television.[20][21] ITV was later exonerated and the performances were deemed to be "at the limit" of acceptability for pre-watershed television.[22] However, Ofcom received about 2,868 complaints about the matter.[22]


On February 18, 2011, a video featuring a 10-year-old Taiwanese boy dressing in drag and performing a dance number choreographed to "Express", channeling Aguilera's performance of the song in Burlesque, was uploaded to the Internet.[23] The video was met with controversy, with Billboard magazine questioning if "the kid's parents filmed his sexualized dance routine and uploaded it to YouTube".[23]


Chart (2010–11) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 58
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[18] 68
Swiss Singles Chart[17] 54
UK Singles Chart (OCC)[15] 75
UK R&B Chart (OCC)[16] 21
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 (Billboard)[14] 2

Release history

Country Released Format Label
Australia[24] December 6, 2010 Contemporary hit radio Sony Music Entertainment


  1. "Leona Lewis to tour with Christina Aguilera". Now Magazine. May 12, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  2. 1 2 Sisario, Ben (May 24, 2010). "Christina Aguilera Postpones Tour – ArtsBeat Blog". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  3. "A Message About The BIONIC Tour". Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  4. Mitchell, Gail (November 12, 2010). "Tricky Stewart Talks Jessica Simpson, 'Burlesque' Production". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  5. 1 2 Burlesque (liner notes). Christina Aguilera. RCA Records. 2010.
  6. Finn, Natalie (November 3, 2010). "Hear Christina Aguilera E-X-P-R-E-S-S Herself in New Burlesque Track!". E! Online. E!. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  7. Turner, Sadao (November 3, 2010). "Ryan Seacrest - World Premiere: New Music from Christina Aguilera 'Express'". Ryan Seacrest. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  8. "Christina Aguilera Express Sheet Music". Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  9. "Showgirl Aguilera shows her skills". The Advertiser. January 16, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  10. 1 2 Henderson, Eric (November 21, 2010). "Burlesque: Original Soundtrack Music Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  11. 1 2 3 "Music Review: Burlesque Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Blogcritics. December 13, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  12. Daw, Robbie (October 11, 2010). "Hop On The 'Express' That Is Christina Aguilera's 'Burlesque' Theme Song". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  13. "Burlesque Soundtrack Songs". Movie-Moron. November 23, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  14. 1 2 "Christina Aguilera - Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  15. 1 2 "Christina Aguilera Artist Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  16. 1 2 "2012-12-25 Top 40 R&B Singles Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  17. 1 2 "Christina Aguilera - Express". Schweizer Hitparade (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  18. 1 2 "Christina Aguilera Chart history: Japan Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kaufman, Gil (November 21, 2010). "Christina Aguilera Strust Through 'Express' (Burlesque) At AMAs". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  20. 1 2 3 Johnson, Chris (11 December 2010). "And then there were three: Cher Lloyd's X Factor dream is over as she is sent packing". Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  21. "Christina Aguilera: As raunchy in Burlesque as she was on the X Factor". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  22. 1 2 Conlan, Tara (April 20, 2011). "The X Factor cleared over Rihanna and Christina Aguilera dance routines". The Guardian. London: The Guardian News and Media. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  23. 1 2 Mapes, Jillian (February 18, 2011). "Watch: Little Boy Dresses Up like Christina Aguilera, Dances to 'Express'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  24. "Christina Aguilera – Express (SME)". The Music Network (816). Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
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