There are universally cherished songs that strengthen and define us as a community: John Lennon‘s “Imagine.” Madonna‘s “Like A Prayer.” The Paradiso Girls‘ “Patron Tequila.”
And, of course, Nicole Scherzinger‘s “Pretty.”
The “Pretty” saga, for all the Pussycat Boys and Girls out there not already in the know, is a long and storied one. But if you’ve voluntarily elected to read an article about the unreleased song “Pretty” by Nicole Scherzinger, then you probably already do know.
Back in 2011, Nicole Scherzinger, lead vocalist of the Pussycat Dolls-turned-solo singer with a last name that proved too difficult for much of America to pronounce, was resiliently moving past the shelved Her Name Is Nicole era (keep checking the Amazon page to see when the album will be made available) into her still-unreleased-in-America Killer Love era with a string of semi-smashes, including “Don’t Hold Your Breath,” “Right There” and critically acclaimed ode to bodily fluids, “Wet.”
When Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini Payne was unceremoniously dumped by Simon Cowell as a mentor on the first season of X Factor USA because of her thick Geordie accent — an unspeakable outrage that would ultimately result in the failure of the series in general in America — Scherzy “Not Up To Much, Glad I Left The Group” Baby stepped in to swiftly take Chezza’s place and, later, to make a young girl cry on national television.
Another thing she did on the first season of X Factor USA? Sing. (That’s not even including the “Happy Birthday” moment. “To MEEE!“)
In December of that year, Nicole performed a brand new track, “from her forthcoming album, Killer Love,” amid rumors of a break-up with racing driver Lewis Hamilton, with whom she’d break up and make up many, many times thereafter. Their “Poison” love was like a “Boomerang”, one could say.
But it wasn’t any of the songs we’d ever heard before: it was a song called “Pretty.”
What is “Pretty”? It’s a song about being called “pretty” one too many times by a man who, ultimately, just wanted a pretty woman by his side. It’s about being pretty much done with just being “pretty.” Because Nicole is more than just so prett-ayyyy (REFERENCE).
“You used to tell me I was pretty, the best that you ever had / And there was nothing more important to you than being with the perfect ten,” she angrily trembles on the crashing break-up ballad for all the fellow pretty people, which kinda-sorta doubles as a #humblebrag.
Scherzy wailed. Glass shattered. Drums pounded. Pretty messed up. Pretty much done. SHE DON’T WANNA BE PRETTY NO MORE.
Following the performance, cries of “#BuyPrettyOniTunes” rang out on prehistoric stan Twitter at once — except, horrifyingly, you couldn’t buy “Pretty” on iTunes at all. Because it never showed up on iTunes. Or anywhere…until now, almost exactly five years later.
The studio version of “Pretty,” inexplicably, washed up on our digital shores in the past week. And it is…pretty much a revelation.
Granted, we still cannot buy “Pretty” on iTunes — fuck, we still can’t even buy the still-horrifyingly titled Big Fat Lie here in America. It’s possible that the song, or perhaps even Nicole Scherzinger herself, is simply too pretty for iTunes. But we do, at long last, have the song. And I’ve personally never felt more pretty in all my life.
As recently as 2014, Scherzy was reminiscing about “Pretty” in an interview with my former place of employment, Idolator before, like, quickly shading people for getting famous on TV or something: “Kenny [Babyface] did that [“Pretty”]. He’s amazing, he wrote that song. I’m not gonna lie, it’s disheartening to me too because we put so much work into it. But I just kept on that slow and steady road, and I’m still doing it. So many people these days with all these shows, they get fame so fast that they feel entitled. When things happen for me, I’ll know I really earned it.”
“Pretty”: it’s the best leaked music by a pop star you’ll hear this week, guaranteed. Apologies to the uglies who can’t relate…never experienced the emotion.