|Single by Faith Evans|
|from the album The First Lady|
|Released||April 25, 2005|
|Recorded||Larrabee Sound Studios
(North Hollywood, California)
|Writer(s)||Homer Banks, George Benson, Bettye Crutcher, Don Davis, Faith Evans, Andre Johnson, Todd Russaw, Donald Sebesky, Chucky Thompson, Kameelah Williams|
|Producer(s)||Andre "AJ" Johnson, Todd Russaw, Chucky Thompson|
|Faith Evans singles chronology|
"Mesmerized" is a song by American R&B recording artist Faith Evans from her fourth studio album The First Lady (2005). Inspired by producer Chucky Thompson's original track, which contains interpolations from Johnnie Taylor's 1968 single “Who's Making Love”, written by Homer Banks, Don Davis, Bettye Crutcher, and Raymond Jackson, and George Benson's “Footin’ It”, crafted by Benson and Donald Sebesky, Evans wrote the song alongside Andre Johnson, Kameelah Williams, Thompson, and husband Todd Russaw; its production was handled by Johnson, Thompson and Russaw. A throw-back to 1960s music, the uptempo funk song exhibits style similar to that of Lyn Collins, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, among others.
The musical composition of the song, as well as Evans' vocals and versatility, positively surprised critics, who ranked it among the album's standout tracks. Released as the album's second single following "Again", "Mesmerized" reached the top twenty in the Netherlands, and peaked at number 22 on the Flemish Ultratop 50, where it became Evans' highest-charting single as a solo artist. A prominent remix of the song, produced by English dance duo Freemasons, also reached number one on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart and remained atop for three consecutive weeks. The song was also promoted by a Bryan Barber-directed music video which features Evans performing with her band in front of a light wall.
Background and recording
"Mesmerized" was penned by Faith Evans, Andre "AJ" Johnson, Todd Russaw, Kameelah Williams, and Chucky Thompson, while production was helmed by the latter, Russaw, and Johnson. The song contains interpolations from both Johnnie Taylor's 1968 single “Who's Making Love”, written by Homer Banks, Bettye Crutcher, Don Davis, and Raymond Jackson, and George Benson's “Footin’ It”, crafted by Benson and Donald Sebesky. Manny Marroquin mixed the track, while Ben Briggs and Brad Todd oversaw the recording of "Mesmerized"; both tasks were executed at the Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood, California. It was one of the first songs Evans recorded in her then newly built home basement studio when she lived in Atlanta, Georgia. According to Evans, it was "also the song that sorta sealed [her recording] deal with Capitol Records" in 2004.
Crafted around a track that producer Chucky Thompson sent Evans two years before she picked it out, "Mesmerized" was inspired by veteran soul musicians which came to prominence in the 1960s. Speaking on its creation, the singer stated: "I was just going through CDs, and I was like 'How could I have overlooked that?"' I totally wanted to approach it as if Aretha Franklin was singing a James Brown record, so what I did was think, 'I'm like the female James Brown.' Evan's vocal performance was also influenced by Brown's sidekick Lyn Collins. "I put in her CD, just listened to three songs probably. I just wanted to kind of get that attitude without totally redoing a Lyn Collins song or without totally taking her approach to it or her ad-libs. I kept it more on an Aretha vibe with the ad-libs, and the whole attitude, just real gutsy and raw, was inspired by Lyn Collins."
"Mesmerized" was acclaimed by music critics who appreciated the 1960s-vibe Evans attempted and they compared the song to multiple artists and compositions of that time, including "sweaty productions" from Lyn Collins and James Brown. Andria Lisle, writing for Paste magazine declared the song "a delicious, modern-day love song on par with the late Lyn Collins or hizzoner Soul Brother #1. A funky breakdown, spirited backing vocals and a righteous attitude—the sentiment on this cut is guaranteed to make her soul sisters shout." Similarly, Will Layman from PopMatters felt that the record was "a piece of real JB-esque organ funk that allows Faith to testify as lead singer and then play call-and-response with her own overdubbed gospel chorus. It is a greasy-hot performance that never goes over the top into American Idol melismatic mania or silly high note reaching." MusicOMH's Sam Shepherd called "Mesmerized" the "best thing on the album by some distance." He felt that it "promises much, freeing Evans’ voice up and allowing her to explore the role of diva, while a sturdy James Brown groove pumps away in the background."
In his album review of The First Lady, Raymond Fiore from Entertainment Weekly wrote that on "the Lyn Collins-worthy 'Mesmerized,' Evans flaunts the assured power of her sexy instrument." Generally critical with the album, People found that only "a couple of jazzy house numbers pump things up, but too few tracks—the gospel-powered "Mesmerized" being one—are truly first-rate."
A music video for "Mesmerized" was shot by director Bryan Barber in June 2005. The clip features Evans performing with her band in front of a dazzling light wall in inside an ornate, yet "definitely hip space."
Formats and track listings
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the liner notes of The First Lady.
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||22|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||19|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||48|
|US Adult R&B Songs (Billboard)||15|
|US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||56|
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