Should Have Been Bigger: Christina Aguilera’s Unapologetic “Not Myself Tonight”

Mike Nied | April 7, 2020 2:02 pm

In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

Luck was not on Christina Aguilera’s side in 2010. That’s the year the L.O.T.U.S. (short for Legend of the United States, obviously) dropped an ahead-of-its-time album that got paid literal dust. Yes, I’m talking about Bionic. After revisiting the Roaring Twenties on Back To Basics, Xtina said goodbye to her Baby Jane alter-ego and headed straight to the future on a wave of icy, electro-kissed beats. She hinted at the new sonic direction on 2008’s “Keeps Gettin’ Better.” However, we had to wait two more years for the LP’s criminally underrated lead single “Not Myself Tonight” to arrive.

And the raunchy banger certainly switched things up. “You know, tonight I’m feeling a little out of control. Is this me? You wanna get crazy,” Christina seductively coos over a grungy bass line. As Polow Da Don’s walloping production picks up, the “Dirrty” diva lets loose and embraces a wild night of revelries. She’s taking shots, kissing all the boys and girls and basically living her best life. “And if you don’t like it, fuck you,” she unapologetically growls at any naysayers. A confident queen? We have to stan. Brash and indeed ahead of its time, the self-empowerment anthem is undeniable.

Legend X opened up about the song in an interview. “‘Not Myself Tonight’ is all about freeing yourself. Freeing your inhibitions. Freeing whatever is inside of you that you’ve been holding back or may be a little afraid to let loose and let go of,” she explained. “So, it’s got a little rebellion to it, but it’s all in good fun.” It may be in good fun, but it’s also certainly sexy as evidenced by the eye-popping video. Directed by Hype Williams, the tantalizing affair features several unforgettable looks and a bit of choreography. All of the above should have guaranteed that she opened the era with a massive chart success.

Sadly, that was not the case. Instead of going Top 10 like her last lead single “Ain’t No Other Man,” “Not Myself Tonight” peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. This kicked off a string of underperforming tracks for the campaign including her Nicki Minaj-assisted “Woohoo.” Look back it’s clear that the whole era deserved so much more love and respect. Sadly we lacked the taste and good sense then. Thankfully we can retroactively right these wrongs by recognizing Christina’s artistry today. Revisit “Not Myself Tonight” below for a blast from the past.

How does “Not Myself Tonight” measure up to Xtina’s other lead singles? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!