Kissing You (Des'ree song)
|Single by Des'ree|
|from the album William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet:|
Music from the Motion Picture
|B-side||"You Gotta Be"|
|Released||24 February 1997|
|Des'ree singles chronology|
"Kissing You" (or "I'm Kissing You") is a song by British singer Des'ree. It was written by the singer with Timothy Atack for Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film Romeo + Juliet. The song was included on the film's soundtrack album and Des'ree's third studio album, Supernatural (1998). A pop ballad set in the key of A minor, the record uses a simple instrumentation consisting only of piano and string instruments. "Kissing You" featured in Romeo + Juliet when the title characters meet at a ball. The song was well received by critics for its emotional melody and toned-down production. First released as a single in Australia on 24 February 1997, it appeared on the ARIA Singles Chart and the UK Singles Chart. A music video accompanied the single, which included scenes from Romeo + Juliet.
"Kissing You" has been covered by Beyoncé (2007), Taylor Dayne (2008) and Stan Walker (2010). Beyoncé filmed a music video for her rendition, which she retitled "Still in Love (Kissing You)". The change of title and music video went against copyright terms, and thus Des'ree's publishers filed a lawsuit against Beyoncé and her representatives. Infringing albums were recalled, and both sides agreed that the case be settled out of court.
Background and composition
A sample of the song, demonstrating its simple piano and string instrumentation
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"Kissing You" was written by Des'ree and Timothy Atack, and was produced by Nellee Hooper. The string instruments were arranged by Craig Armstrong, while Andy Todd and Jim Abbiss engineered the record. The pop ballad uses only piano and string instrumentation. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by T C F Music Publishing, Inc., "Kissing You" is set in 12/8 time with a moderately slow tempo of 112 beats per minute. Written in the key of A minor, it has a sequence of Dm7–Am7–G/B–C–G/B–Am7–C/G as its chord progression. Des'ree's voice spans from the low note of A3 to the high note of D5.
"Kissing You" is featured during Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann, when Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) first meet at a ball at the Capulets' mansion; Des'ree also appears in the scene performing the song. The song was featured on the film's soundtrack album, and was included on Des'ree's third studio album, Supernatural (1998). Sony Music released the single via compact disc on 18 June 1997. "Kissing You" was also sold as the B-side to "Life" (1998) in the UK. The musical interlude in the middle of "Kissing You" was used to promote the UEFA Euro 2004.
New Statesman's Lisa Jardine noted "Kissing You" as "a high point" of the film. J. D. Considine wrote for The Baltimore Sun that "the tremulous intensity of Des'ree's 'Kissing You' has more emotional impact than many films". In a review of Supernatural for Entertainment Weekly, Considine later commended the "throaty emotionalism" with which Des'ree sang "Kissing You". Jim Farber from the Daily News noted the song as the standout track from Supernatural and claimed that it "stands as the only track to deepen the mood, bringing out the indigo pleasures of her voice." The Richmond Times-Dispatch's Kate Lipper called the record "an excellent slow song that you can play nonstop". However, Ann Powers from The New York Times wrote that Des'ree is too melodramatic on "Kissing You". In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Charlotte Church described the song as one of her favourites: "This is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It's an original sound and they sing it so well. There's no beat, it's just a lovely, lulling song." "Kissing You" debuted on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart at number 42 on the week ending 9 March 1997. It rose to its peak position of number 17 on 20 April 1997, and slipped of the chart in June, having spent 13 weeks on the chart. In December 2010, "Kissing You" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 137. In 2013 Abbey Clancy waltzed to "Kissing You" on the 11th series of Strictly Come Dancing, and the song reentered the UK Singles Chart and reached a new peak of number 91.
The music video for "Kissing You" features scenes of Romeo + Juliet, mainly those when Romeo and Juliet first meet at the Capulets' ball. Interspersed are clips of Des'ree singing the song in an empty building, with water on the floor. Towards the end of the video, some of the final scenes of the film are displayed, and the building that Des'ree is in is illuminated through the windows. The video was included on the film's special edition DVD, released in 2002.
