DAR Roundtable: Aaliyah's Age Ain't Nothing But A Number and One In A Million

Age Ain't Nothing But A Number 

1. Intro 
2. Throw Your Hands Up
3. Back & Forth 
4. Age Ain't Nothing But A Number 
5. Down With The Clique 
6. At Your Best (You Are Love)
7. No One Knows How to Love Me Quite Like You Do 
8. I'm So Into You
9. Street Thing 
10. Young Nation 
11. Old School 
12. I'm Down 
13. The Thing I Like 
14. Back and Forth(Mr. Lee and R. Kelly's Remix)


One In A Million 

1. Beats 4 Da Streets 
2. Hot Like Fire 
3. One In A Million 
4. A Girl Like You
5. If Your Girl Only Knew 
6. Choosey Lover (Old School/New School)
7. Got To Give It Up
8. 4 Page Letter
9. Everything's Gonna Be Alright 
10. Giving You More
11. I Gotcha Back 
12. Never Givin' Up
13. Heartbroken 
14. Never Coming Back 
15. Ladies In the House
16. The One I Gave My Heart To
17. Came To Give Love(Outro)

For DAR Midwest Week, we arrive at the songstress who left us much too early, Aaliyah. The Detroit native burst onto the scene and showcased her knack for anthems and girl next door appeal. Without further adieu, let's get into it and discuss the woman who many feel is a legend and her first two albums.

In the '90s, you pretty much couldn't go anywhere without hearing a song from the Detroit native. But which of the two albums in question was better? Let's see. I'd have to go with One in a Million, without question. While Age Ain't Nothing But A Number is smooth and is great R. Kelly-tinged music, without actually hearing Kelly (except on the "Back and Forth" remix), its greatest strength--that this is a 14 year old singing this maturely about love through an album that has Kells written all over it--is also its biggest flaw. There are some moments on Age that feel too much like R. Kelly.

With One in a Million, there's more of a growth. She's not as limited by Kelly's touch. Don't get me wrong: R. Kelly is a musical genius at points. But, Aaliyah was an artist who all but needed different vibes and sounds to get her message across. And that's where Million shines. You have the ballads, the funky songs, the sassy (kind of hate that word, but it fits) teenager on the cusp of womanhood finally understanding herself and her wants/needs, and a Marvin Gaye cover.

In short, One in a Million is, quite possibly, her best work.

One in a Million has a special place in my heart for two reasons: Timbaland and Missy Elliott. When Aaliyah teamed up with this upcoming talent, they made magic. One in a Million was Aaliyah's staple album, in my opinion. It was the perfect blend of production, musicality, and story telling.

Age Ain't Nothing But a Number didn't really tickle my Aaliyah fancy as much as it brought about an R. Kelly scandal. One in a Million triggers memories for every song. From 4 Page Letter to If Your Girl Only Knew to The One I Gave My Heart To, the album was on point. I'll always choose that Aaliyah project over her first.

We all have that one R&B artist that no matter what, will resonate with you forever. For me its Aaliyah. It was actually Aaliyah that really made got me into listening to a lot more R&B to begin with. It was amazing to just watch her transform throughout the years. Age Ain't Nothin But A Number, and One in a Million are two albums that take me back to two different distinct eras in R&B with the former really serving as a bridge of sorts. You had a few uptempo pseudo New Jack Swing sounds on AANBAN and other "grown up" tunes and chords produced by R. Kelly.

Then you had the smoother quiet storm sounds from One in a Million produced by Timbaland which really introduced that age in my opinion. You could really see the maturation of Aaliyah throughout the course of both albums. Few artists can completely change their "sound" and remain on top and relevant. Aaliyah proved that she could do that and then some. We got to see a sassy young lady with an Attitude from AANBAN turn into a sultry diva with a voice on One in a Million and be among the privileged see her change the game forever. Something few people get to be apart of or witness in their lifetime.

A young True was in love with Aaliyah. Her whole aura was just all around dope to me. Sex appeal, fun music, etc. I wanted that to be my girl when I was younger. Ah, that good ol blissful youth. However, her first two albums were just too infectious to deny. Age Ain't Nothing But A Number was extremely dope, and on a majority of her songs, you could clearly hear the R.Kelly influence but this is R. Kelly in his prime, so the music is beyond dope regardless. Regardless, the first album hit at the right time and gained Aaliyah a platinum plaque and a place in the R&B lexicon.

However, her game elevated with Timbaland and Missy assisting on One In A Million. The vision Timbaland and Missy had, combined with Aaliyah's simple but sweet vocals and her increasing appeal (the hair over the eye, the baggy pants, etc all a part of her image to stand out) carried this album to amazing heights. If we were comparing these two albums, I would go with One In A Million by a small margin, but don't sleep on Age Ain't Nothing But A Number either, as it is extremely dope.

What are your opinions on these Aaliyah albums? Post your comments below.



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