Fear of Flying (album)

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Fear of Flying
Mya - Fear of Flying.png
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 25, 2000 (2000-04-25)
RecordedSeptember 1999 – March 2000
Studio
GenreHip hop soul[1]
Length63:44
Label
Producer
Mýa chronology
Mýa
(1998)
Fear of Flying
(2000)
Moodring
(2003)
Singles from Fear of Flying
  1. "The Best of Me"
    Released: March 6, 2000
  2. "Case of the Ex"
    Released: August 28, 2000
  3. "Free"
    Released: March 13, 2001

Fear of Flying is the second studio album by American singer Mýa. It is the follow-up to her debut Mýa (1998) and was released by University Music Entertainment and Interscope Records on April 25, 2000 in the United States. Assembled by her label, recording sessions began as early as September 1999 and concluded March 2000. Encouraged by her label, Harrison made the conscious decision to get involved more creatively as well as collaborate with a wider range of producers and songwriters on the album. Among those Harrison chose to work with were Rodney Jerkins, Swizz Beatz, Wyclef Jean, Knobody, Robin Thicke, Tricky Stewart, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to embrace a more sophisticated, mature sound. In her own words, Harrison described Fear of Flying as a metaphor for the ups and downs of life. A reoccurring theme throughout the album includes handling things like an adult and knowing you must have faith to make anything happen.[2] Mýa noted the album as "a reflection of being in love for the very first time, experiencing success and the fears of fame."[3]

Fear of Flying debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200, selling 72,000 copies in its first week. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). The album's lead single, "The Best of Me" (featuring Jadakiss), peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Case of the Ex", reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, while charting within the top 20 in numerous countries. The third and final single, "Free", reached number 42 on Billboard Hot 100 and saw modest success elsewhere, reaching the top 40 in a few countries. Fear of Flying was re-released on November 7, 2000, including "Free" and "Again & Again".[4] To promote the album, Mýa embarked on the Fear of Flying Tour.

Background[edit]

Fugees member Wyclef Jean was consulted to contribute to Fear of Fyling.[5]

In 1998, Mýa released her self-titled debut studio album. The album received generally favorable reviews from music critics, and peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard 200 album chart and number 13 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, eventually being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), while selling over 1.4 million copies in the United States. A critical and commercial success, Mýa spawned three hit singles and earned several accolades, including a NAACP Image Award nomination and two Soul Train Music Award nominations. Following the commercial success of her debut, Mýa quickly re-entered the recording studio to begin work on her second album. During her two years away, she toured with several artists, and made her film debut in the thriller In Too Deep (1999).[6] Additionally, she was selected by Bongo jeans as their spokesperson and had a Tommy Hilfiger lipstick shade named after her.[7] Originally scheduled to drop at the end of February 2000, Mýa consulted several different producers for her follow-up album, including She'kspere, Knobody, Tricky Stewart, and Robin Thicke as well as Wyclef and Swizz Beatz of Ruff Ryders.[5] A number of guest vocalists also contributing to the project, including TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Jordan Knight, and Beenie Man.[8]

Mýa, who did some writing on her debut album, was heavily involved in the production of Fear of Flying, commenting: "I wanted to get that hands-on experience. I was involved in every single process, from writing and recording to producing, mixing, and mastering."[2] In response to the album's material, the singer commented that many of the album's songs are about female empowerment.[2] "I'm learning that the decisions being made ultimately affect me, so I make most of them with the insight and help of other people", she explained. "I still have to focus on what feels good to me and what's going to work in the long run, instead of selling 20 million records or being controversial."[2] Fear of Flying, the album's title, came from a song Mýa recorded by the same name — not from Erica Jong's 1973 novel of the same name. During an interview with Billboard, which discussed the name, Mýa noted that while she had not been aware of the book, she later "started reading it and noticed a lot of similarities: "Fear of Flying is a metaphor for the ups and downs of life. It's about handling things like an adult, knowing you must have faith to make anything happen."[2] Interscope hired photographer and director David LaChapelle to shoot the images for the album's packaging.[9][10] While she admired the work of Dave La Chapelle, Mýa revealed she cropped the original album's cover because it focused on her body, commenting, "I didn't like it. It wasn't capturing."[11]