- "Kissing You" – 4:56
- "You Gotta Be" – 4:06
- "Warm Hands, Cold Heart" – 4:35
- "Sword of Love" – 4:03
- "Livin' in the City" (Meme's Extended Club Mix) – 7:46
New Zealand singer Hayley Westenra covered "I'm Kissing You" for her 2007 album Prayer. "Kissing You" was covered by Taylor Dayne, whose version appears as the eighth track on her fifth studio album, Satisfied (2008). Her recording contains slow jam drums and backing singers. Australian Idol winner Stan Walker recorded his rendition of the song as the twelfth track on his second studio album, From the Inside Out (2010). Allmusic's Jon O'Brien called it "a faithful rendition". The New Zealand Herald's Kara Scott noted that his cover was "a little over-wrought and soppy, [but] it shows the true range and quality of Walker's voice." Cameron Adams of The Daily Telegraph noted that "for those who want to hear that voice sing something familiar, the lush but simple cover of Des'ree's 'Kissing You' will cause jaws to drop."
"Kissing You" was covered by American R&B singer Beyoncé under the title "Still in Love (Kissing You)", later replaced with other track "If". Beyoncé's rendition was included on the 2007 deluxe edition of her second studio album, B'Day. Beyoncé contributed to the writing and production processes, and it was one of the last tracks to be added to the album. She called the song "a beautiful ballad" and said, "I've always loved ['Kissing You']. It gives you this emotion – I don't care who you are, you just feel it. And it meant a lot for me to do this." While reviewing the deluxe edition of B'Day, Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised the song, saying that it "sound[s] downright subtle".
A music video for the song was shot and directed by Cliff Watts, who had also shot Beyoncé's Sports Illustrated cover. The video for the song served as the closing clip for the B'Day Anthology Video Album, and was filmed on Super 8 mm film in Miami. Beyoncé discussed the music video with MTV, stating that, "[The video] feels like something you shouldn't be seeing, like you found a home video. It's very raw: no retouching, no special effects. That's who I am. You can see my soul." In an interview with Vibe Beyoncé recalled the video, "I didn't have any hair and makeup. [The video features] just me on the beach and in the sun, and I brought one bathing suit 'cause I was there for myself. It's very artistic and grimy, and [there is] no retouching. It is what it is."
Des'ree's publishers, the Royalty Network, filed a lawsuit against Sony BMG, Sony BMG Sales Enterprise, Beyoncé, B-Day Publishing and EMI April Music, claiming that Beyoncé's cover of the song infringed copyright conditions. On 13 February 2007, Beyoncé's representatives had sought permission to use interpolations of "Kissing You". The Royalty Network offered Beyoncé the use of the song under certain terms. Two of the conditions of the proposal were that the song's title remain the same, and that the song was not published in video form. Beyoncé made no further contact with the Royalty Network, and planned to release "Still in Love (Kissing You)" and its video, regardless of the two requested conditions, which the Royalty Network called "completely unacceptable". The publishing company requested that Sony Music Entertainment (SME)—the parent company of Columbia Records—halt distribution of B'Day with the retitled song. Nevertheless, the album was released on 3 April 2007; the Royalty Network considered the action "willful disregard", and retracted their permission to use the song. The lawsuit, filed on 16 April 2007 in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, sought US$150,000 in damages and a recall of the infringing material. The same day, SME ceased distribution of both the deluxe edition of B'Day and the anthology video album, although the editions had sold over 214,000 copies before the recall. Later reissues of the albums did not include "Still in Love (Kissing You)" and its video, with "If" replacing the track on the B'Day deluxe edition. An injunction hearing was scheduled for 4 May, and later postponed until 14 May 2007. On 12 October 2007, the case was dismissed with prejudice, by agreement of all parties. Beyoncé's father and manager, Mathew Knowles, stated that his daughter did not know about the copyright issues prior to the legal action, and that recording artists rarely involve themselves with such matters.
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