On a Mission (song)

"On a Mission" is a song by Australian singer-songwriter Gabriella Cilmi from her second studio album, Ten (2010). The song was released as the album's lead single in Australia on 5 February 2010[1] and in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2010. The song has been praised by music critics for its disco/electronic-oriented sound. Its accompanying music video was directed by Michael Gracey and is heavily inspired by the 1968 science fiction film Barbarella. A remix of the song features American rapper Eve.

"On a Mission"
Single by Gabriella Cilmi
from the album Ten
  • "On a Magic Carpet Ride"
  • "On a Mission" (Wideboys Remix)"
Released5 February 2010 (Australia)
7 March 2010 (UK)
FormatCD single, digital download
GenreDance-pop, hi-NRG, electropop, new wave
Songwriter(s)Gabriella Cilmi, George Astasio, Jason Pebworth, Jon Shave
Producer(s)The Invisible Men
Gabriella Cilmi singles chronology
"Warm This Winter"
"On a Mission"
"Hearts Don't Lie"
Music video
"On a Mission" on YouTube


In an interview with Digital Spy music editor Nick Levine, Cilmi said, "I guess it will surprise people who thought I was going to make 'Sweet About Me' part two. I surprised myself when I recorded 'On a Mission' and it totally shifted the whole album in a new direction. I've loved playing it to all my friends and watching their reactions—they certainly weren't expecting it either." She added, "I like to think of it as 'I Will Survive' for the 21st century. It's about unleashing your inner superhero and doing what you gotta do to get where you need to be - no matter how many brick walls you have to smash along the way. I really wanted to make a track with a disco influence too and something that would go OFF live! And it's not just for women—I actually co-wrote it with a big bald guy!"[2]

In an interview with BBC News, Cilmi also admitted to borrowing the bassline from Joe Jackson's hit single "Steppin' Out". This is especially obvious in the song's introduction.[3]

Critical receptionEdit

The song has received generally positive reviews from music critics. Jon O'Brien from Allmusic said that: " The lead single "On a Mission," a gloriously camp retro-fueled anthem, manages to evoke the spirit of Olivia Newton-John's "Xanadu," Toni Basil's "Mickey," and the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian," all in one Hi-NRG three-minute song. It's a bold statement of intent that indicates from the offset that far from the half-expected tortured singer/songwriter vibe, Ten is only concerned with having fun".[4] Nick Levine from Digital Spy reviewed the song positively, stating that "it's a proper pop stomper that sounds like something the Pointer Sisters could have had a hit with in 1982. Well, kind of. There are Casio-ish synths on the verses, the bridges take the song into disco territory, and it's got a big, guitar-driven chorus that grabs you on first listen."[5] Later, he gave to the song 4 stars (out of 5) and completes the review, saying that the song is "instantly satisfying, moreish too and just as cheesy as it needs to be".[6] Popjustice named "On a Mission" their Song of the Day on 6 January 2010, further commenting that the song sounds like "a chart-friendly mix of Blondie, Joan Jett, Van Halen and Lil' Chris."[7] It also was ranked the 45th best single of 2010 by Popjustice.[8]

Chart performanceEdit

The song was the number-one most added track to Australian radio in its second week of release,[9] getting played 296 times.[10]

On 10 March 2010, midweek sales estimated that "On a Mission" would debut on the UK Singles Chart at number seven. However, on 14 March 2010, the single debuted at number nine. Nevertheless, this made "On a Mission" Cilmi's second UK top 10 hit since her debut single, "Sweet About Me". During its second week in the chart, the single fell eight places to number 17.

Music videoEdit

The music video was uploaded onto Cilmi's official YouTube channel on 11 January 2010.[11] It features many green screen shots of Cilmi, in a space suit, space helmet and on another planet, accompanied by several scantily clad dancers. The video gained mainly positive reviews and it was an expensive shoot with "On a Mission" costing more than all her other videos combined. There was some controversy over the video, due to a scene which featured Cilmi seemingly half naked. Cilmi strongly denied this however for she said it was just the type of dress she was wearing.

On the idea behind the video, Cilmi explained:

A director called Michael Gracey did the video. When he presented the idea to me, I was won over straight away. I always had a thing for Jane Fonda in Barbarella! She was my inspiration when we were shooting the video and I really did get into character. I'm sure you'll see a bit more dancing from me—though I'm not sure you'd call it dancing, more bopping and jolting![2]

Track listingsEdit

CD single
  1. "On a Mission" – 3:03
  2. "On a Mission" (featuring Eve)
  3. "On a Magic Carpet Ride"
iTunes Single
  1. "On a Mission" – 3:03
  2. "On a Mission" (Wideboys Remix) – 7:20
Download bundle
  1. "On a Mission" (featuring Eve)
  2. "On a Mission" (featuring H-Boogie)
  3. "On a Mission" (Riff & Rays Remix)
  4. "On a Mission" (Wideboys Remix featuring Eve)

Charts and certificationsEdit


Chart (2010) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[12] 16
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[13] 63
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[14] 6
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[15] 6
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[16] 53
European Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[17] 30
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[18] 11
Germany (Official German Charts)[19] 84
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[20] 29
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[21] 30
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[22] 18
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 9

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2010) Position
UK Singles Chart[24] 182


Country Certification
Australia Gold[25]


  1. ^ "On a Mission – Single by Gabriella Cilmi – iTunes". Australian iTunes Store. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b Levine, Nick (12 January 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Gabriella Cilmi". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  3. ^ Talking shop: Gabriella Cilmi BBC News, 28 January 2010
  4. ^ O'Brien, Jon (May 23, 2010) Ten - Gabriella Cilmi| Allmusic Review Retrieved 2011-02-14
  5. ^ Levine, Nick (7 January 2010). "What's the new Gabriella Cilmi single like?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Gabriella Cilmi: 'On A Mission'". Digital Spy.
  7. ^ "Song Of The Day – 'Woman On A Mission' by Gabriella Cilmi". Popjustice. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  8. ^ Popjustice- The Top 45 Singles Of 2010 Popjustice Retrieved 2011-02-13
  9. ^ MOST ADDED auspOp, 25 January 2010
  10. ^ "Weekly AirCheck Airplay Chart". aircheck.net.au.
  11. ^ "YouTube – Gabriella Cilmi – On a Mission (Official Video)". YouTube. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  12. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  16. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – RADIO – TOP 100 and insert 201012 into search. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Gabriella Cilmi – Chart Search" Billboard European Hot 100 Singles for Gabriella Cilmi. (subscription required)
  18. ^ "Gabriella Cilmi: On A Mission" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Cilmi, Gabriella – On A Mission". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Gabriella Cilmi" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  22. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201020 into search. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  23. ^ "Gabriella Cilmi: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  24. ^ "Top 200 Singles of 2010, with sales". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  25. ^ http://aria.com.au/pages/httpwww.aria.com.auaccreds2010.htm