Almost SoS: 2000 — Aaliyah’s “Try Again”

Posted: June 20, 2010 by RA in Music

Aaliyah vs. Eminem Song of the Summer: “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem
Eminem figured his rant against sing-songy Pop songs and the people who make them would best be delivered in the form of a sing-songy Pop song, and the kids absolutely loved it. And they did each time he rereleased it under a new name.

Almost SoS: “Try Again” by Aaliyah
Aaliyah and Timbaland were fast becoming contemporary Pop music’s version of Marvin & Tammi (or at least, Janet, Jimmy & Terry) when this single cemented Aaliyah’s status as Pop-R&B’s new “It” girl. With its (then) ultra-futuristic synth sounds and stacatto percussion juxtaposed against Aaliyah’s feather-light vocals, it was the way every teenage boy wanted to be shut down by the girl he just awkwardly tried groping. Its message stood apart from the era’s popular wave of man-bashing songs (from “Bills, Bills, Bills” to “No Scrubs” to “Case of the Ex”, Kandi and She’kspeare had a lot to answer for). Here was a young female artist with an undeniably strong persona, who didn’t need to dog out all men to assert herself. With her reassuringly sexy coos, she was an easy favorite among young listeners of both sexes. Her near-robotic detatchment, despite the warmth of the lyrics, made audiences across the world move years before it would make Rihanna’s career.

Plus, it was just danceable as hell.

Why it Could’ve Been:
Aaliyah had disappeared after her last post-disappearance single (1998’s “Are You That Somebody”), so what she lacked in momentum, she made up for with goodwill and lack of overexposure. This song was such a radio smash, it became the first song to top the Billboard Hot 100 without a commercial single available for purchase (a special vinyl single was released after it hit number 1).

Why it Wasn’t:
Label fuckup. It was released pretty early in the year, so while it hit its peak in the early days of summer, the absence of a CD single meant it couldn’t sustain its dominance through the season.

Honorable Mentions: Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give it 2 Me)”. DJ Spiller & Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)”. Both remain party classics, ten years later.

The Video:

NEXT: 2001

  1. Dayo says:

    *le sigh*. If i have to hear you bitch ONE MORE TIME about those “man-bashing” songs, I may just have to poke out my own eyes with ivory chopsticks. Every time you talk about that, you have ABSOLUTELY no problem with the mysogyny and “woman-bashing”of almost EVERY other song on the radio as well. Yep! Kandi and She’kspeare must have set back th mes’s lib movement at least 50 years!! Sheesh

  2. Dayo says:

    I meant the “men’s” lib movement

  3. merq says:

    Gasp! How DARE you?

    Just because I haven’t specifically blogged about it YET doesn’t mean I don’t have a problem with the misogyny in much of mainstream music.

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