Age Ain't Nothing but a Number

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Age Ain't Nothing but a Number
Studio album by Aaliyah
Released May 24, 1994 (1994-05-24)
Recorded September 1993 – April 1994
Chicago Recording Company
(Chicago, Illinois)
Genre R&B
Length 48:54
Label Blackground, Jive, BMG Records
01241-41533
Producer Barry Hankerson (exec.), R. Kelly, The Wizards (Remix)
Aaliyah chronology
Age Ain't Nothing But a Number
(1994)
One in a Million
(1996)
Singles from Age Ain't Nothing But a Number
  1. "Back & Forth"
    Released: May 10, 1994
  2. "At Your Best (You Are Love)"
    Released: August 22, 1994
  3. "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number"
    Released: December 6, 1994
  4. "Down with the Clique"
    Released: May 2, 1995
  5. "The Thing I Like"
    Released: August 3, 1995

Age Ain't Nothing but a Number is the debut studio album by American R&B recording artist Aaliyah, released under Jive and Blackground Records on May 24, 1994, in the United States. After being signed by her uncle Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah was introduced to recording artist and producer R. Kelly. He became her mentor, as well as the lead songwriter and producer of the album. The duo recorded the album at the Chicago Recording Company in Chicago, Illinois. The album featured two hit singles, including the top ten-charting "Back & Forth" and "At Your Best (You Are Love)"; both singles were certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). One additional single followed in the U.S.: "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number". Two more singles were released internationally after "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number": "Down with the Clique" and "The Thing I Like".

Age Ain't Nothing But a Number received generally favorable reviews from critics. Many noted Aaliyah's vocal ability and praised the lyrical content. Aaliyah was credited for redefining R&B by blending her voice with Kelly's new jack swing. The album peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over two million copies in the United States, where it was certified double platinum by the RIAA. The album was certified Gold in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and Silver in the United Kingdom by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to date. The album has sold over six million copies worldwide.

Background and recording[edit]

After Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah's uncle, signed a distribution deal with Jive Records, he signed her to his Blackground Records label at the age of 12.[1][2] Hankerson then introduced her to recording artist and producer R. Kelly.[3] He became Aaliyah's mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of the album.[4][5] Aaliyah and Kelly began recording the album in 1993 when she was 14.[2] The duo recorded the first song, "Old School", at the Chicago Recording Company in Chicago, Illinois.[6][7] While recording the album, Kelly coached her as they worked several hours in the studio. She often sang the songs multiple times in order to achieve "excellence".[8] He claimed that Aaliyah was "one of the best young artists" he had worked with.[7]

Musical content[edit]

Aaliyah sang her songs in a falsetto. She felt that the songs "came at you kind of tough, a bit edgy, hip-hop, but the vocals can be very soothing".[9] She went on to say, "lyrically I want things to be different."[9]

Marketing and promotion[edit]

A month before the release of the debut single, "Back & Forth", Aaliyah attended the Urban Network's "Power Jam" conference, where she was introduced and "received warmly".[7] "Back & Forth" peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 while topping the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for three weeks.[10] The song was certified Gold by the RIAA.[11] The second single, "At Your Best (You Are Love)", peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also certified Gold by the RIAA.[10][11] In promotion for the album, Aaliyah embarked on a world tour that lasted from 1994 to 1995.[12]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[13]
Entertainment Weekly B+[14]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[15]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[16]

Age Ain't Nothing But a Number received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Some writers noted that Aaliyah's "silky vocals" and "sultry voice" blended with Kelly's new jack swing helping define R&B in the 1990s.[14][16] Her sound was also compared to that of female quartet En Vogue.[14][15] Christopher John Farley of Time magazine described the album as a "beautifully restrained work", noting that Aaliyah's "girlish, breathy vocals rode calmly on R.Kelly's rough beats".[17] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic felt that the album had its "share of filler", but described the singles as "slyly seductive".[13] He also claimed that the songs on the album were "frequently better" than that of Kelly's first studio album, 12 Play.[13]

