|Single by Ariana Grande|
|from the album Yours Truly|
|Released||July 22, 2013|
|Recorded||Brandon's Way Recording Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
|Ariana Grande singles chronology|
"Baby I" is a song recorded by American singer Ariana Grande for her debut studio album Yours Truly (2013). It was written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio Dixon and Patrick "J. Que" Smith and produced by the first two. The song was released by Republic Records on July 22, 2013, as the second single from the album. "Baby I" is an R&B-influenced song with urban drums, horns, a syncopated beat, finger snaps, handclaps and strings during the bridge. It also contains an uptempo '90s-inspired beat with '70s disco energy. Lyrically, the song is about not being able to fully express how much you are crushing on that special someone.
Commercially, the song reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting with 141,000 digital copies sold during its first week of availability. It also peaked number 67 in Australia, 57 in Canada and 37 on Netherlands, while reaching number six in Japan, becoming the song top 10 single from Yours Truly. Its music video was published on the Vevo platform on September 5, 2013, it shows Grande dancing in the streets wearing top and shots. In contrast with the song's production, the video was inspired by 1990s outfits. Grande performed the song at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show in medley with "The Way".
Background and release
"Baby I" was written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (known as "Babyface"), Antonio Dixon and Patrick Smith, while the song's production was handled by the first two. The song was originally written by "Babyface" for Beyoncé, however, the singer rejected it. During sessions at Brandon's Way Recording Studios in Los Angeles, "Babyface" played the song to Grande, she immediately agreed recorded the song. Following its recording, the song was mixed by Jaycen Joshua at Larrabee Studios and mastered by Tom Coyne and Aya Marrill at Sterling Sound. "Baby I" was released for digital download on July 22, 2013. In an interview with Complex, Grande stated that it was actually Mac Miller who picked "Baby I" to be the second single for her album."I didn't pick 'Baby I' as the second single, Mac Miller picked 'Baby I' as the second single and that's honestly the only reason why it was the second single. I was skeptical about it but I loved the song just because it feels a lot like Dreamgirls to me." She added.
Grande also opined that "Baby I" was more "sophisticated" and "mature" and showed off her musicality and vocals more than her previous hit single "The Way", which was part of what made her excited to release the song. It's so glamorous and I love the song so much and I feel like it shows off my musicality more than 'The Way' did—vocally and just the song itself is such a statement and that's what I love about it. 'Baby I' is special in the way it's just musical." She was revealing snippets of the song days before its release. The song received another version in 2014, which was released as a bonus track for the Japanese version of Grande's sophomore album My Everything, featuring Japanese musician Taro Hakase. The song features new arrangements in the background instrumental, with Hakaro playing violin during the whole song. This version was also featured as the 2nd credits theme for the 2014–2015 anime series GO-GO Tamagotchi!, making it the only song in that series not to be sung in Japanese.
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"Baby I" is an uptempo pop and R&B song that runs for a duration of three minutes and 17 seconds. According to the music sheet published by Sony Music Publishing on Musicnotes.com, "Baby I" is written in the key of Db major and set in a 4
4 time signature at a moderate tempo of 100 beats per minute. Grande's vocal range spawns from the low note D♭4 to the high note G♭6. A writer from Rap-Up described the track as a "summertime record" which features Grande's "big vocals" over a "breezy beat". Several critics noted the '90's influence demonstrated in "Baby I". The elements of "Baby I" are further illustrated by its use of finger snaps, a syncopated beat, horns such as trumpet, saxophone and trombone.
Lyrically, the song is a confession on Grande's behalf admitting a special love for someone and how she can't formulate her strong feelings into words. Regarding the lyrics, Grande had commented: "Personally when it comes to me expressing myself with other people, especially if it's towards the beginning of a crush or the beginning of a relationship, I'm so awkward and so flustered in that way, I'm always so nervous to express myself that I feel like it's a very me song in that way."
