The Way I Are

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"The Way I Are"
Single by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson and D.O.E.
from the album Shock Value
Released June 15, 2007 (2007-06-15)
Format Digital download, CD
Recorded 2006
Virginia Beach, Virginia
(Thomas Crown Studios)
Genre Hip hop, electropop, techno
Length 2:59 (Album Version)
3:19 (Radio Edit)
3:34 (Extended Version; featuring Sebastian)
Label Mosley, Blackground, Interscope
Writer(s) Tim Mosley, Nate Hills, Keri Hilson, The Clutch, Candice Nelson, John Maultsby
Producer(s) Timbaland, Danja
Certification see below
Timbaland singles chronology
"Anonymous"
(2007)
"The Way I Are"
(2007)
"Throw It on Me"
(2007)
Keri Hilson chronology
"Help"
(2006)
"The Way I Are"
(2007)
"Scream"
(2007)
Music video
"The Way I Are" on YouTube

"The Way I Are" is a song performed by American producer, songwriter and rapper Timbaland, released as the second single from his second studio album, Shock Value (2007). The song features vocals by American singer and songwriter Keri Hilson and American rapper D.O.E.. All three artists co-wrote the song together with Danja, The Clutch and Candice Nelson. Timbaland and Danja also produced the song together. Mosley Music Group, in association with Blackground Records and Interscope Records, serviced the song to contemporary hit and rhythmic radios in the United States on June 15, 2007. "The Way I Are" is an electropop and disco song with influences of R&B and dance music that help create its futuristic sound. Its lyrics are based on the theme of role reversal and sensuous desires.

"The Way I Are" received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Many complimented the song's futuristic dance sound while others dismissed the lyrics. There were notable comparisons made by critics to songs from Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds, especially "My Love" (2007) and "SexyBack" (2006). The song fared better commercially around the world. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over three million units in the United States. It became Timbaland's second solo single to reach the top five in the country as well as his second longest-running single there, behind "Apologize". Internationally, "The Way I Are" reached number one in several countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Elsewhere, the song reached the top five region in all other countries including Austria, France, Germany, New Zealand, and Russia.

The accompanying music video was directed by Shane Drake and takes place in a dark alley-like area in the United Kingdom. The director noted that the influence of making the video came from the sound of the song and used the rhythm and beats to add effects to make the video have an edgy appeal. "The Way I Are" received a nomination for Monster Single of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards as well as a nomination under the Producer of the Year (Non-Classical), listed with other songs produced by Timbaland and released during 2007, at the 2008 Grammys.

Background[edit]

"The Way I Are" was written and composed by Timbaland, Keri Hilson, D.O.E., Danja, The Clutch, and Candice Nelson.[1] Timbaland and Danja also handled production.[1] Danja collaborated with Timbaland on other songs from the Shock Value album, including "Give It to Me" and "Come and Get Me".[1] Danja has also collaborated with Hilson on other songs on the album as well as songs for Britney Spears' fifth studio album Blackout (2007), which include "Gimme More", "Break the Ice" and "Perfect Lover".[2] Recording for the song, along with all the songs from the album, was handled by Demacio "Demo" Castellon and took place at Timbaland's private recording studio, Thomas Crown Studios, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[1] Marcella Araica mixed the song at Pacifique Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California.[1] The instruments were handled by Timbaland, who provided the drums, and Danja, who provided the drums and keys.[1] The song was edited through ProTools by Ron Taylor.[1] "The Way I Are" was released as the second single from Shock Value, after "Give It to Me". Mosley Music Group, in association with Blackground Records and Interscope Records, sent the song to contemporary hit and rhythmic radios on June 15, 2007.[3][4]

Composition[edit]

