Liberation (Mýa album)

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Liberation
Studio album by Mýa
Released October 22, 2007
Recorded 2004—2007
Genre R&B, soul, hip hop
Length 50:57
Label Universal Motown
Producer Mýa Harrison (exec.), Carvin & Ivan, Bryan Michael Cox, Noel "Detail" Fisher, Kwamé, Paula Pete, J. R. Rotem, Tricky Stewart, Scott Storch, WyldCard
Mýa chronology
Moodring
(2003)
Liberation
(2007)
Sugar & Spice
(2008)
Singles from Liberation
  1. "Lock U Down"
    Released: March 27, 2007
  2. "Ridin'"
    Released: July 17, 2007

Liberation is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Mýa Harrison. It was intended to be Harrison’s debut release with her then new record label Universal Motown following her departure from Interscope in 2005. Before leaving, she had begun work on an album for Interscope called Control Freak set for a summer release 2005 with production by a host of other producers. Ultimately, she decided to leave A&M and Interscope Records and her management in favor of Universal Motown.

Within a three-month period Harrison had completed and submitted Liberation to her new label. Production on the album, which was classified as "energetic [and] ghetto" with a less classic R&B edge, was primarily handled by Scott Storch and J.R. Rotem with additional contributions from Bryan Michael Cox, Kwame, Carvin & Ivan, longtime contributor Tricky Stewart, and a handful of others. Guest appearances included Long Beach native Snoop Dogg, Murder Inc rapper Charlie Baltimore and New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne.

Liberation spawned two singles, Storch-collaboration "Lock U Down" and R&B-ballad "Ridin'". Both singles failed to make an impact at radio and on the charts. Due to the industry’s budget cuts, the album suffered numerous delays and pushbacks. However while delaying the album’s release again Universal Motown accidentally leaked the album in Japan, and Liberation was subsequently released as a digital download only in Japan on October 22, 2007. Liberation marked Harrison’s only release on Universal Motown label following her departure in 2008.[1]

Conception and production[edit]

Intermitted by several recording pauses, Mýa had been working on her fourth studio album since 2004. Originally conceived as a project called Control Freak, the main production of the album was initially financed by A&M Records, following Mýa's departure from the Interscope label after the mediocre commercial success of her previous effort Moodring in 2003, and expected to involve contributions by producers and songwriters Scott Storch, Dr. Dre, Jodeci, Lil Jon, Rockwilder and songwriter Sean Garrett.[2] Mýa, who took control of the album in her own hands by producing part of the record herself, described the album as "a combination of a Gwen Stefani, because it's energetic, and Lil Jon, very ghetto," with a less classic R&B edge,[3] explaining further: "Control Freak is basically learning how to gain control of a situation yourself, gaining control in order to be [a] free and beautiful person in life."[2][4] However, although she intended to release a dance track called "Let It Go" at a particular time,[5] she eventually decided to leave both her management and A&M Records in fall 2005 due to personal differences, before signing a new contract with Universal Motown.[6]

During the following months Mýa began consulting a few other producers to collaborate on the album, renamed Liberation, including Tim & Bob, Bryan Michael Cox, Kwamé, J. R. Rotem and Tricky Stewart.[6] In search of a new vibe for the album, she drew inspiration by leaving Los Angeles, California and moving back to Washington, D.C., where she spent her formative years. "I just knew that I had to get back to my roots and rediscover what had made me excited in the first place," she said in an interview with Billboard magazine. "I have all this creative energy and all these ideas but LA it was too impersonal of a place to develop a real creative family."[6] Back home, Mýa bought a house and enlisted her brother to build a recording studio, where she began experimenting, laying down rudimentary tracks and learning how to engineer. Pushed by her newfound abilities in mixing and production, Mýa once again intensified work on the re-worked Control Freak album, with most of it eventually being completed in a stretch of only three month.[1] "It was an easy process because I knew what I wanted to do when I went in," she commented, comparing the making of the album with a therapy. "I've been honest with myself and have been able to admit some things and analyze myself and save myself at the end of the day [...] Liberation is a clean slate; my most expressive, vulnerable album."[7]

Release and reception[edit]

"I feel as though Liberation was my best project to date, of course I wanted it released in the US, but things happen, so maybe it wasnt meant to be [...]"

Mýa, ThatGrapeJuice

Although a release date for the album was announced numerous times since 2004, more than two years passed until Liberation was eventually brought on the music market in 2007. Originally expected to drop under a different title in 2005, the album was repeatedly bumped from the U.S. schedule, lastly in September 2007 — at a time when Mýa had already started work on follow-up album Sugar & Spice (2008).[8] While the singer appointed the delay to "litigations, court, transitioning from label to label, teaching kids [at the Mya Art & Tech Foundation] and building a studio" at first,[9] the delays were actually caused by "business related" differences: "It's just business you know," Mýa explained, "the music industry is suffering so record companies have to scrap for money. Plus I would rather wait for them to get it right before I do an album."[1] As a result, Liberation received a digital-limited release in Japan only on 22 October 2007.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Blender 2.5/5 stars[10]

