Put It in a Love Song

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"Put It in a Love Song"
Single by Alicia Keys featuring Beyoncé
from the album The Element of Freedom
Released January 19, 2010
Format Airplay
Recorded 2009 at Oven Studios, MSR Studios
Genre R&B, hip hop soul
Length 3:16
Label J
Writer(s) Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz
Producer(s) Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz
Alicia Keys singles chronology
"Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart
(2009)
"Put It in a Love Song"
(2010)
"Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down"
(2010)
Beyoncé chronology
"Video Phone"
(2009)
"Put It in a Love Song"
(2010)
"Telephone"
(2010)

"Put It in a Love Song" is a song by American recording artist Alicia Keys. The song, written and produced by Keys and Swizz Beatz, features guest vocals by American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles. It was originally sent to radio on January 19, 2010 by J Records, as the fourth single from Keys' fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom (2009). However, the full single release was postponed, so that "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" could be pushed forward as the fourth single. The R&B and soul song, talks about a girl who just wants her lover to write her a song and prove to her he's worth her time.

Due to the cancellation of the single, American radio pulled the song from their playlists, which resulted in the song failing to chart in the US on the Hot 100. However for the time the song was issued to radio airplay it did manage to peak at number sixty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single charted at number seventy-one on the Canadian Hot 100. The song was more successful in Australia, where it peaked at number eighteen and was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), for selling over 35,000 units. It also peaked at number twenty-four in New Zealand and at number thirty-two in Brazil.

An accompanying music video, directed by Melina Matsoukas, was shot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was originally going to portray Keys and Knowles dancing and singing around Rio, with locations including two favelas and the Sambódromo. However, the music video release was postponed several times due to "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" release, and its release was eventually cancelled. "Put It in a Love Song" was performed live with Knowles for the first time on March 17, 2010, at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Background, composition and recording[edit]

A 19-second sample of "Put It in a Love Song" features Keys and Knowles singing over an R&B and soul melody.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Put It in a Love Song" was written and produced by Keys and Swizz Beatz.[1] In an interview, Keys mentioned Beyoncé Knowles and the song: "We had a lot of fun. It's nice that we just celebrate each others careers, that's what the song is about, coming together to empower each other. This song was meant for us at this time. We've become really good friends. We've been in the business about the same amount of time and both signed to Columbia Records together when we were 14. It was like a party in the studio, the energy was so high and chemistry was genuine".[2] The song was included on the soundtrack of the Brazilian soap opera Ti Ti Ti (2010).[3] The song officially impacted the radios on January 19, 2010.[4] However, the full single release was postponed, so that "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" could be pushed forward as the fourth single.[5] Keys and Knowles recorded their respective parts in same studios with engineer Ann Mincieli. "Put It in a Love Song" was recorded in two studios at Oven Studios and MSR Studios in New York City.

"Put It in a Love Song" is a R&B and soul song that lasts for three minutes and fifteen seconds.[1] The song is composed in the key of A♭ major and is set in time signature of common time, with a moderate tempo of 100 beats per minute.[1] While reviewing The Element of Freedom, Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune compared the song with Knowles' song "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (2008) commenting that it had the same "sassiness on the tribal groove".[6] A writer of The New York Times also compared the song with "Single Ladies" saying that it had a similar "thumping, step-dancing atmosphere".[7] The song's lyrics are about a girl who just wants her lover to write her a song or a text message and prove to her he's worth her time.[7] The song features a brief chat between Knowles and Keys at the beginning; "Hey yo, B!/What up, A?".[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Keys (left) and Knowles (right) gathered to record their respective parts of music in the same studio in 2009. They met again in Rio de Janeiro for recording the music video.

The song received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics. Randy Lewis of Los Angeles Times gave the song a positive review stating "self-confidence is in full flower in 'Put It in a Love Song,' her effervescent duet with Beyoncé that has 'hit single' written all over it."[9] Allison Stewart of The Washington Post stated "Keys also teams with Beyoncé, the glittery Diana Ross to Keys's [sic] super-serious poetry major, for the disc's best track, 'Put It in a Love Song.'[...] 'Love Song' is an oddly mechanical number that lurches from diva to diva but somehow doesn't fall over..."[10] Andrew Burgess of MusicOMH called it one of the album's "standout moments", describing it as having "the Sasha Fierce brashness" and that "the always fantastic Beyoncé takes a notable backseat to Keys for a delightful and surprising change of pace".[11] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic chose "Put It in a Love Song" as one of the three best songs on The Element of Freedom and commennted, "On The Element of Freedom, that elegance is so easy it borders on the sleepy, with Keys' understatement undercutting livelier numbers -- chief among them the bubbly Beyoncé duet 'Put It in a Love Song' -- so they play as ballads."[12] Mikael Wood of Spin also chose the song as a highlight on the whole album.[13] Gary Graff of Billboard magazine described the song as a "girl-power anthem".[14] A writer of The New York Times felt that the song gives the album "bristle with a less regal impulse: flirting".[7] The writer further commented that the song had a "quantitatively different energy, air-lifted from somewhere else".[7] Nick Levine of Digital Spy said, "Beyoncé nearly manages to jolt Keys out of her midtempo comfort zone on 'Put In A Love Song', encouraging 'A' to show her sassy side over bootyshakin' Swiss Beatz rhythms."[15] Ron Wynn of The City Paper noted that Keys matches Knowles "in force and attitude" on the song.[16]

