Aug 2012 05

 

Oh my god. After all the rumours and the speculating

Shut the internet down – now.

… Picking our brains from off the wall and our hearts from off the floor – it’s probably important we share our thoughts on this. Not only because it’s a pretty seismic event, but because it’s transformed into a huge topic among music fans and Aaliyah admirers over the past few weeks…

Well, it’s here. A brand new Aaliyah single has arrived a decade after her last. But what to make of it? Well, produced by Noah ’40’ Shebib, it uses previously unheard vocals from our beloved Baby Girl and features a guest verse from Drake. Slyly titled ‘Enough Said’, it opens with the expansiveness 40 has become known for creating well: a sound that cunningly fits in near-perfect harmony beneath the clean, airy vocals that Aaliyah so effortlessly commanded (ahem, as said here). Honouring the love Houghton had for her sensual, time-capsule ad-libs, he builds his moment slowly… Respectfully. The beat slow burns before swelling into crisp snares, trademark filtered drums, sustained synths and guess what? Aaliyah sounds f*cking incredible over it. Her voice drifts like some spiritual seance, her ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’s’ are tear-inducing and her melody so classically sexy I could cry. Her heartfelt lyrics are brought to life because Shebib is a master of creating such a strong sense of widescreen, studio-polished ambience and atmosphere, while still ingeniously paying homage to the essence of staples like ‘One in A Million’.

… And yes, those dues are riddled everywhere within this. Listen to how much space is created between each breath Aaliyah takes; listen to the off-kilter production she’s singing over; listen to how the beat shows restraint and irrevocable cool. ‘One in A Million’? 2012 updating.

‘Enough Said’ is not faultless though. It has one unfortunate downside. And despite (seemingly) popular opinion, it has nothing to do with the exclusion of Timbaland and Missy Elliott. The main issue with the record, rather unfortunately (god bless him, we do love him, but) is Drake. His “feature” isn’t the issue, it’s more to do with his overall presence. What Drizzy did on Thank Me Later worked because Aaliyah’s voice was sampled around what he created – she was very much the feature artist, he the star.

But this is supposed to be Aaliyah’s record, she’s the star and Drake should have harnessed his efforts to respect that; instead his verse becomes overbearing and intrusive. His appearance jolts the composure and instead of complimenting, self-indulges. Perhaps Drake needed to employ that emotional, grown man steeze he’s become noted for by approaching this more tenderly: consider how sensitive the issue’s been and listen to the fans. This song shouldn’t have been about anyone but Aaliyah although it’s understandable, taking into account she is one of his musical idols, and that he may have even wanted to use his superstardom in this era to introduce the R&B deity to a younger Pop generation, that he’s opted to make his mark on it. I feel though, he should have stepped back slighly and either not featured at all or delivered his vox more appropriately – softer, more baritone, more complimentary. Even the inclusion of the OVO Owl on the cover-art could be argued as a little indulgent…

That said – I’m so very happy this has materialized, that it’s even in existence. Some generation’s have their Edith Piaf’s or their Janis Joplin’s – for us here at PinBoard, as school kids in the 90s, we were self-raised on this figure. It’s an emotional, heart warming, respectable tribute to an icon and her legacy. We’ve championed our case and expressed our opinion as to why we felt Drake & 40 were the right team for this (near impossible) task of taking the Aaliyah sound ahead and after hearing ‘Enough Said’ – I’m hoping you’ll agree we weren’t wrong. We’ve lived through So Far Gone, ‘CMYK‘, House of Balloons, The xx… times change, technology changes, as do the sonic interpretatives.

After all, the expectation that Timbaland and Missy Elliott would be able to recreate the magic they once produced with Aaliyah is both unfair and unrealistic. In fact, lets not forget (because most seemingly have) Aaliyah’s final, biggest and most revealing album before passing at the dawn of the millennium was not produced entirely by Timbo (two tracks out of fourteen). She made a very strategic and deliberate move to work with relatively unknown, new producers – a sign that even amidst her commercial and creative peak, she was an artist wanting to evolve, adapt and think forward. The greatest thing about Aaliyah was her fearlessness to try new things and that’s why this works, that’s why fans need to support it and look beyond their own interpretation of her legacy.

In a time in commercial R&B music when we need more than just bandwagonry, as much as we support the authentic effort and the best intentions of that output – we also need legitimate iconography to inspire the next wave. We need a new album. Who wants Aaliyah circa 1996, if you can have Aaliyah circa 2012?

And breathe.

P.s For those curious, listen to ‘Enough Said’ without Drake’s verse here.

  1. […] may have sound like in 2012. I’m glad this was done. Here’s an interesting article by Pinboard on the song and an interesting look at Drake’s fascination towards Aaliyah on Complex. […]

  2. Solina says:

    Finally, and the song is beautifully done!

  3. trampled pigeon says:

    this actually leaves me quite confident about drake being involved in this upcoming project. i didn’t know what to think at first, but now that i hear this i feel like he’s the one capable of handling it tastefully… good job.

  4. yey-yey-yey-yeah says:

    my insides just melted. melted. melted. melted. timbo and missy need to be on the final album though but adore 40s direction.

  5. Henri3tt3 says:

    WELL, that was quite thorough, thanks PinBoard. Think I agree… Fuck yeah Aaliyah and fuck yeah Team OVO. Beauty!!

  6. This one is a much much shorter review than you guys did other than that I think you should read it since you don’t seem to have realized how damn egotastical the Drake’s lyrics are (which is particurlarly disturbing for a song that is not supposed to be Drake’s).

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2012/08/aaliyah_enough_said_drake.php

    • Speeakz says:

      safe for the heads up – we discussed drake’s verse in some detail in the review… think it’s safe to say we agree on his feature being the songs weakest link. rumours suggest a version without him will be released…

  7. […] the story continues. After weeks of reports of a postumous Aaliyah album and with the release of a new single featuring Drake, the late singers brother, Rashad Haughton, has taken to facebook […]

  8. t. says:

    I’ve never seen so many people so easily impressed.

  9. […] in 2001. Drizzy excitedly shared: “People should be really excited… A lot of people thought ‘Enough Said’ was my single. It’s not my single. It’s all off of an Aaliyah project that me and 40 […]

  10. […] of Aaliyah’s passing with an enigmatic remix of her (controversial) posthumous single ‘Enough Said’ featuring Drake. Originally produced by Noah ’40′ Shebib, Shlohmo’s version uses […]

  11. […] to the albums first single ‘Enough Said’ featuring Drake here. Comment Share on […]

  12. […] thing about the entire record is… Aaliyah. People didn’t respond too kindly to ‘Enough Said’ (… we did), I think even fewer will react well to this. Comment Share on […]

  13. […] “Chris Brown got a record [with Aaliyah sampled], it won’t work. Drake can go and do a record with Aaliyah, it ain’t gonna work. Aaliyah music only work with the soulmate, which is […]

  14. […] the release of ‘Enough Said’ which Drake shared in 2012, news of an impending full-length album had everyone talking – […]