Development[edit]

While her debut album was a critical and commercial success, Mýa considers her first album as an experiment and a learning ground. Prior to entering a recording studio, she had no vocal training and was doing improv-breathing the whole time on every song. With Fear of Flying, she acknowledged she learned things such as how she like to work and what works right for her in the studio. On Fear of Flying, she received vocal training and noted her vocals got along better with live performances.[12] Speaking with Time, Mýa revealed with Fear of Flying she took more control over her sound and image.[1] She commented that Fear of Flying was "an opportunity and a test."[1] For her second studio album, Mýa wrote a lot.[7] Openly admitting, "Writing helps me sort through feelings that I'm trying to figure out."[7] She noted her journal is filled with curse words and exclamation points, explaining, "It's either extreme highs or extreme lows."[7] In an interview with New York Daily News, Mýa explained, her album is "about independence."[7] She acknowledged with Fear of Flying she became "more confident",[7] while commenting, "I'm a lot more straightforward. Things I didn't know how to say or when to say, I'm saying now."[7] During the recording process, Mýa explained she clicked more with producers that like to start from scratch. Commenting, "It allowed me to be involved in the process. They were interested in what I had to say which made me feel good about myself." One particular producer Mýa gelled with was Wyclef Jean. Speaking on working him, she commented, "He was interested in what I had to say. My ideas - what I had to bring to the table. He wasn't afraid to go back into the studio and change things." Robin Thicke, a then new up and coming producer was another Mýa meshed well with. Of his contribution to Fear of Flying Mýa commented, "he is a true talent and I enjoyed working with him."[12] While reviewing Fear of Flying, in an article, Time noted on her debut effort, Mýa was a "lovestruck teen" while on Fear of Flying, "she's a woman coming face to face with romantic entanglements."[1] With 18 tracks featured on the album, Time applauded the album to manage that rare thing: to combine captivating beats with hummable melodies.[1] Commenting on the finished product, Time wrote, "This is hip-hop soul with plenty of pop appeal."[1]

Music and composition[edit]

Musically, Fear of Flying has been described as a "smooth, catchy, personalized mixture of street-spice hip hop-soul."[13] According to reviewers, the album has more of a focus on themes than coherency of musical style.[14] Sonically, the album's sound veers from quiet storm tracks to hard-edged Timbaland homages to cheerleader romps.[14] The album's focal theme is "proper behavior on the dangerous grounds of courtship" and ranges from uptempo tracks to inspirational ballads.[14] Several of the album's 18 tracks were co-written by Mýa, with Vibe magazine noting in an article that "Mýa tackles difficult melodic and rhythmic twists without ditching a nice conversational tone."[14] Fear of Flying opens with "Case of the Ex", a song structured around producer Tricky Stewart's "driving, Beethoven-meets-Timbaland" chord changes, where Mýa expresses distrust in her lover.[14] It is followed by the "dramatic" "Ride & Shake", which was compared to the work of Whitney Houston.[14] The dance-oriented "Pussycats" served as the album's fourth track and is a nursery rhyme-influenced song produced by Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis.[2]

The album's "combative" sixth track, "The Best of Me", was produced by Swizz Beatz, and features Jadakiss.[14] The TLC-sounding "How You Gonna Tell Me" has Mýa telling her girlfriend to spare her bad advice, while the "dance-floor-ready" "Takin' Me Over", produced by Robin Thicke featuring Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, begins with Mýa acting like the women she has expressed dislike for, while holed up in her bathroom with hair products.[14] Track fourteen, "Can't Believe", is an emotional ballad.[14]

Release and promotion[edit]