Jim Farber of Daily News commented that Knowles' "gymnastic style" during the song, overshadowed Keys' vocals.[17] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly gave the song a mixed review stating that the song "is fun, though not entirely in sync with the record's lush, midtempo vibe."[18] USA Today negatively stated "The only one that seems out of place is the club anthem 'Put It in a Love Song', a collaboration with Beyoncé that's catchy but ultimately underwhelming, considering the talents involved."[19] James Reed of The Boston Globe stated "in high vamping mode, has already made its way to radio, but it’s a slip of a song, coasting on its contagious chorus and delivering little more."[20] While reviewing The Element of Freedom, Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole gave a negative review for the song saying, "The upbeat numbers, which ought to stand out given their infrequency, incline toward the forgettable, though the cutesy club-ready duet with Beyoncé, 'Put It in a Love Song,' is especially embarrassing—not only because the song is bad, but also because Beyoncé delivers what is, by a rather large margin, the best vocal performance of the album's second half."[21] That was somehow echoed by Tyler Lewis of PopMatters who said, "In fact, when she shares a song with Beyoncé—the contemporary queen of pointless bombast—Keys' weakness in this arena is startingly apparent. Beyoncé completely steals the song away and Beyoncé fans will love it, even though it’s a terrible song."[22]

Chart performance[edit]

Due to the cancellation of the single, American radio pulled the song from their playlists, which resulted in the song failing to chart in the US on the Hot 100. However for the time the song was issued to radio airplay it did manage to peak at number sixty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single charted at number seventy-one on the Canadian Hot 100. The song was more successful in Australia, where it peaked at number eighteen and was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), for selling over 35,000 units. It also peaked at number twenty-four in New Zealand and at number thirty-two in Brazil.

Promotion[edit]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Put It in a Love Song" was directed by Melina Matsoukas,[23] and was filmed at several locations on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,[24] on February 9, 2010.[23][24] The original video was going to be shot at Egypt. However, Knowles was on tour in Brazil at the time the music video was going to be recorded, so both singers agreed about shooting the video in Rio.[25] The music video locations included two favelas: the Dona Marta Hill and the Conceição Hill - the same place where Michael Jackson's video of "They Don't Care About Us" was shot.[26] It was also shot in the center of Rio, and at the Sambódromo, with 80 members of the Grande Rio Samba School.[27] After finishing the music video, Keys said:

Shooting 'Put It in a Love Song' in Rio, in Brazil, was very incredible, I feel that the energy of the city matches the energy of the song. It's sensual, it's exciting, it's so rich with color. I loved it. The people came out so heavy and so hard. I think it was exciting, especially to participate and experience it with them like that. Me and B have a good relationship. And to be able to have the chemistry we have and do it in a city that's so unique like that is unforgettable. The pictures speak a thousand words. So you saw the energy out there. It was great.[28]

In April 2010, Keys told Rap-Up that the music video would not be out until after the video for the fourth single, "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)", is released. She said "it probably won't come out until closer to this Summer".[5] In March 2011, a preview for the video surfaced online, ending with the lines "coming soon," but not mentionining an actual date. A representative for Keys later said, "presently, there are no plans to release the video," suggesting that video was created previously when the video was set to premier in 2010 but only just surfaced in May 2011.[29] During an interview with Essence magazine in September 2012, Keys spoke about the video's cancellation, saying:

Sometimes with creative things [it] all comes together [...] and sometimes things almost come together and it's better to just leave it. So we love that song. We had a ball shooting the video. It just so happens that the whole thing, for some reason or another, didn't quite come together so we just decided to leave it. And that's what happened.[30]

Live performances[edit]

Knowles joined Keys to perform the song live for the first time on March 17, 2010 at New York City's Madison Square Garden whilst Keys was playing a date from The Freedom Tour.[31] The song was part of the set list only the North American leg of the tour, sung only on selected dates.[32]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Radio add dates[edit]

