Recorded over a period of two years since signing with the Sony Music label Burgundy Records label in 2006, Crayons marks Summer's first full-length studio album in fourteen years since 1994's Christmas Spirit, and her first album of original material since 1991's Mistaken Identity. She worked on the album with a number of different producers and songwriters including Greg Kurstin, Danielle Brisebois, J. R. Rotem, Wayne Hector, Toby Gad, Lester Mendez and Evan Bogart, the son of Summer's former record label boss at Casablanca Records, Neil Bogart.
The album debuted at #17 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart, which was also its peak. The title track is a duet with her and reggae artist Ziggy Marley. The album's first official single, "Stamp Your Feet", was released to radio on April 15, 2008. A follow-up, "I'm a Fire", reached number-one on the Billboard dance/club chart, giving Summer her 13th number-one hit on that chart. Summer recorded four music videos: "Stamp Your Feet", "Mr. Music", "The Queen is Back", and "Fame (The Game)".
When commenting on the album, Summer explains, "I wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it," says Donna. "I did not want it to be any one baby. I just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world. There's a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else...like when you're cooking."
- The lead-in track "Stamp Your Feet", written by Summer, Greg Kurstin, and Danielle Brisebois, was originally called, according to Summer, "The Player's Anthem". "It's the whole concept of being a player in life, coupled with the idea of being a player on an actual field, the whole thing, dealing with the pain and doing things even though you are afraid. Even though you're afraid of something and your knees are knocking, you get up and do it because a lot depends on it. Players get taken off to the sidelines and bandaged and thrown back in the game because it depends on them to win the game. We're all 'players.' It goes back to Shakespeare: 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.'"
- About the song "Crayons", Summer says, "It encompasses a lot of what the album is about," she says. "Every song is a different color. Since I'm also a visual artist, that title ties a lot of the loose ends of my life together. The song wrote itself pretty quickly. Taking it to the next level, we influence each other in life. You may have an Arab friend or an Israeli friend or an Indian friend and so you go and eat a little Indian food (or have a little pita bread), or something you've never experienced, and as we immerse ourselves in each other's cultural experiences, it's like taking a crayon and coloring over the lines and the lines become blurred between what's that and what's the other. You take two colors and create other colors and you add a third color and there's another color too. That's how we are in life and that, to me, is a good indication for this album: feeling free to draw between the lines. Everybody gets crayons at some point in their lives, everybody can relate to the basics. It comes down to that child in us, I think there's a commonality in the concept of crayons."
- On "The Queen Is Back", Summer reveals her wry and witty self-awareness of her musical legacy and her public persona. "I'm making fun of myself," she admits. "There's irony, it's poking fun at the idea of being called a queen. That's a title that has followed me, followed me, and followed me. We were sitting and writing and that title kept popping up in my mind and I'm thinking, 'Am I supposed to write this? Is this too arrogant to write?' But people call me 'the queen,' so I guess it's ok to refer to myself as what everybody else refers to me as. We started writing the song and thought it was kind of cute and funny."
|1||"Stamp Your Feet"||3:52||Danielle Brisebois, Greg Kurstin, Donna Summer||Kurstin|
|2||"Mr. Music"||3:14||Evan Bogart, J. R. Rotem, Summer, Meredith Willson||Rotem|
|3||"Crayons" (featuring Ziggy Marley)||3:21||Brisebois, Kurstin, Marley, Summer||Kurstin|
|4||"The Queen Is Back"||3:27||Bogart, Rotem, Summer||Rotem|
|5||"Fame (The Game)"||4:03||Toby Gad, Summer||Gad|
|6||"Sand on My Feet"||3:51||Gad, Summer||Gad|
|7||"Drivin' Down Brazil"||4:43||Brisebois, Kurstin, Summer||Kurstin|
|8||"I'm a Fire"||7:11||Al Kasha, Sebastian Arocha Morton, Summer||Morton|
|9||"Slide Over Backwards"||4:10||Nathan DiGesare, Jakob Petren, Summer||DiGesare|
|10||"Science of Love"||3:48||Gad, Summer||Gad|
|11||"Be Myself Again"||4:19||Wayne Hector, Lester Mendez, Summer||Mendez|
|12||"Bring Down the Reign"||4:33||Jamie Houston, Fred Kron, Summer||Houston|
|International edition bonus track|
|13||"It's Only Love"||6:58||Kasha, Morton, Summer||Morton|
|U.S. Billboard 200||17|
|UK Albums Chart||142|
|United States||May 20, 2008|
|Denmark||May 26, 2008|
|Germany||June 6, 2008|
|Australia||June 7, 2008|
|France||June 9, 2008|
|Spain||June 10, 2008|
|Brazil||June 16, 2008|
|United Kingdom||June 23, 2008|
|Japan||June 25, 2008|