The album debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 74,000 copies in its first week.[18][19] The album ultimately peaked at number 18 on the chart.[20] It sold three million copies in the United States, where it was certified three times Platinum by the RIAA. In 2001, the album had sold 5 million copies worldwide.[11][21][22] In Canada, the album sold over 50,000 copies and was certified gold by the CRIA.[23] It also peaked at number 44 on the Dutch Albums Chart;[24] it peaked at number 23 on the UK Albums Chart, where it was certified silver by the BPI for sales of 60,000.[25][26]

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written and produced by R. Kelly, except where noted.

  1. "Intro" – 1:30
  2. "Throw Your Hands Up" – 3:34
  3. "Back & Forth" – 3:51
  4. "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" – 4:13
  5. "Down with the Clique" – 3:24
  6. "At Your Best (You Are Love)" (Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, O'Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Chris Jasper) – 4:51
  7. "No One Knows How to Love Me Quite Like You Do" – 4:07
  8. "I'm So into You" – 3:25
  9. "Street Thing" – 4:58
  10. "Young Nation" – 4:40
  11. "Old School" – 3:17
  12. "I'm Down" – 3:16
  13. "The Thing I Like" (UK bonus track) – 3:23[27]
  14. "Back & Forth (Mr. Lee & R. Kelly's Remix)" (bonus track) – 3:45[27]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
Certification
(sales threshold)
Canadian Albums Chart[23] 20 Gold[23]
Dutch Albums Chart[24] 44 Gold[24]
European Albums Chart[24] 68
Japanese Albums Chart[28] 39 Gold
Israel Albums Chart[24] 96
UK Albums Chart[25] 23 Silver[26]
U.S. Billboard 200[20] 18 3× platinum[11]
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[20] 3
U.S. Billboard Top Internet Albums (2001)[29] 13

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farley 2002, p. 35
  2. ^ a b "Aaliyah". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). November 22, 2001. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ Perrone, Pierre (August 27, 2001). "Aaliyah - Obituaries, News". The Independent (London: Independent News & Media). Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Aaliyah: Latest Victim of Crashes That Cut Short Fame - Obituary". Ebony (FindArticles). November 2001. Archived from the original on 6 May 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ Dansby, Andrew (August 27, 2001). "Aaliyah Dies in Plane Crash". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 23 June 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Music: Age Ain't Nothing But A Number (CD) by Aaliyah (Artist)". Tower Records. Archived from the original on 7 April 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c Sutherland 2005, p. 20
  8. ^ Kenyatta 2002, p. 19
  9. ^ a b Farley 2002, pp. 52–53
  10. ^ a b "Chart Beat Bonus". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. August 31, 2001. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c d "RIAA - Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ Pareles, Jon (August 27, 2001). "Aaliyah, 22, Singer Who First Hit the Charts at 14". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number - Review". Allmusic. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  14. ^ a b c Ehrlich, Dimitri (June 17, 1994). "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number - Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b Rolling Stone Album Guide. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  16. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (2001). "Aaliyah: Age Ain't Nothing But a Number". Slant. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  17. ^ Farley, Christopher John (August 26, 2001). "Siren of Subtlety". Time (Time). Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Billboard 200 - Week of June 11, 1994". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on 1 May 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Aaliyah's Profile". SS Music. Archived from the original on 9 April 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number - Aaliyah". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  21. ^ Pesselnick, Jill (November 17, 2001). Madonna Earns Another RIAA Diamond 113 (46). Nielsen Business Media. p. 69. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ a b c "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Certification Results". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b c d e "Aaliyah - Age Ain't Nothing But a Number (Album)". Ultratop. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  25. ^ a b "Aaliyah - Age Ain't Nothing But a Number". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number: Aaliyah". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  28. ^ http://aaliyahremembered2.homestead.com/files/Japan.pdf
  29. ^ "Aaliyah Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 

Bibliography[edit]