Sam Lansky of the website Idolator opined that Grande succeeded in "meeting the bar where she set it with her debut," while praising her "extraordinary vocal performance" and describing her vocal runs as "nothing short of everything." He also stated, "Comparisons to Mariah Carey are starting to grow tiresome, but truly — who else has a range like that?" Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly praised the production of "Baby I" as a "real throwback" and felt that the song argued Grande as "the new Mariah", writing: "Her range isn't anywhere near Carey's was at her peak (the runs at the end of 'Baby I' sound like they push her to the limit), but her ability to shift between cooing and belting is pretty spot-on." Pitchfork's Andrew Ryce gave a positive review to the song writing that "Baby I" is "most representative of where Grande is at this stage in her career." And added, "It's a hodgepodge of familiar clichés, from its Britney-esque "yeah yeah yeahs" to the punchy horn riffs that somehow melt into a staggered hip-hop verse. It's a cross-generational mess of influences, and all the better for it; Grande's boundless energy means she can power through like no one else, tying hooks into knots with her voice as if it were nothing." The reviewer from Sputnikmusic felt that "Baby I" as well as "The Way" "are the only sections I geniuninely enjoyed and revisited countless times (enough to keep them on repeat on my music player for a few weeks);" Fuse's editor agreed, describing "Baby I" as "a spry, bouncy pop song in the vein of "The Way," "Baby I" finds Grande flexing her Mariah-esque voice."
Digital Spy's Lewis Corner commented that "is an infectiously bouncy jam of love-struck jitters." Analysing the album Yours Truly, Gregory Rich of The Michigan Daily wrote that "most tracks are of quality composition, lyrically and melodically, but beat usage becomes excessive at times." And addedthat "Baby I exploits nearly every beat in existence, resulting in messiness." Writing for the MTV blog, Jenna Hally Rubenstein wrote, "While 'The Way' set the bar pretty high for Ariana, I'm suuuper pumped to say that her latest single, 'Baby I,' sets the bar even higher" and referred to the song as "a more than worthy followup." The Huffington Post wrote: "We've said it before and we'll say it again: Ariana is channeling some serious '90s Mariah Carey vibes in her new music – in the best way possible."
"Baby I" sold 141,000 digital copies during its first week of availability, debuting at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it her second Top 40 hit. The song also debuted at number six on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart, making Grande the only female music artist to debut two songs in the top ten of the Hot Digital Songs chart during the year 2013. With the anticipated release of the music video, "Baby I" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts at number 94. "Baby I" entered the UK R&B Chart at number 26 during the album release. In Japan, "Baby I" peaked at number six, making it her first top 10 in that country.
Filming for the song's music video took place July 28–29, 2013. Grande hinted that the video would "travel" back to the 1990s and that there would be "lots of color" and "lots of baggy clothes." A 'teaser video' was posted on Grande's personal YouTube channel September 5, 2013. The official music video was released on September 6, 2013 on her Vevo account. The video surpassed 100 million views on July 13, 2015, making it Grande's seventh Vevo-certified music video after "One Last Time". According to Christina Garibaldi from MTV, the video "takes a page straight out of the '90s, from the overalls to the graphic T's and mismatched prints. All they missed were the snap bracelets!" She added, "Grande and her crew shutting down the block as she rocks a pair of short shorts and a midriff-baring top, reminiscent of Mariah Carey's ensemble in the 1995 "Fantasy" video." Speaking about the video concept to Billboard, Grande said:
"It's like a 90's, throwback-type vibe, when I said 'I want it to look like this,' I said like a TLC, Fresh Prince type vibe. I was like, 'Let's just get really silly, 90's amazing outfits, and just go out and dance around and have fun."
Garibaldi also analyzed: "Grande, who promised the clip would make her fans smile, tosses her signature locks and sings sweetly to the camera as she takes her party from the streets to the rooftop to the bus. Eventually, Grande trades in the short shorts for overalls and the sky-high heels for sneakers, as she shows off her adorable running man moves flanked by her back-up dancers. Eventually Grande makes her way back to the house party, which is complete with inflatable microphones and boom boxes." She complemented! Lucas Villa from AXS noted that Grande dances in a New York City street with a "frilly top and high-waist shorts on. She later hits up some painting rafters to bust some more dance moves. Everything about the lighthearted clip screams '90s nostalgia." He said.
Ariana Grande performed the song at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show in medley with "The Way". She performed only the first verse, chorus and bridge before moving into "The Way". Grande also performed "Baby I" at the 2013 Worldwide Day of Play.
Credits and personnel
- Recording and management
- Recorded at Brandon's Way Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
- Mixed at Larrabee Studios (Los Angeles, California)
- Mastered at Sterling Sound (New York City, New York)
- Published by Faze 2 Music — administered by Songs of Universal, Inc. — (BMI), Rafael's Son Music. (ASCAP), Christopher Matthew Music Publishing/BMG. (BMI)
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Radio and release history
|United States||July 22, 2013||Digital download||Republic|
|August 8, 2013||Rhythm crossover radio|
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