Reviewed by a few American critics only, Liberation garnered a generally mixed reception. Dorian Lynskey of Blender magazine gave the album two and a half stars out of five, stating: "A decade into her career, two songs raise the 27-year-old’s game — the insidious snake-charmer melody of “'Walka Not a Talka' and the bracing blast of betrayed-housewife rage of 'All in the Name of Love.' Elsewhere, boilerplate slow jams and generic sass paint Mya, her claims to the contrary, as a talka not a walka."[10]

Musical content[edit]

Liberation opens with the Kwamé-produced "I Am", one of many uptempo recordings on the album. "Walka Not A Talka", the album's third track, was written and produced by J. R. Rotem and features West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg. The song was considered a single at one point by Mýa's label Motown. In 2011, a version recorded by Lindsay Lohan appeared online. It's unknown whether Lohan or Mýa recorded the song first, but in the rap part of Lohan's version, Snoop Dogg still refers to Mýa, instead of Lohan.

Scott Storch-produced "Still A Woman" is the album's fourth track and tells the story an independent woman but needs a man's touch at the end of the day. Track seven, "Lights Go Off," is a mid-tempo song produced by Carvin & Ivan. The song starts out with Mýa's man leaving her a voice message and ends with another girl answering Mýa's boyfriends phone. It the beginning of the storyline and intro to the album's second single.

"Ridin'", the album's second single and eighth track was co-written by Jevon Sims, Esther Dean, and Traci Hale and produced by Tricky Stewart. The song is inspired by a relationship Mýa was in at one point. The song became a minor success on the charts, reaching number fifty-eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the album's final release. The Carvin & Ivan-produced "Switch It Up" is the album's ninth track and was a favorite among music critics. "Give A Chick A Hand," is a Crunk&B-inspired song and tells the story of a woman giving kudos to the next woman who stole her man.

"All In The Name Of Love," the album's eleventh track was produced by J. R. Rotem and incorporates the movie Halloween theme music. "Life's Too Short," is the album's second ballad and twelfth track. "Nothin' At All," is the album's final track. It was produced by Tricky Stewart and written by Mýa herself. The song itself tells the story of Mýa's career in the music industry and the ups and downs that comes with the price of fame.

Commercial performance[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Ridin", the second single off the album, peaked at number 58 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single fared better than the first but received little radio support and general promotion as well.

Tracklisting[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Liberation (Intro)"   Mýa Harrison   0:18
2. "I Am" (featuring Charlie Baltimore) Harrison, Kwamé Holland, Alan Gibb, Leroy Randolph, Charisse Rose Kwamé 3:49
3. "Walka Not a Talka" (featuring Snoop Dogg) Harrison, Lyrica Anderson, Evan Bogart, Calvin Broadus, J. R. Rotem J. R. Rotem 3:35
4. "Still a Woman"   Harrison, Scott Storch Scott Storch 3:57
5. "No Touchin’"   Harrison, Noel Fisher Detail 4:04
6. "Lock U Down" (featuring Lil Wayne) Harrison, Storch, Dwayne Carter Storch 3:37
7. "Lights Go Off"   Harrison, Ivan "Orthodox" Barias, Carvin "Ransum" Haggins, Ezekiel Lewis, Thabiso Nkhereanye Carvin & Ivan 6:23
8. "Ridin'"   Esther Dean, Traci Hale, Harrison, Jevon Sims, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart Tricky Stewart 4:18
9. "Switch It Up"   Harrison, Ivan Barias, Carvin Haggins Carvin & Ivan 4:43
10. "Give a Chick a Hand"   Harrison, Paula Pete Paula Pete 4:13
11. "All in the Name of Love"   Harrison, Rotem Rotem 3:31
12. "Life's Too Short"   Harrison, Bryan Michael Cox, Kendrick Dean Bryan Michael Cox, WyldCard 4:02
13. "Nothin’ at All"   Harrison, Stewart Stewart 4:43

Tour[edit]

Main article: Seagrams Live Tour

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bass, Andrew (2007-08-15). "Interview: Mya, R&B Sensation". Associated Content. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  2. ^ a b Reid, Shaheem (2005-02-25). "Mya Is Murderous Onscreen And A Control Freak On Record". MTV News. VH1 News. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  3. ^ Nand, Ashlene. "Ashlene's Spotlight Interview - MYA". Ashlene Online. Mediasearch. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  4. ^ Baltin, Steve (2005-02-15). "Mya Takes Control". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  5. ^ "For The Record". MTV News. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  6. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Jason (2006-09-21). "Mya Gives Up Grudges And Ego, Picks Up Relationship Wisdom On Liberation". MTV News. VH1. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  7. ^ Faber, Judy (2006-08-30). "Mya And JoJo's Girls' Night Out". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  8. ^ Nero, Mark Edward (2007-01-01). "2007 R&B Music Preview". About.com. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  9. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (2007-04-210). "Mya 'Liberated' On New Album With Storch, Cox". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  10. ^ a b Lynskey, Dorian. "Mya: Liberation". Blender. Retrieved 2009-04-11. [dead link]

External links[edit]