Initially set for a late 1999 release, Fear of Flying was later scheduled for a February 2000 release,[5] before Interscope settled on an April 25, 2000 release date.[15] In Germany, it was released June 19, 2000,[16] while in the United Kingdom, Fear of Flying was released on 24 July, 2000.[17] Interscope hoped that the album would attract both pop and R&B/hip-hop audiences,[2] with Steve Stoute, president of black music and executive VP for Interscope-Geffen-A&M commenting that all marketing surrounding the album's release would "be paying attention to the street audiences with this album." He added: "We're also looking to build upon her previous success. She gained a large pop audience through "Ghetto Supastar" and "Take Me There." She's also grown as an artist and her music reflects that."[2] In early April 2000, Billboard reported that Mýa was set to attend MTV's annual Spring Break special in Cancun.[18] Additionally, in that same article it mentioned that Mýa was due to tape an episode of TRL.[18] On April 17, 2000, Mýa performed on The Queen Latifah Show.[19] On May 26, 2000, ABC aired their 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 special which Mýa was apart of.[20] In July 2000, Mýa appeared on the show Farmclub.com her appearance aired on July 10, 2000 on USA network.[21] In the summer of 2000, Mýa opened for Montell Jordan on his European tour, during a Vibe interview it mentioned that she was heading to Germany to begin the tour.[13] On December 6, 2000, Mýa made an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly.[22]

In February 2001, during All Star weekend Mýa performed at the fifth annual NBA Team Up Celebration which was held at Constitution Hall.[23] Also in February Mýa was invited as a presenter at the 43rd Grammy Awards ceremony.[24] Mýa co-hosted and performed at the 2001 Soul Train Music Awards which was held on February 28, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.[25][26] In March 2001, Mýa was apart of Janet Jackson's MTV Icon celebration, during the special she participated in the dance tribute.[27] After serving as an opening act on other featured tours, Mýa branched out on her own and embarked on her first headlining tour. Entitled, the Fear of Flying Tour, the outing was an eleven day city tour that began on March 21, 2001 and concluded April 1, 2001.[28][29] On September 7, 2001 Mýa performed at Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary concert tribute special which was televised.[30] To continue promoting the album, Mýa participated in MTV's Music In High Places, a music and travelogue series where recording artists travel to exotic sites for a series of acoustic concerts.[31][32] She performed acoustic rendition of her songs while in Sicily, performing a set comprising her songs "Free", "Ghetto Superstar", "I'll Be There", "Movin' On", "Sweet Thing", "The Best of Me", among others. Her episode aired on December 20, 2001.[32]

Approximately, seven months later on November 7, 2000, Interscope issued a re-release of Fear of Flying with a revised tracklisting which featured third single, "Free" and a new track called "Again & Again".[33] The re-release issue of Fear of Flying was released 19 February, 2001 in the United Kingdom and May 8, 2001 in Germany.[34][35] The United Kingdom issue contained an early version of "Whatever Bitch" which would later be featured on her third studio album Moodring (2003), while the Australian August 21, 2001 release contained "Girls Like That" and "Telephone Games."[34]

Singles[edit]

In support of album, Interscope Records released three single from Fear of Flying. The album's first single "The Best of Me", featuring rapper Jadakiss, peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 14 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, however, found modest chart success internationally, peaking at number 26 in Germany, while charting moderately in Netherlands and Switzerland. Second single, "Case of the Ex", peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Her second solo top 10 entry, the single became an instant success stateside and marked her breakthrough success internationally. "Case of the Ex" entered the top five in Australia and United Kingdom, the top 10 in Netherlands, the top 20 in Ireland, Canada, and New Zealand, and the top 40 in Germany, France, and Belgium. "Free", Fear of Flying's third and final single, peaked at number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 52 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was a moderate success internationally, reaching the top 20 in the United Kingdom and the top five in Australia. It also appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film Bait, starring Jamie Foxx.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[36]
BillboardFavorable[37]
Entertainment WeeklyC[38]
PeopleFavorable[39]
Q3/5 stars[40]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[41]
The Source(favorable)[40]
Uncut4/5 stars[40]
VibeFavorable[40]
Voir2.5/5 stars[42]

