4 Page Letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"4 Page Letter"
4PageLetter.jpg
Single by Aaliyah
from the album One in a Million
B-side"Death of a Playa"
ReleasedMarch 11, 1997 (1997-03-11)
Format
Recorded1996
Pyramid Studios
(Ithaca, New York)
GenreR&B
Length4:52
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Timbaland
Aaliyah singles chronology
"One in a Million"
(1996)
"4 Page Letter"
(1997)
"Up Jumps da Boogie"
(1997)

"4 Page Letter" is a song by American singer Aaliyah from her second studio album One in a Million (1996). The song was written by both Missy Elliot and Timbaland with the latter producing the song. Musically the song is an R&B ballad that talks about Aaliyah expressing her feelings for her crush in the form of a letter. The song was released as the albums fourth single by Blackground and Atlantic on March 11, 1997. Upon its release the song was met with generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising both Aaliyah's delivery and the songs production.

In the United States the song performed moderately well peaking within the top 20 at number 12 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart on the week ending on April 19, 1997. On the US Rhythmic charts the song peaked within the top 40 at number 26 on the week ending on May 17, 1997. Internationally the song performed even better peaking at number 24 on the UK official charts. Also in the UK the song peaked within the top 10 on the official R&B charts at number 9 on the week ending on August 24, 1997. Also on August 24, 1997 song peaked within the top 20 at number 16 on the UK official dance charts.

Lyrical interpretation[edit]

On "4 Page Letter" Aaliyah "express her affection for a dude who caught her eye" by communicating her feelings for him in the form of a love letter.[1] "Singing Mama always told me to be careful who I love/And daddy always told me make sure he's right/I always had my eyes on this one particular guy/I was too shy so I decided to write, Aaliyah gets intimate about her inner-yearning for the apple of her eye and decides to get her feelings off of her chest by penning a detailed letter, which we get a glimpse of in audio form".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Ross Scarano from Complex praised the production on the song saying "Timbaland's production is like a haunted maze you walk. And the final payoff you encounter, that languid synth line at nearly five minutes in, is so sticky and fine, you can't help but hit replay to find it again".[3] Nakita Rathod from HotNewHipHop felt that the "slow but sexy beat" fit well with Aaliyah's voice.[4] Kenneth Partridge from Billboard felt that Aaliyah displayed a "stunning" example of maturity beyond her years on "4 Page Letter". He also felt that she treated Timbaland's "tissuey beat like fine stationery".[5] In a review for the album "One In A Million" Connie Johnson from the Los Angeles Times praised the song and called it "gently poignant".[6] According to Bob Waliszewski from Plugged In the song " finds the artist recalling-and following-her parents' advice".[7] Bianca Gracie from Fuse believes that "4 Page Letter" remains one of the best ballads in Aaliyah's discography.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

"4 Page Letter" was released as the album's fourth single on March 11, 1997 and the song peaked within the top 20 at number 12 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart on April 19, 1997.[9] On the rhythmic chart the song peaked within top 40 at number 26 on May 17, 1997.[10] Internationally the song peaked within the top 40 on the UK official charts at number 24 on August 30, 1997.[11] Also in the UK the song peaked within the top 20 at number 14 on the Official UK Dance singles chart on August 24, 1997.[12] On the Official UK R&B charts the song peaked within the top 10 at number 9 on August 24, 1997 as well.[13]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

The music video for "4 Page Letter" was directed by Daniel Pearl[14] and the concept for the video was created by Aaliyah's brother Rashad Haughton.[14] The concept for the video was in the style of a short story and it was translated into a short film.[14] Pearl elaborated on the video treatment process saying "I basically wrote it up as a film, described it scene by scene, some descriptions of what the shots will be, etc. We went from there".[14] The video was shot in a place called Sable Ranch in California and according to the director Sable Ranch is about 45 minutes away from Los Angeles.[14] While discussing the video's location in an interview Pearl said "I had a great production designer and we basically went into an existing forest and we dressed it with some of the vintage and some of the things to make it more interesting than it was, it took a couple of days".[14] The videos opening scene had a big crane shoot and Pearl explained that a crane is "a 75-foot long crane arm that came out of Russia. With that crane in the forest, we started up above the trees and we smoked up the background and the sunlight was coming through the trees. We drop down and pick Aaliyah up as she crosses along a stream".[14]

Synopsis[edit]

The setting in which the music video takes place in is in a forest

The video takes place in a forest and shows Aaliyah secretly watching a man dance in a clearing near a rustic village. The video moves to a circle of men watching two men fight, then Aaliyah and the man dance together in a circle of fire. Jordan Simon from Idolator felt that the video for "4 Page Letter" displayed a striking resemblance to the film Lord of the Flies and the television show Lost.[15]

Reception[edit]

The "4 Page Letter" video made its television debut on the week ending of April 20, 1997 on cable network channels such as BET, The Box and MTV.[16] For the week ending on June 8, 1997, the music video was the twenty-ninth most played video on the MTV network.[17] Meanwhile the video was the twentieth most played Video on the BET network for the week ending on June 15, 1997.[18] Bianca Gracie from Fuse believes that the music video for "4 Page Letter" "drove the romantic message home".[8]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[19] 97
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[20] 49
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[21] 94
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[22] 24
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[23] 14
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[24] 9
US Radio Songs (Billboard)[25] 59
US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (Billboard)[26] 12
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[27] 26

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format
United States March 11, 1997 (1997-03-11) Radio airplay
United Kingdom August 14, 1997 (1997-08-14) CD single / 12-inch single

References[edit]

  1. ^ "10 Best Songs From Aaliyah Songs". The Boombox. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "ONE IN A MILLION' PUSHED AALIYAH TO THE FOREFRONT OF R&B'S NEW SCHOOL". The Boombox. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "The 25 Best Aaliyah Songs". Complex. May 19, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "Remembering Aaliyah: 20 Great Tracks From The Late Singer". HotNewHipHop. January 16, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "Aaliyah's 'One In a Million' Turns 20: How Her Second Album Predicted R&B's Future". Billboard. August 27, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  6. ^ "Aaliyah's Spirit Sounds Like a 'Million". Los Angeles Times. September 28, 1996. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  7. ^ "One In a Million Review". Plugged In. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "AALIYAH'S 15 BEST DEEP CUTS & ALBUM TRACKS". Fuse. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  9. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Rhythmic Songs". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Aaliyah". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  12. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. August 31, 1997. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. September 28, 1997. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Augustin, Camille (August 26, 2016). "Aaliyah Week: How 'One In A Million' Pushed The Envelope Of R&B". Vibe. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Simon, Jordan (August 26, 2016). "Aaliyah's 'One In A Million' Turns 20: Backtracking". Idolator. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "Video Monitor". Billboard. May 3, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Video Monitor". Billboard. June 21, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "Video Monitor". Billboard. June 28, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Euro Chart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. September 6, 1997. p. 12. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  20. ^ "Charts.nz – Aaliyah – 4 Page Letter". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  21. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  22. ^ "Aaliyah: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  23. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  24. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  25. ^ "Aaliyah Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  26. ^ "Aaliyah Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  27. ^ "Aaliyah Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved November 29, 2017.

External links[edit]