A 15-second sample of the chorus of "The Way I Are", which features Hilson and Timbaland singing about an exchange of sexual performances for money.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"The Way I Are" is an electropop and disco song with a length of 2:59 (2 minutes and 59 seconds).[5] The song incorporates heavy elements of R&B, dance and electronic music and has been noted by critics to exhibit a futuristic sound.[6][7] It is built upon a club beat and heavy synths.[7] The lyrics are centered around the theme of sexual desire and role reversal, in which the male protagonist confesses that he is without money and female protagonist, attracted to him, promises money in exchange for sexual activity.[8] Kelefa Sanneh of New York Times describes the track as a "swirling electronic come-on"[9] while Luke Bainbridge of The Observer labels it as "futuristic disco."[10] Critics found the song to share similarities with works by American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake, who has worked with Timbaland on numerous occasions, from his second studio album Future Sex/Love Sounds (2006). Mike Schiller of PopMatters compared the synthesizers on the song to those utilized in Timberlake's single "My Love" (2006),[11] which both him and Timbaland share songwriting and production credits. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine felt the same way, describing the synth line as "booming" and "futuristic".[12] Norman Meyers of Prefix compared the song to Timberlake's "SexyBack".[6] Nate Patrin of Pitchfork Magazine described the song as ""Push It" gone trance."[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Norman Meyers of Prefix took a liking to the song, stating it and "Release" (featuring Justin Timberlake) as "successful tracks".[6] Luke Bainbridge of The Observer also shared interest in the track, labeling it along with "Release" and "Bounce" as "standout tracks"[10] while Andy Kellman of Allmusic did the same with the song along with three other songs from the Shock Value album.[14] Daniel Incognito of Sputnikmusic praised the song's structure, writing "The pulsating synth melody throughout the song is as irresistible as its My Love counterpart, and a sure fire way to get everybody on the dance floor." Incognito also fell in favor of the vocals provided by Timbaland's protégé, Keri Hilson, writing "Her plush R&B vocals fit into Timbaland’s construction perfectly, never allowing the strong melody to dominate her vocals, but instead matching it in terms of lure."[15] Nate Patrin of Pitchfork Magazine describes the song as a "straight up jaw-dropper" while commenting about its lyrics, writing them off as "the most empty, dead-eyed, joyless lyrics to hit the clubs in a while."[13] Nathan S. of DJBooth.net labeled it, along with three other songs from the album, as recipes for success while noting that they sounded "safe" compared to the rest of the album.[16]

Ivan Rott of About.com was less enthusiastic of the song, deeming it mediocre and stating that it was "veering off into a no-man's land of repetitive synth-heavy electronica."[7] Andrea Park of The Online Gargoyle shared the same thoughts in her review of the album, stating that "The flat quality of this album was most apparent in the five songs with accompanying female vocalists."[17] "The Way I Are" received a nomination at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards for "Monster Single of the Year" along with nine other musicians, but lost to Rihanna's "Umbrella".[18][19] Timbaland also received a nomination at the 2008 Grammys for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) for his work on this song and many others released during 2007.[20] On December 11, 2007, Apple released the lists of iTunes' top 10 most-downloaded albums and songs of 2007 and "The Way I Are" was revealed to be the ninth best selling single on iTunes.[21] Vibe Magazine listed "The Way I Are" as the thirty-third best song of 2007, commenting that "the true genius is spotlighting ingénue Keri Hilson."[5]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number seventy-eight on the issue dated June 16, 2007.[22] After ten weeks of ascending the chart, it peaked at number three on the issue dated August 25, 2007 after an increase in airplay, becoming the week's greatest airplay gainer.[23] The song stayed on the position for four non-consecutive weeks.[24] "The Way I Are" reached the summit of the U.S. Billboard Pop Songs on the issue dated September 15, 2007 and stayed there for three consecutive weeks.[25] The song ranked eighteenth on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart for 2007 as well as ranking number four on the 2000s decade on the Pop Songs chart compiled by Billboard.[26][27] According to Nielsen SoundScan, the song has sold over three million copies in the United States as of April 4, 2012.[28] On the issue dated June 2, 2007, the song debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number forty-four.[24][29] In it sixth week on the chart, it moved into the top ten region at number seven and, after weeks of ascending the chart, reached the top position, where it lasted for three weeks.[29] It was present on the chart for a total of fifty-two weeks, becoming Timbaland's second-longest-running single in the country, only behind "Apologize" with OneRepublic (61 weeks).[29]

In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number eighteen on the UK Singles Chart on July 1, 2007 ― for the week ending date July 7, 2007.[30] On July 29, 2007 ― for the week ending date August 4, 2007 ― it ascended to the top of the chart, becoming Timbaland's second chart-topping single in the Britain, following "Give It to Me".[31] It maintained the top position for two weeks and became his second longest-running single there (36 weeks), behind "Apologize" (42 weeks) and ahead of "Give It to Me" (26 weeks).[29]

In the Republic of Ireland, "The Way I Are" peaked at number one on the Irish Singles Chart and held that position for five consecutive weeks.[29][32] It was present within the top ten for sixteen weeks and lasted a total of thirty weeks on the chart.[29]

In Denmark, "The Way I Are" entered the Danish Singles Chart at number five as the highest debut of the week.[33] The following week it rose to number one where it maintained that position for ten consecutive weeks, becoming Timbaland's most successful single in the country as well as highest selling song there, receiving the certification of triple platinum.[33][34]