In his review for AllMusic, Jon Azpiri wrote that "Mya's sophomore effort proves that she is a promising young talent, but still has yet to develop the chops necessary to rank among the best of R&B divas." He felt that "without the energy of collaborators in the mix, many of her solo tracks wander into predictability. The album relies too heavily on tepid ballads such as the title track and 'Man of My Life'. Yet songs like 'Can't Believe', "For the First Time', and 'Lie Detector' show an emotional depth that lacked in her debut."[36] Josh Tyrangiel of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a C rating. He found that "Mýa can sing well enough; now she needs to find something to sing about."[38] Rolling Stone magazine writer Ernest Hardy gave the album 2 stars out of 5 and wrote: "The signature quiver in Mýa's voice does give her some sonic identity, but otherwise this could be the music of Destiny's Child, Aaliyah or any of the countless interchangeable hip-hop/R&B divas."[41]

The Source magazine gave the album a positive review, writing, "reaching out to hip-hop heads [...] Mýa proves she can hold her own in this competitive game of young female musicians. She's well on her way [to] the class of elite divas".[40] Uncut called the album a "crafted, coffee-rich affair blending soul and swing [...] it's a grower which oozes class." While Q magazine rated the album 3 stars out of 5 and wrote: "Mýa demonstrates enough sass to suggest a sunny future."[40] Vibe stated, that "the starlet has decided to show off her range [...] as if she and her top-notch producers attempted to wipe out the competition by transforming Mýa into each of her rivals in turn [...] a grand tour through the ever-changing moods of female adolescence".[40]

Accolades[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Result Ref.
2000 Washington Area Music Awards Urban Contemporary Recording Won [43]
Album of the Year Nominated
2001 MOBO Best Album Nominated [44]
Soul Train Music Awards Best R&B/Soul Album - Female Nominated [25]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Fear of Flying debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200 album chart and at number seven on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with first-week sales of 72,000 units sold. At the time, Fear of Flying was her biggest single-week Nielsen SoundScan tally and had bested her debut album's biggest single-week tally which scanned 64,868 during the holiday season of 1998.[45] In its second and third week, Fear of Flying moved estimated 42,784 and 33,907 additional units.[46][47] Thirteen weeks after its release, the album sat at number 109 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of 500,000 copies to retailers on June 8, 2000.[48] By the end of the year, Fear of Flying had sold roughly 886,938 copies.[49] The album was certified platinum by the RIAA on March 28, 2001 and remained on Billboard 200 album chart for 52 consecutive weeks. As of May 2003, Fear of Flying has sold 1.2 million copies in the United States alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[50] Fear of Flying was ranked the 144th best-selling album of 2000 and the following year the 178th best-selling in the United States.[51][52]

Internationally, Fear of Flying charted moderately. In Switzerland, the album debuted at number 84, before peaking at number 33 and spent a total of 16 consecutive weeks on the Swiss Albums Chart. It debuted at number 54 on the Australian Albums Chart and reached number 28 in its 18th non-consecutive week.[53][54] It spent a total of 25 non-consecutive weeks on the chart[55] and was eventually certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association in September 2001. It debuted at number 39 in New Zealand and exited the chart after two weeks. In Germany, the album debuted at number 52 and spent a total of 16 consecutive weeks on the German Albums Chart. It debuted and peaked at number 81 on the UK Albums Chart with one re-entry in June 2001. It failed to move up on the French Albums Chart, spending a total of five consecutive weeks on the chart and peaked at number 102. It debuted at number 51 on Canada's RPM Top Albums/CDs chart and rose 12 spots to number 39 in its second week. It spent a total of nine consecutive weeks on the chart and was later certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association on January 15, 2001. According to Honey magazine, Fear of Flying garnered multiplatinum success worldwide.[56] Combined, her debut album, Mýa (1998) and sophomore album Fear of Flying sold six million albums worldwide.[57]

