Genre: R&B, Pop
Credits: 2001 Aaliyah, Barry Hankerson, and Jomo Hankerson, Blackground Records
Track Listing:

  1. We Need A Resolution
    (feat. Timbaland)
  2. Loose Rap
    (feat. Static From Playa)
  3. Rock the Boat
  4. More Than a Woman
  5. Never No More
  6. I Care 4 U
  7. Extra Smooth
  8. Read Between The Lines
  9. U Got Nerve
  10. I Refuse
  11. It’s Whatever
  12. I Can Be
  13. Those Were The Days
  14. What If
  15. Try Again

Seeing Queen of the Damned and Romeo Must Die in one day, led me to the purchase of this particular album—my very first Aaliyah CD. Watching her onscreen and listening to her sultry voice made me realize what a great tragedy that such a young girl who exudes so much beauty, grace, and talent has passed on. She has, in fact, joined her Grandmother—the very same person she dedicated this particular album to—in the nether life.

The album itself screams of her maturity as an artist. Those who have heard her old records will vouch for the fact that her music has evolved, the same way that her sense of fashion has. It’s not just the lyrics, which already mark a woman’s independence, willingness to compromise, and sense of achievement. Assertiveness most evident in We Need A Resolution and my personal favorite I Refuse. Even the way she expresses herself through her voice is just something truly remarkable, with a little bit of vocal gymnastics that are not overly or obsessively done.

The feel of her sound is something similar to what you’d experience when listening to old Sade songs. No, they don’t sound the same, but the feeling is similar—sensual, intoxicating, alluring, soulful. Aaliyah’s latest tunes are like a fresh blend of early 20s, 70s and 80s music laced with a contemporary touch. Listen to Rock the Boat, U Got Nerve, and Read Between The Lines and you’ll see what I mean. Her versatility commands an audience from upbeat tracks like Extra Smooth and Try Again to lounge room music like Never No More and I Care 4 U. The tracks even incorporates a bit of international and exotic play of tunes on regular instruments that makes one wonder if the brains behind the album was doing an experiment during recording.
This CD features 15 wonderful R&B songs that will make one thank the heavens that she has left us with this gift. Singer, actress…a woman of awe-inspiring beauty and grace. And I never would’ve discovered the experience of Aaliyah had I not been an Anne Rice fan and saw how she lit up Queen of the Damned, a rather poor movie rendition of Anne Rice’s beautifully crafted story.

My rating: 9/10

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