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Released: 2015

“Get Ugly,” by Jason Derulo, is a dance-floor anthem that calls for people to let loose, stop trying to impress everyone, and embrace their unique, ‘ugly’ dance moves. Simultaneously, it’s a shot at a society that values aesthetics over authenticity, begging the listener to reconsider conventional beauty standards.

From the jump, Derulo sets the scene with, “Girl, ladies, let your hurr down.” The term ‘hurr,’ a colloquial version of ‘hair,’ is street vernacular for ‘relax,’ shedding everyday pressures. He speaks on this ‘to get down,’ a phrase synonymous with letting loose on the dance floor – a recurring theme through this track.

The hook, “This girl straight and this girl not, Tipsy off that peach Ciroc,” plays on ambiguity, making it a point that regardless of sexual orientation or intoxication level, ‘getting down’ – dancing without restraint – is universal.

Jason Derulo Get Ugly

Derulo’s lyric, “Jeans so tight I could see loose change,” is a humorous critique on the pressures to conform to narrow ideals of attractiveness. His call to “Do your thang, thang, girl” is a direct encouragement for individual expression, free from societal judgement.

The following lines, “Tell them pretty-faced girls tryna impress each other, And them undercover freaks who ain’t nothin’ but trouble,” serve a dual purpose. On one hand, they criticize the superficiality of appearance-based evaluation. On the other hand, they reference those ‘undercover freaks’ who may act prim and proper but, deep down, embrace their ‘get ugly’ side.

Every verse ends with, “People all around the world, sexy motherfuckers, Get ugly!” This is a global call to action for everyone to acknowledge their own sexiness, however they define it, and express it by getting ‘ugly’ – i.e., being unapologetically themselves. Derulo leans into the term ‘ugly’ – typically derogatory – and flips it into a liberation chant.

In the line, “Bruh, I can’t, I can’t even lie, I’m about to be that guy, Someone else gon’ have to drive me home,” Jason comes off like he’s having such a good time that he’s about to cross the line into ‘ugly’ territory himself. The track also uses “Ayy, Ricky” as a shout-out to his producer, Ricky Reed, affirming the beat’s infectious, dance-inspiring nature making people pull their ‘ugly’ faces.

The song wraps up with an equally energetic and engaging chorus of “Everybody, lose control, Let’s get ugly, dysfunctional,” reinforcing the central theme of the song. It’s an invitation to all to throw caution to the wind, to ‘lose control,’ and to embrace the beauty of being ‘ugly’ or ‘dysfunctional’ – again, being unapologetically themselves.