Country Date Type
United States January 19, 2010 Mainstream[4]
Rhythmic[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Alicia Keys - Put It In A Love Song – Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. EMI Music Publishing. 
  2. ^ "Music News - The latest music news and gossip from Yahoo! Music UK & Ireland". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  3. ^ Ti Ti Ti Internacional Soundtrack Som Livre Retrieved 2010-11-02
  4. ^ a b "Top 40/M Future Releases | Mainstream Hit Songs Being Released and Their Release". All Access. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  5. ^ a b "Alicia Keys Puts Beyoncé Video on Hold, Readies Drake Single". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (2009-12-13). "Album review: Alicia Keys, 'The Element of Freedom'". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  7. ^ a b c d "New CDs - Alicia Keys "The Element of Freedom" (J)". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  8. ^ Aswad, Jem; Vena, Jocelyn (2009-12-04). "Alicia Keys Collabos With Beyonce, Drake Hit The Net". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  9. ^ Lewis, Randy (2009-12-14). "Album review: Alicia Keys' 'The Element of Freedom'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  10. ^ Stewart, Allison (2009-12-15). "'Element' is another safe, uninspiring album from R&B star Alicia Keys". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  11. ^ Burgess, Andrew. "Alicia Keys - The Element Of Freedom | Album Reviews". MusicOMH. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  12. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "The Element of Freedom - Alicia Keys". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  13. ^ Wood, Mikael. "Alicia Keys - 'The Element of Freedom'". Spin. Spin Media LLC. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  14. ^ Graff, Gary (2010-01-19). "Alicia Keys, "The Element of Freedom"". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  15. ^ Levine, Nick (2009-12-18). "Alicia Keys: 'The Element Of Freedom'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  16. ^ Wynn, Ron (2010-01-07). "Spin Factor: Wayne blows hot and cold". The City Paper (SouthComm Inc). Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  17. ^ Farber, Jim (2009-12-14). "Alicia Keys' none-too-original synth in 'The Element of Freedom'". Daily News. Daily News, L.P. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  18. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (2009-12-09). "The Element of Freedom - Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  19. ^ Jones, Steve (2009-12-15). "Listen Up: Alicia Keys evolves in 'Element of Freedom'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  20. ^ Reed, James (2009-12-14). "Alicia Keys is visceral and compelling in her new ‘Element’". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  21. ^ Cole, Matthew (2009-12-14). "Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  22. ^ Lewis, Tyler (2010-01-11). "Alicia Keys: The Element of Freedom". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  23. ^ a b "On Set of Alicia Keys & Beyoncé’s ‘Put It in a Love Song’ Video". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  24. ^ a b "Alicia Keys & Beyoncé to Shoot Video in Brazil". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  25. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Beyoncé and Alicia Keys|TERRA - MÚSICA| | Music". musica.terra.com.br. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  26. ^ "Alicia Keys sobe o morro Dona Marta para gravação de clipe|EGO NEWS| | News". Ego.globo.com. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  27. ^ "Beyoncé e Alicia Keys gravam clipe com 80 ritmistas da Grande Rio|Terra - Música| | Music". musica.terra.com. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  28. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2010-02-16). "Alicia Keys Reveals Her 'Chemistry' With Beyonce On Brazil Video Set". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  29. ^ Stransky, Tanner (2011-03-10). "Beyoncé and Alicia Keys' 'Put It In a Love Song' video: Watch a delightful preview here". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  30. ^ Taylor, Derrick (2012-09-21). "Exclusive: Alicia Keys Talks Girl on Fire Details, Solves 'Put It in a Love Song' Video Mystery". Essence. Essence Communications. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  31. ^ “” (2010-03-07). "Alicia Keys & Beyoncé - Put It In A Love Song (LIVE at MSG - Front Row)". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  32. ^ Kot, Greg (2010-03-04). "Concert Review: Alicia Keys at Allstate Arena". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  33. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Alicia Keys feat. Beyoncé – Put It In A Love Song". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  34. ^ "Brasil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brasil (in Portuguese) (Sao Paolo) 2: 84. August 2010. 
  35. ^ "Brasil Hot & Popular Songs". Billboard Brasil (in Portuguese) (Brazil: BPP): 85. August 2010. 
  36. ^ "Alicia Keys Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Alicia Keys. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  37. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  38. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Alicia Keys feat. Beyoncé – Put It in a Love Song". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  39. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart". Gaon Chart. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Alicia Keys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Alicia Keys. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  42. ^ "Top 40 Rhythmic Future Releases | R&B Song and Hip-Hop Music Release Dates". All Access. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 

External links[edit]