|Single by Ariana Grande|
|from the album Yours Truly|
|Released||July 22, 2013|
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. The song was initially written with the singer Beyoncé in mind, but she rejected it. "Baby I" is an R&B and pop song with drums, horns and a syncopated beat. It also contains an uptempo '90s-inspired beat. Lyrically, the song is about not being able to fully express your feelings towards someone you love. The song was well received by music critics who complimented the song's "throwback" sound while others praised Grande's vocals comparing to the singer Mariah Carey.
The song was serviced to contemporary hit radio in the United States on August 8, 2013. Commercially, it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at its peak position of number 21 mainly due to the strong digital sales, 141,000 copies, during its first week of availability, and stayed in the charts for four non-consecutive weeks. The single also earned a top twenty peak on the US Dance Club Songs and charted within the top thirty of the Rhythmic chart. Internationally, the recording placed in number 67 in Australia, 57 in Canada, while reaching number six in Japan and earned a gold certification in the country becoming Grande's first top 10 single in this region. "Baby I" has since been certified Gold by the RIAJ and Platinum by the RIAA.
It was accompanied by a music video directed by Ryan Pallotta and filmed in the New York City. It was released on Vevo channel on September 5, 2013. The video was well received by critics who complimented Grande's styling and the video's concept. According to Grande, she wanted to emulate "the breeziness of early 90s music videos" and cited the style of actor Will Smith and the group TLC as two sources of inspiration. It featured Grande dancing in the streets wearing top and shorts. The singer promoted "Baby I" with several televised performances, including on 2013 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show in a medley with "The Way" and at the 2013 Worldwide Day of Play. The song was included on the set list of Grande's 2013 concert tour Listening Sessions and Honeymoon Tour (2015).
Background and release
"Baby I" was written by Kenneth Edmonds, commonly known as Babyface, Antonio Dixon and Patrick "J. Que" Smith, while the song's production was handled by the former two. The song was originally written by Babyface for Beyoncé, however, she rejected it. During sessions at Brandon's Way Recording Studios in Los Angeles, Babyface played the song to Grande, she immediately agreed to record 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 in the United States in digital download format on July 22, 2013, by Republic Records and was sent to US contemporary hit radios on August 6, 2013, by the same label. In an interview with Complex, Grande stated that it was actually Mac Miller who picked "Baby I" to be the second single from her album. Despite her disbelief in releasing it as the second single, she enjoys the recording, since it is reminiscent of "Dreamgirls".
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 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 the second 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 three minutes and seventeen seconds. According to the music sheet published by Sony Music Publishing, "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 spans from the low note D♭4 to the high note G♭6. The elements demonstrated on the track are further illustrated by its use of horns, such as trumpet, saxophone and trombone. a syncopated beat. A writer from Rap-Up described the track as a "summertime record" which features Grande's "big vocals" over a "breezy beat". Similarly, MTV's Jenna Rubenstein agreed noting that the track is "set to a syncopated, breezy, summery, R&B-tinged beat." Several critics noted the 90's influences not only in this track, but also in the album.
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 this matter, Grande said that she could related to the song's lyrics because she is "so awkward and so flustered," especially if it's towards the beginning of a relationship. Also, the composition has a remix of Deep Note from THX. 
"Baby I" received generally positive reviews from most music critics. 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" dubbing it as a throwback and felt that the song argued Grande as "the new Mariah". Pitchfork's Andrew Ryce gave a positive review to the song and believed that "Baby I" is "most representative of where Grande is at this stage in her career." Ryce also noted a diversity of characteristics presents in the track, "from its Britney-esque "yeah yeah yeahs" to the punchy horn riffs that somehow melt into a staggered hip-hop verse," and further opined that "Grande's boundless energy means she can power through like no one else", by using her voice as if it was nothing.
Reviewing the album Yours Truly, an editor from Sputnikmusic felt that "Baby I" as well as "The Way" "are the only sections he genuinely enjoyed and revisited countless times." Digital Spy's Lewis Corner commented that "is an infectiously bouncy jam of love-struck jitters." Analysing the album, Gregory Rich of The Michigan Daily thought that "most tracks are of quality composition, lyrically and melodically, but beat usage becomes excessive at times." He also said that "Baby I exploits nearly every beat in existence, resulting in messiness." Writing for MTV, Jenna Hally Rubenstein praised the vocal performance explored in the song comparing to Grande's previous single, according to her, while "The Way" "set the bar pretty high for Ariana", "Baby I," "sets the bar even higher" and referred to the song as "a more than worthy followup."
In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 21 for the week marked at August 10, 2013, making it her second Top 40 single after "The Way". "Baby I" sold 141,000 digital copies during its first week of availability, 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. Following the release of its music video, "Baby I" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts at number 94, rising to number 60 the following week. On the US Dance Club Songs chart, the song peaked at number 18 after charting for ten weeks. It also reached number 28 on Rhythmic chart. Almost five years after its release, "Baby I" was certified Platinum by the RIAA in March 2018, becoming her fifth solo single to be certified Platinum or above.
In Canada, "Baby I" debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at its peak position of number 57 for the week marked at August 10, 2013 following its release. In the United Kingdom, "Baby I" entered the UK R&B Chart at number 26 during the album release. In Australia, "Baby I" debuted at number 67 on August 3, 2013, on the ARIA Charts. The single also saw success in Japan, where "Baby I" reached a peak of number six, making it her first top 10 in that country. In the Japanese year-end charts of 2013, the song was placed at number 38. It was certified gold by the RIAJ.
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. By July 2018, the music video has been viewed over 155 million times on Vevo.
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." 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.
The video begins with Grande arriving at a party. For the first verse, the singer is appears accompanied of her friends shutting down the block as she rocks a pair of short shorts and a midriff-baring top which according to Garibaldi, is reminiscent of Mariah Carey's ensemble in the 1995 "Fantasy" video. Halfway through the video, another scene is introduced, with Grande dancing and singing in the streets with a "frilly top and high-waist shorts on." Lucas Villa from AXS noted that Grande dances in a New York City street, she also appears with her dancers singing in a bus. Eventually Grande makes her way back to the house party, which is complete with "inflatable microphones and boom boxes."
Ariana Grande performed the song at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show in medley with "The Way". She sang only the first verse, chorus and bridge before moving into "The Way". Caitlin White from MTV praised Grande's performance while commented that her "stunning, unstoppable belt proved she could handle the spotlight all on her own." Grande also performed "Baby I" at the 2013 Worldwide Day of Play. In a video published in her YouTube channel, the singer performed an acoustic version of the song accompanied by musician Dan Kanter. The song was also included as part of her headlining tour The Listening Sessions, and during her opening concerts for Justin Bieber's Believe Tour. it also appeared during some shows of her 2015 concert tour The Honeymoon Tour. The song was also included as part of Grande's set list on the Summer Sonic Festival in Chiba, Japan on August 16, 2014.
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)
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Radio and release history
|United States||July 22, 2013||Digital download||Republic|
|August 6, 2013||Contemporary hit radio|
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