Walk Away (Christina Aguilera song)
|Song by Christina Aguilera from the album Stripped|
|Stripped track listing|
"Walk Away" is a song by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, taken from her fourth studio album, Stripped (2002). The song was written by Aguilera, Scott Storch and Matt Morris. Its production was handled by Storch, while Aguilera and E. Dawk served as vocal producers. The track is a piano-driven ballad which talks about an abusive relationship, where Aguilera uses a "clever" metaphor.
Upon its release, "Walk Away" received mainly positive reviews from music critics, who praised its melody and deemed it as one of the stand-out tracks from Stripped. On March 14, 2008, the song peaked at number 35 on the Danish Tracklisten chart, becoming the only non-single entry from Stripped on the chart. Aguilera performed the track on two of her major concert tours: Justified & Stripped Tour (2003) and The Stripped Tour (2003).
Background and recording
Following the release of the self-titled debut album in 1999, Aguilera had achieved major success with four worldwide number-one hits. Despite the international success, the singer was dissatisfied with the music and image that her manager, Steve Kurtz, had created for her, having been marketed as a bubblegum pop singer because of the genre's upward financial trend. She mentioned plans for her next album to have more musical and lyrical depth. Aguilera decided not to continue the contact with Kurtz. By late 2000, after terminating Kurtz's services, Irving Azoff was hired as her new manager. Aguilera decided to take a more prominent role in the musical direction of her next record. She also used her new alter ego, "Xtina", and changed her appearance.
Speaking about the conception of the album, Aguilera told MTV News that "it is a new beginning, a re-introduction of myself as a new artist in a way, because for the first time people are really seeing and getting to know I really am". She also revealed, "Coming off of the height of being a part of such a big pop-craze phenomenon, that imagery of that cookie-cutter sweetheart, without it being me, I just had to take it all down and get it away from me. And that is why I actually named the album Stripped, because it is about being emotionally stripped down and pretty bare to open my soul and heart". "Walk Away" was written by Aguilera, Scott Storch and Matt Morris, with production handled by Storch. The song was recorded by Oscar Ramirez and Wassim Zreik in 2002. Aguilera's vocals were produced by herself and E. Dawk. String instruments were carried out by Larry Gold, while mixing was taken by Dave Pensado.
Composition and critical reception
"Walk Away" is a piano-driven waltz ballad. Written in the key of G major, it is a downtempo song, with a moderate slow and bluesy tempo of 52 beats per minute. It is followed by a chord progression of Em–C7 in the verses. Aguilera's vocal range on the song span nearly two octaves, from the low-note of E3 to the high-note of G5. In the track, Aguilera uses a "sultry lower range". Lyrically, "Walk Away" is about an abusive relationship, where she uses a "clever" metaphor. At the song's beginning, the lyrics "What do you do, when you know something's bad for you, and you still can't let go?" are spoken by Aguilera. In the first verse, she sings, "Your love was like candy/ Artificially sweet, I was deceived by your wrapping". The track was described as a non-sense song by Amanda Murray for Sputnikmusic.
Upon its release, "Walk Away" received mainly positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Slant Magazine editor Sal Cinquemani chose "Walk Away" as one of the stand-out ballads from Stripped. Janceen Dunn from Rolling Stone called it a "torchy can't-let-go number". Doug Elfman for Las Vegas Review-Journal labelled it "gorgeous", while Amanda Murray from Sputnikmusic wrote that the song "sounds sexy", although it is "one of the only songs on the album that makes no effort to, certainly not lyrically". In 2010, Nick Levine from Digital Spy listed "Walk Away" as one of Aguilera's ten best songs. He calls Aguilera's vocals "emotive" and the song's theme "heartfelt", commenting that the song would have been a single.
Aguilera first performed "Walk Away" on the Justified & Stripped Tour, a concert tour which was held in summer 2003 to support Justin Timberlake's album Justified (2002) and Aguilera's Stripped. In late 2003, Aguilera continued to perform the track on the former's extension, Stripped Live... on Tour, which happened without Timberlake's acts. The performance in London is included on the singer's first full-length DVD Stripped Live in the U.K. (2004). Aguilera also performed "Walk Away" on the Late Show with David Letterman on January 16, 2004.
Credits and personnel
- Christina Aguilera – Songwriting, vocals, vocal producing
- Scott Storch – Songwriting, producing
- Matt Morris – Songwriting
- E. Dawk – Vocal producing
- Larry Gold – Strings
- Dave Pensado – Mixing
- Oscar Ramirez, Wassim Zreik – Recording
Credits adapted from liner notes of Stripped, RCA Records.