|Single by Ariana Grande|
|from the album Yours Truly|
|Released||July 22, 2013|
|Ariana Grande singles chronology|
"Baby I" is a song recorded by American singer Ariana Grande for her debut studio album, Yours Truly (2013). It was written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio Dixon and Patrick "J. Que" Smith and produced by the first two. The song was released by Republic Records on July 22, 2013, as the second single from the album.
Background and release
In an interview with Complex, Grande reveals that "Baby I" was originally written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds for Beyoncé. Grande also stated that it was actually Mac Miller who picked "Baby I" to be the second single for her album.
Grande opined that "Baby I" was more "sophisticated" and "mature" and showed off her musicality and vocals more than her previous hit single "The Way", which was part of what made her excited to release the song. She was revealing snippets of the song days before its release. The single was released to the digital retailer iTunes on July 22, 2013.
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"Baby I" is an uptempo R&B and pop song that runs for a duration of three minutes and seventeen seconds. It was written and produced by Babyface, Tony Dixon and j.Que. A writer from Rap-Up describes the track as a "summertime record" which features Grande's "big vocals" over a "breezy beat". Several critics noted the '90s R&B music influence demonstrated in "Baby I", which will also be musically present on the rest of her album, Yours Truly. Additionally, '70s disco energy is also present in the song, with PopCrush describing it as "Mariah Carey gone retro".
Lyrically, the song is a confession on Grande's behalf admitting a special love for someone and how she can't formulate her strong feelings into words. The first verse introduces the concept of the song: "Baby I got love for thee so deep inside of me /I don’t know where to start/I love you more than anything/But the words can’t even touch what’s in my heart/When I try to explain it I be sounding insane/The words don’t ever come out right/I get all tongue tied (and twisted)/I can’t explain what I’m feeling."
The song gained another version in 2014, which was released as a bonus track for the Japanese version of Grande's sophomore album My Everything, featuring Japanese musician Taro Hakase. The song features new arrangements in the background instrumental, with Hakaro playing violin during the whole song.
The single has received acclaim by critics, with many calling it a great followup to her first hit single "The Way". Sam Lansky of the website Idolator opined that Grande succeeded in "meeting the bar where she set it with her debut," while praising her "extraordinary vocal performance" and describing her vocal runs as "nothing short of everything." He also stated, "Comparisons to Mariah Carey are starting to grow tiresome, but truly — who else has a range like that?" Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly praised the production of "Baby I" as a "real throwback" and felt that the song argued Grande as "the new Mariah", writing: "Her range isn’t anywhere near Carey’s was at her peak (the runs at the end of 'Baby I' sound like they push her to the limit), but her ability to shift between cooing and belting is pretty spot-on."
A reviewer from The Honesty Hour declared that the song was a "great followup" to "The Way" and complimented Grande's vocal performance, "In comparison to her contemporaries around the same age, Grande’s vocal ability is more advanced and she shows it off with this mature arrangement." Writing for the MTV Buzzworthy blog, Jenna Hally Rubenstein wrote, "While 'The Way' set the bar pretty high for Ariana, I'm suuuper pumped to say that her latest single, 'Baby I,' sets the bar even higher" and referred to the song as "a more than worthy followup." The Huffington Post wrote: "We've said it before and we'll say it again: Ariana is channeling some serious '90s Mariah Carey vibes in her new music – in the best way possible." Jason Lipshutz from Billboard said it was "a logical follow-up to 'The Way' " and "invites comparisons to Mariah Carey's early work."
Amy Sciarretto of the entertainment website PopCrush also positively reviewed the song, commending it for focusing on Grande's "diva voice, and her deftness with the blue-eyed soul genre". Sciarretto further wrote, "Grande sings as though she is wise beyond her years, and she hits those notes without ever going so high she might make dogs bark."
"Baby I" sold 141,000 digital copies during its first week of availability, debuting at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it her second Top 40 hit. The song also debuted at number six on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart, making Grande the only female music artist to debut two songs in the top ten of the Hot Digital Songs chart during the year 2013. With the anticipated release of the music video, "Baby I" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts at #94. Baby I entered the UK R&B Chart at #26 due to album release.
"Baby I" performed very well in Japan, peaking at number 6, making it her first top 10 in that country.
Ariana Grande performed the song at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards pre show, in medley with "The Way". She performed only the first verse, chorus and bridge before moving into "The Way". Grande also performed "Baby I" at the 2013 Worldwide Day of Play.
Filming for the song's music video took place July 28–29, 2013. Grande hinted that the video would "travel" back to the 1990s and that there would be "lots of color" and "lots of baggy clothes." A 'teaser video' was posted on Grande's personal YouTube channel September 5, 2013. The official music video was released on September 6, 2013 on her Vevo account. The video has had more than 56 million views on YouTube as of 23 August 2014.
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Radio and release history
|United States||July 22, 2013||Digital download||Republic|
|August 8, 2013||Rhythm crossover radio|
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