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It was the first number one by a Canadian female artist since 1998's "I'm Your Angel" by R.Kelly and Céline Dion on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.Furtado also described that in the process of writing lyrics "we were actually flirting, which is why the song is so playful" and that she and Clayton nicknamed the song 'The Black Berry Song', because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody".Because of the preponderant musical influence of artists such as Talking Heads, Blondie, Madonna, The Police and Eurythmics, whom producers Timbaland and Danja listened to during the writing of the album, "Promiscuous" takes inspiration from pop music of the 1980s.The lyrics of "Promiscuous" describe the two sides of the relationship that the song's protagonist deals with.It was one of the first songs Furtado wrote with labelmate Timothy "Attitude" Clayton.Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone considered it a highlight in Loose.Timbaland's appearance received particular praise, which added Furtado's "high-school musical vocals" over his eighty beats according to Sheffield.
It does not follow a storyline and per Furtado's request, focuses on scenes with dancing and flirting because she wanted to recreate the song's indicative vibe, and took the opportunity to film a club video for the first time.
All Music reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine compared it to "vintage Prince", citing "Promiscuous" as a highlight of Furtado's makeover.
However, Erlewine believed that no matter how much Furtado sings about sex, she does not sound sexy and does not "generate much carnal heat".
Furtado and Timbaland cannot decide whether they want to begin dating or instead flirt with others on the dance floor.
Their single performances are intercut with several scenes of a dancing crowd, and the lighting changes between blue, green, red, and yellow colors.