Lions, Tigers & Bears

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"Lions, Tigers & Bears"
Single by Jazmine Sullivan
from the album Fearless
Released November 11, 2008 (Airplay)
December 16, 2008 (CD single)
Format Airplay, digital download, CD single
Genre Soul, classical
Length 4:11
Label J Records, Puppy Love, Arista
Writer(s) J. Sullivan, S. Remi
Producer(s) Salaam Remi
Jazmine Sullivan singles chronology
"Bust Your Windows"
(2008)
"Lions, Tigers, & Bears"
(2008)
"Dream Big"
(2009)

This article is about the song. For the comic book series, see Lions, Tigers and Bears.

"Lions, Tigers & Bears" is the fourth single released from American R&Bsoul singer Jazmine Sullivan's debut album Fearless. The song impacted radio on November 11, 2008, and was officially released on December 16, 2008 as the third single. The track received a Grammy Nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and a nomination for Best R&B Song.

Background[edit]

"Lions, Tigers and Bears" uses a sample from Salaam Remi's "Sheila's Playground". It was written by Jazmine Sullivan and W. Mann. The song is a soulful melody, written in Dorian Mode, about love and heartbreak using instrumentation of a violin. The protagonist states that she's not scared of things most people fear, such as facing carnivorous animals, but she's scared to love because of potential heartbreak. Sullivan said that, "the lions, tigers and bears reference represents my career in the music business." [1]

The phrase "Lions, tigers and bears" is from Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Reception[edit]

Soul Bounce reviewed the song:

Her latest, "Lions, Tigers & Bears," seemingly belies the "Fearless" album title, with Jazzy breaking down to a perspective paramour that kings of the jungle, Seigfried & Roy's crew AND Yogi are all cool with her, but this love thing? Yeah, scary as hell. What I love most about this track is the haunting melody, and of course, that voice. Lawd.[2]

Opinions: Lions, Tigers & Bears is another one of Jazmine's quirky excursions that takes you in an unusual (and beautiful) direction. Where some rappers and singers will imply use beats that imply a 3/4 beat while playing in 4/4, she goes past any notion of implication by writing and performing an R&B song as a waltz(!). In fact, this song is more about the waltz than it is R&B and the orchestral arrangement is nothing short of fantastic. While Jazmine sings about everything she's not scared of but that one thing, a string section plucks softly on the one, accompanying a harp that carries the lead while a violin section fills the higher ends with long tones that float along the rhythm. Going into the bridge the orchestra blossoms with sound as piccolos subtly signal the pending rise and a French horn section blazes a majestic harmonic backdrop behind Jazmine that makes your skin tingle. That is all an aside to Jazmine's personal effort, which is tremendous. It takes some serious songwriting and vocal chops to pull this off and she did it with near ease. This is her dark horse song, one that may never get radio play but is deserving of being called one of the best on the album.[3]

Music video[edit]

A music video premiered on Sullivan's MySpace blog promoting Jazmine Sullivan's single on January 29, 2009. It shows her performing in the middle of a gray-colored town while surrounded by floating, transparent violins. The town eventually becomes more colorful as time progresses. First, a golden color is seen spreading on the street inspired by The Wizard of Oz (as is the title of the song),[4] meeting with blue color in intersection, where a couple is having a fight.[5] Later, orange is introduced as the main color of another couple's outfits as they argue in the balcony of an apartment, while a tiger arrives and runs through the streets. A third couple is introduced, bringing the color purple to the town.

During the bridge, Jazmine performs on top of a skyscraper, still surrounded by the violins. The violins are then attacked by the tiger, creating a heart-shaped area of purple mist around Jazmine. Once the bridge is completed, the video returns to Jazmine performing at the yellow brick road (which again, is inspired by The Wizard of Oz, like the title of the song [4]) and a brain appears and the girl in the blue and walks away from the guy she is seeing. A lion of courage appears on the back of the man's jacket in purple and he gets the "courage" to walk away. A heart appears on the girl in orange and she embraces her lover. This is in direct reference to The Wizard of Oz and the tinman, the lion and the scarecrow. The video ranked at #88 on BET's Notarized: Top 100 Videos of 2009 countdown.

Credits[edit]

  • Produced by: Salaam Remi
  • Recorded by: Salaam Remi, Franklin Emmanuel Socotto
  • Written by: Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi
  • Instruments: Salaam Remi

Remixes[edit]

  • Fabolous is featured on the official remix.
  • The-Dream has covered the song.
  • Yo Gotti has recorded a freestyle
  • Beyonce covered it at her Mrs. Carter Tour in 2013.
  • Will has done a remix with Pattie.

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 74
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[6] 10

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
United States November 11, 2008 J Records, Puppy Love, Arista

References[edit]