In Australia, after ascending the chart following its debut at number five, the track peaked at number one on the Australian Singles Chart for two weeks.[35] It was later certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) denoting sales of 70,000 units.[36]

In New Zealand, the song debuted at number thirty-eight on the New Zealand Singles Chart on the week ending June 11, 2007. It quickly ascended into the top ten and reached a peak of number two on the issue dated July 23, 2007. It was certified gold on August 20, 2007 by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) denoting shipments of 7,500 units.[37]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was shot in the United Kingdom (Salford, England) on May 18, 2007. It was directed by Shane Drake.[38] Drake commented on the video and said:

I like to tell stories with my videos — and Timbaland's new video is going to be unlike any other. Utilizing the tools of incendiary cinematography and fierce lighting schemes, I plan to sculpt an edgy masterpiece, oozing with style and impact. With each rhythmic pulse and beat we will time crafty edits, sharp as tacks and smooth as steel. This video is going to be an artistic expression of Timbaland's music. As an added element of force and velocity, we will follow Timbaland as he cruises around the city. From the colors, to the wardrobe — to the edits, we will craft a slick masterpiece that defies genre and truly defines cool & will show off Timbaland in a "super" music video.

The video version includes an extra verse from Timbaland's brother Sebastian. This verse was added to 'pad out' the song, as the album version of the song has an elongated period of time in which nothing but the beat is played.[39] Though being unusual for American music video productions, the video world premiered and received its first official airing on June 15 on the German music television channel VIVA. The video also includes three British freestyle football players. A "director's cut" of the video is now on YouTube and it features Timbaland in a black cab and shows him in a more casual perspective. The music video has received over 100 million views on YouTube.[40]

Live performances and usage in media[edit]

Timbaland performed "The Way I Are" with Keri Hilson, along with "Do It" with Nelly Furtado and "LoveStoned/I Think She Knows" with Justin Timberlake, at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.[41] At the 2009 Grammy Award show pre-party, Timbaland performed the song with Hilson while she performed two songs from her debut album In a Perfect World..., "Energy" and "Turnin Me On".[42] On October 9, 2007, Timbaland performed "The Way I Are" with Keri Hilson on an episode of One Life to Live, along with "Apologize" with OneRepublic.[43] "The Way I Are" was featured in commercials for McDonald's.[44] It was also featured on the MTV television series The Hills on its fifth episode for its third season.[45] The song was also used on the CW television series Gossip Girl during the pilot episode on its first season.[46] This song was used as ringtone in the film "Step Up 2" by Moose enacted by Adam G. Sevani

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Shock Value, Mosley Music Group, in association with Blackground Records and Interscope Records.[1]

Recording and mixing
Personnel

Track listing[edit]

UK CD single
  1. "The Way I Are" (Extended Version) (featuring Keri Hilson, D.O.E. & Sebastian)
  2. "The Way I Are" (Timbaland vs. Nephew) (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.)
European CD single
  1. "The Way I Are" (Radio Edit) (featuring Keri Hilson)
  2. "Give It to Me" (Laugh at 'em) Remix (featuring Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z)
  3. "The Way I Are" (Timbaland vs. Nephew) (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.)
  4. "The Way I Are" (Video)
French CD single
  1. "The Way I Are" (French Version) (featuring Tyssem)
  2. "The Way I Are" (Radio Edit) (featuring Keri Hilson)

Official versions and remixes[edit]

  • Album Version (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) - 2:59
  • Extended/Video Version (featuring Keri Hilson, D.O.E. & Sebastian) - 3:34
  • Radio Edit (featuring Keri Hilson) - 3:19
  • Instrumental - 3:34
  • Japanese Version (featuring Hiromi & WISE) - 3:12
  • French Version (featuring Tyssem) - 3:23
  • Timbaland vs. Nephew (Remix) (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) - 3:50
  • OneRepublic Remix (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) - 3:33
  • Axwell Remix (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) - 6:29
  • Jatins Desi Mix (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) - 3:30
  • Madcow Studios Mix "Ulduar" (featuring Summergale & Cranius, a World of Warcraft version) - 3:17
  • Spanish Version (featuring Keri Hilson & Jayko) - 3:54

Cover versions[edit]

  • Danish rock band Nephew has remixed this song, including additional lyrics.[47]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[99] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[100] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[101] 4× Platinum 60,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[102] Platinum 15,000*
Sweden (GLF)[103] Platinum 20,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[104] Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[105] Gold 400,000^
United States (RIAA)[106] 3× Platinum 3,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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External links[edit]