Me Against Myself

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Me Against Myself
Studio album by Jay Sean
Released 8 November 2004 (U.K.)
January 2005 (Malaysia)
February 2005 (India)
Recorded 2003-2004
Genre R&B, Bhangra, hip hop, pop
Label 2Point9, Relentless, Virgin
Producer Rishi Rich (co-exec.)
Jay Sean (co-exec.)
Mentor, Iceman J, Stargate, Paul Brown, Fitzgerald Scott, Peter Biker, Karsten "Delgado" Dahlgaard
Jay Sean chronology
Me Against Myself
(2004)
My Own Way
(2008)
Singles from Me Against Myself
  1. "Eyes on You"
    Released: 21 June 2004
  2. "Stolen"
    Released: 25 October 2004

Me Against Myself is the debut studio album by Jay Sean, released 8 November 2004 in the United Kingdom, January 2005 in Malaysia,[1] and February 2005 in India on 2Point9 Records, Relentless Records and Virgin Records.[2]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album includes three UK top 20 hit singles: "Dance With You" (#12), "Eyes On You" (#6), and "Stolen" (#4). Noted for its experimental, creative fusion of contemporary R&B, British hip hop and Indian music,[3] as well as its social commentary,[4][5] the album was universally acclaimed by critics[6] and sold more than two million copies worldwide, remaining Sean's most successful album to date.[7][8][9] Me Against Myself was influential in pioneering and popularizing Bhangra-R&B fusion music among the worldwide South Asian diaspora.[10]

Despite initially failing to reach the top 20 on the UK Albums Chart (where it peaked at #29), the album gradually managed to sell 100,000 copies in the UK[11] and went on to become a substantial hit in Asia. "Dance With You" and "One Night" were included on the soundtracks for the Bollywood films Boom (2003) and Kyaa Kool Hai Hum (2005), with Sean making an appearance in the latter, while the Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu made an appearance in the music video for the song "Stolen".[2] This helped Me Against Myself sell over two million copies[8][9] and become five-times platinum in India.[12] Beyond India, the album sold over 300,000 copies across other parts of the world,[13] including Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia,[14] and Hong Kong.[15] His performance of tracks from Me Against Myself on MTV Asia (alongside the Rishi Rich Project) had a television audience as large as 165 million viewers.[6] The album helped establish Sean as a major recognized artist across Asia and among the worldwide Desi diaspora.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[16]
BBC Music (favourable)[17]
Contactmusic.com (favourable)[18]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[19]
The Hindu (favourable)[2]
Liverpool Daily Post 3/4 stars[20]
New Straits Times (favourable)[1]
The Statesman (favourable)[21]
The Telegraph (favourable)[4]
Yahoo! Music 8/10 stars[5]
Zambia Post 8/10 stars[22]

Me Against Myself was universally acclaimed by critics across the world, particularly for its experimental, creative fusion[3] of contemporary R&B, hip hop music (including old-school and British hip hop)[23] and Indian music (including Bhangra and Bollywood music), as well as its social commentary. In the UK, Dan Gennoe of Yahoo! Music gave the album 8 out of 10 stars, referring to Me Against Myself as "an album of phenomenally accomplished R&B" and "an album of indisputable quality." He praised the Asian musical influence, social commentary, and "well adjusted sense of humour", particularly the "hysterical crisis of integrity" shown in the title track "Me Against Myself" where "rapper Sean mercilessly derides his “pansy” singing alter ego".[5] Antony Hatfield of BBC Music praised the album, stating that it "is of major league significance" and, with "influences that enter from all angles," it is "an album by gifted people with a vision beyond boundaries and a simple devotion to music." In particular, he also praised the title track "Me Against Myself", where Sean's singer and rapper personae go into battle, for its honesty and self-awareness.[17]

Tareck Ghoneim of Contactmusic.com also praised the album, referring to Sean as an "Asian sensation" who is breaking barriers "making pop songs that include sounds from Sean’s cultural background and with potential mass appeal." He stated that the "album is progressive in that it shows a fusion of Asian sounds with r’n’b and pop music."[18] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian gave the album 3 out of 5 stars, praising "the Bollysoul arrangements that underscore his vocals", in reference to the fusion of Bollywood and soul music, especially in the song "Stolen".[19] The Liverpool Daily Post gave the album a score of 3 out of 4 stars.[20] Peter Culshaw of The Telegraph referred to the album as "highly accomplished R&B, with minor Indian musical elements", but considered the best tracks in the album to be the hip hop tracks "You Don't Know Me" and "Me Against Myself" for their social commentary which deal with Sean's inner conflicts and the difficulties in "trying to make it as an Asian in the hip-hop arena." Culshaw praised Sean's talent and stated that, "currently attracting the attention of demi-god producer Timbaland, it will be fascinating to see how Sean resolves his musical schizophrenia."[4]