Legacy[edit]

The Guardian featured Fear of Flying on its 1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die list, lauding Fear of Flying as a new golden age for R&B whilst citing, her vocal performance, noting, "Her lightly melismatic vocals suited these rhythmically tricksy tales, capturing perfectly the highly charged sadness of a dead affair."[58]

Organization Country Accolade Year Source
The Guardian United Kingdom 1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die 2007 [58]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Turn It Up (Intro)" (featuring Swizz Beatz)  1:22
2."Case of the Ex"Christopher "Tricky" Stewart3:56
3."Ride & Shake"Dent4:00
4."That's Why I Wanna Fight"
  • Jerkins
  • L. Daniels[a]
4:35
5."Pussycats"4:21
6."The Best of Me" (featuring Jadakiss)
4:12
7."Lie Detector" (featuring Beenie Man)
  • Jean
  • Duplessis
4:21
8."How You Gonna Tell Me"3:35
9."Grandma Says (Skit)" (featuring Chris Thomas and Nonchalant) Carl "Chucky" Thompson0:48
10."Takin' Me Over" (featuring Left Eye)
  • Thicke
  • ProJay
3:55
11."Now or Never"
  • Thicke
  • ProJay
3:50
12."Fear of Flying"
Jerome "Knobody" Foster4:24
13."Flying (Interlude)"Harrison
  • C. Thompson
  • Harrison
0:52
14."Can't Believe"
Soulshock and Karlin4:16
15."No Tears on My Pillow"
  • Harrison
  • Thicke
  • Thicke
  • ProJay
 
16."For the First Time"4:20
17."Man in My Life"Rod Temperton
4:32
18."Get Over (Outro)"Harrison
  • C. Thompson
  • Harrison
  • Scott Schwertfeger
2:27

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a vocal producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional vocal producer
  • ^[c] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[d] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[e] signifies a Pro Tools producer
  • ^[f] signifies a remixer

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Mýa – vocals (lead and background), production, executive production
  • Jerry Duplessis – production
  • A. Islam Haqq – production, executive production
  • Wyclef Jean – production
  • Rodney Jerkins – production
  • Kandi Burruss – production
  • Pro-Jay – programming, production
  • Chris "Tricky" Stewart – keyboards, programming, production
  • Swizz Beatz – production
  • Robin Thicke – programming, production
  • Anthony Dent – programming, production
  • Brandon Abeln – engineering
  • Ralph Cacciurri – engineering
  • Keith Cohen – engineering
  • Kevin Crouse – engineering
  • Chris Frame – engineering
  • Brad Gilderman – engineering
  • Jason Groucott – engineering, mix engineering
  • Tal Herzberg – engineering
  • Adam Holmstead – engineering
  • Ricco Lumpkins – engineering
  • Michael Sherman – engineering
  • Brian "B Luv" Thomas – engineering
  • Darrel Thorpe – engineering
  • Richard Travali – engineering, mix engineering
  • Dylan Vaughan – mix engineering
  • Kieran Wagner – engineering
  • Doug Woulson – engineering
  • Kevin "KD" Davis – mixing, mix engineering
  • Glen Marchese – mixing
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing
  • Tony Maserati – mixing
  • Chris Athens – mastering

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[70] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[71] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[72] Platinum 1,200,000[50]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Edition(s) Label
United States April 25, 2000 Standard[15]
Japan April 28, 2000 CD Universal
Germany June 19, 2000 Standard[16]
United Kingdom 24 July, 2000 Standard[17] Polydor
United States November 7, 2000 Reissue[33]
United Kingdom 19 February, 2001 Reissue[34] Polydor
Germany May 8, 2001 Reissue[35] Universal
Australia August 21, 2001 Standard

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