The album received similarly positive reviews in Asia, where its British-Asian fusion sounds were also seen as a novelty. In India, A. Vishnu of The Hindu stated that, "After having kick-started the `British sound with an Indian flavour' concept, Sean has created a cutting-edge formula, which appeals to Hip-hop fans and Bhangra enthusiasts alike." He concluded that the "album previews the future of Brit-Bhangra music, which sure is here to stay. It's time to take Bhangra to the next level."[2] The Statesman stated, "A mixture of R & B, hip hop and rap, it has desi flavours as well. With bhangra influences in the background, this album is one of the most popular UK Asian crossover offerings till date."[21] In Malaysia, Kiren Kaur of New Straits Times also praised the album, referring to the songs "Eyes On You" and "Dance With You" in particular as "dance-floor favourites with the fusion of Desi rhythms with R&B tones."[1] In the African country of Zambia, Candice Soobramoney of the Zambia Post gave the album a rating of 8/10.[22]

The creativity and experimentalism of his debut album Me Against Myself later became a point of criticism towards Sean's more mainstream follow-up albums, My Own Way (2008) and All or Nothing (2009), for lacking the experimental British-Asian fusion sounds (alongside Rishi Rich) and the social commentary that had characterized his debut album Me Against Myself, in favour of mainstream American-influenced R&B pop music in his later albums.[24][25] In his review of My Own Way, Angus Batey of The Guardian stated that Sean "has lost - not for ever, one hopes - the stuff that made him stand out" in Me Against Myself.[25] Sean later responded that the reason he gave up on the Indian-R&B fusion music that he helped popularize is because it had eventually become too common in Asian Underground and Indian pop music.[10]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro" (Balcony skit) Jay Sean, Rishi Rich 0:59
2. "Eyes on You"   Rishi Rich, StarGate 3:11
3. "One Night"   Rishi Rich 4:08
4. "Don't Rush"   Rishi Rich 3:49
5. "On & On"   Peter Biker, Karsten "Delgado" Dahlgaard 3:39
6. "Stolen"   StarGate, Rishi Rich 4:04
7. "Come with Me"   Paul Brown, Rishi Rich 4:11
8. "Holding On"   Rishi Rich 4:37
9. "Interlude" (Irony skit) Jay Sean, Mentor 1:01
10. "Dance with You"   Iceman J, Rishi Rich 2:56
11. "Man's World (Ramta Jogi)"   Paul Brown, Rishi Rich, A. R. Rahman 3:44
12. "I Believe in You"   Fitzgerald Scott 3:23
13. "One Minute"   Jay Sean, Rishi Rich 4:04
14. "Meri Jaan"   Rishi Rich 3:11
15. "Me Against Myself"   Jay Sean, Mentor 3:11
16. "You Don't Know Me" (Hidden Track) Jay Sean, Rishi Rich 3:00
17. "Who Is Kamaljit" (Hidden Track) Jay Sean, Mentor 3:44

Music videos[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Country Providers Peak
position
Certification Shipments/Sales
United Kingdom The Official UK Charts Company 29 Gold[26] 100,000[11]
India Indian Music Industry 1 5× Platinum[12] 2,000,000+

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kiren Kaur (9 January 2005). "Danceable Jay". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Brit sound, desi flavour". The Hindu. 23 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  3. ^ a b Nadeska Alexis (3 December 2009). "Jay Sean Says He's a 'More Serious' Beatboxer Than Justin Timberlake". The BoomBox. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  4. ^ a b c Peter Culshaw (15 November 2004). "Pop CDs of the week: Eminem, Destiny's Child, Jay Sean, Pavement". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  5. ^ a b c Dan Gennoe (8 November 2004). "Jay Sean - Me Against Myself". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  6. ^ a b Jason Cheah (15 October 2007). "Smooth R&B". The Star. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  7. ^ Bill Lamb. "Jay Sean". About.com. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  8. ^ a b Nick Duerden (6 December 2009). "Jay Sean: Ahead of the race". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  9. ^ a b Rishi Rich - The Project - Review
  10. ^ a b Jay Sean- Interview part 1/3 on YouTube
  11. ^ a b Nick Duerden (6 December 2009). "Jay Sean: Ahead of the race". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  12. ^ a b Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne, "Down" - Preview, Billboard
  13. ^ "All or Nothing: Jay Sean". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  14. ^ Nadeska Alexis (3 December 2009). "Jay Sean Says He's a 'More Serious' Beatboxer Than Justin Timberlake". The BoomBox. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  15. ^ "Jay Sean: Bad boy turned good". Belfast Telegraph. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  16. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "Jay Sean - Me Against Myself". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Antony Hatfield (2004-11-08). "Me Against Myself Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  18. ^ a b "Jay Sean - Me Against Myself - Album Review". Contactmusic.com. 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  19. ^ a b Caroline Sullivan (5 November 2004). "Jay Sean, Me Against Myself (Relentless)". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  20. ^ a b "CD review". Liverpool Daily Post. 5 November 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  21. ^ a b "Jay Sean: Me Against Myself". The Statesman. 25 March 2005. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  22. ^ a b Candice Soobramoney (2009-12-08). "Good food and fast horses". Zambia Post. 
  23. ^ Alex Fletcher (21 January 2008). "Jay Sean: 'Ride It'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  24. ^ Mike Diver (2009-12-04). "Jay Sean All or Nothing Review". BBC. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  25. ^ a b Angus Batey (2008-04-25). "Jay Sean, My Own Way". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  26. ^ BPI certification search engine