|Single by Ashanti|
|from the album Concrete Rose|
|Released||January 24, 2005
January 11, 2005 (U.S. - Top 40/Mainstream radio)
|Format||CD single, digital download|
|Songwriter(s)||Selan Lerner, Ashanti Douglas, Irv Gotti, Jerry Barnes, 7 Aurelius|
|Ashanti singles chronology|
"Only U" is a song by American singer-songwriter Ashanti from her third studio album, Concrete Rose (2004). The song's introduction uses a sample of Club Nouveau's 1986 song "Why You Treat Me So Bad". "Only U" is an R&B and rock-tinged song, that finds Ashanti in love and willing to do anything, no matter the cost to make sure he's her boyfriend.
Released in January 2005 as the album's lead single, the track reached number thirteen on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in January, 2005. It peaked at number two in the United Kingdom and number 4 in Ireland, becoming her most successful single in both countries. The song received generally favorable reviews from music critics, with most praising its sexy lyrics and her vocal performance.
Background and release
After her successful second studio album Chapter II (2003), which topped the Billboard 200 chart and was certified Platinum, spawned two hit singles, "Rock wit U (Awww Baby)" and "Rain on Me", and earned her three Grammy nominations, Ashanti released her first Christmas album called "Ashanti's Christmas" in 2003. However, the album received overwhelming negative reviews and didn't provide much success on the charts.
Later in September 2004, she collaborated with Ja Rule and R. Kelly on the track "Wonderful" for Rule's sixth studio album, "R.U.L.E.." The song was a success, topping the UK Singles Chart and peaking inside the top-ten in many countries. A month later, on October 26, 2004, "Only U" was released through iTunes and Amazon, as the lead-single from her third studio album Concrete Rose (2004). However, the song was only released to radio stations on January 11, 2005.
The official remix was included on Ashanti's 2005 compilation album Collectables by Ashanti, and features Caddillac Tah, Young Merc, Ja Rule, and Black Child. There is a second official remix that replaces Caddillac Tah and Young Merc with Dipset rappers Cam'ron and Juelz Santana.
Composition and lyrics
"Only U" was written by Ashanti, 7 Aurelius, Selan Lerner Jerry Barnes and Irv Gotti, with production done by 7 Aurelius and Irv Gotti. "Only U" is an R&B and rock-tinged song. The song's introduction uses a sample of Club Nouveau's 1986 song "Why You Treat Me So Bad", followed by a guitar riff, taken from the song "Presence" by 7 Aurelius. Lyrically, the breathless "Only U" has Ashanti imagining a man providing sexual pleasure for her, finding herself always standing by his side or looking for reasons to be close to him, acting out of character and falling for him more with each day.
"Oh I can't wait to get next to you/ Oh I just can't leave you alone/ Boy you got me doing things that I would never do," she sings. In the chorus, she emphasizes that the guy is only one who makes her feel in love and turned on, "Only u can make me feel and only u can take me there," she chants.
"Only U" received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Hattie Collins of The Guardian called it "a deliciously dark song." Chuck Arnold of People Magazine wrote that "the rock-edged 'Only U,' show Ashanti truly blossoming." Khalil Regarty of The Age called it "a No. 1-single-by-numbers in which Aurelius' Linkin Park-style guitar riffs sit atop a shuffling beat the Trackmasters or the Neptunes could have put their hands to." Low Key of MV Remix wrote that "'Only U' finds Ashanti taking a risk with a rock-influenced sound, which thankfully works out well. Ashanti sounds better than ever over Seven Aurelius smashing guitar riffs and ambient sirens, making for one of her best efforts yet." Steve Jones of USA Today praised the song for having "engaging beats and airy vocals," writing that "it works well."
"The Bland Is Out There" review was positive, writing that, "The beat complements Ashanti's slight voice It's the one single so far which has fit right into her range. There isn't any high-pitched screaming or an excess of 'baby's' for her to sing. 'Only U' is Ashanti's only single worth a listen." Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times was mixed, writing that the song "revolves around a corroded keyboard line that sounds distinctly menacing - that is, until Ashanti arrives, singing, 'Ooh, I can't wait to get next to you'." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called it a "promising edgy, rock-leaning" song.
"Only U" proved to be successful on the charts. In the United States, the song debuted at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart issue dated November 24, 2004, and peaked at number 13 on the chart issue dated January 22, 2005. In March 2005, the single was certified gold. The song was also a success on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, peaking at number 10, while it also peaked at number 8 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart and number 19 on the Top 40 Mainstream chart. In the UK, the song was even more successful, debuting at number 2, becoming her most successful solo single in the United Kingdom. On the Irish Singles Chart, the song debuted and peaked at number 4, on the chart issue dated January 27, 2005.
The song also reached top-twenty positions in many countries. In New Zealand, "Only U" debuted at number 31, on February 7, 2005, and peaked at number 14, on February 14, 2005. In Switzerland, the song was her best solo single on the charts, peaking at number 12 on the Swiss Singles Chart. In Germany, the song also peaked at number 12, on the German Singles Chart. In Netherlands, the single debuted and peaked at number 18 on the Dutch Top 40 chart. Elsewhere, the song attained top-forty positions. In Australia, the song debuted and peaked at number 24 on the ARIA Charts. In Austria, the song debuted at number 41, while it peaked at number 30, in its fourth week. In France, the song debuted and peaked at number 33 on the SNEP chart week of March 26, 2005.
There are two official versions of the video, both directed by Hype Williams and shot in Vancouver and Mexico City. It is notable for making use of a blue-hue effect in numerous shots with overt noir and neo-noir influences in many shots. The first version is the original video (which has an alternate version itself) and the second version is the Dance Version, which was only aired on BET.
The original version is shot in widescreen format but the slots that are normally left black at the top and bottom of the screen were replaced with upside down or reversed images of the main shot in the middle of the screen, which flickered back and forth to give the illusion that two scenes were playing at once. The alternate version had the scenes shown in regular widescreen format with the shots and the top and bottom of the screen plain black. It starts off with a Blade Runner-inspired environment and imagery of Ashanti's face depicted on a skyscraper—similar to a scene in Blade Runner. In addition, there is a scene where she is sitting down on a seat while smoking as she appears to be watching something through a projector—again, a shot similar to that of a scene in Blade Runner. The rest of the video features Ashanti in various situations, posing and wearing a variety of outfits. In one scene, Ashanti is in the shower and in another she is inside a cocoon-like lamp as air gushes from beneath, creating a vacuum effect - reminiscent of the scene in Blade Runner where Zhora goes to dry her hair inside a clear, fishbowl-like dryer. The video ends with her and a group of female dancers performing the song in concert. Bottles of Herbal Essences hair products can be seen during the shower scene as Ashanti was the then-new spokesperson for the haircare company. 7 Aurelius, who co-wrote and produced the song, makes a guest appearance at the beginning and at the end of the video playing the guitar.
The "Dance version" of the video consisted of the dance scene that is also shown at the end of the original video, with Ashanti and the back-up dancers dancing throughout the whole video. 7 Aurelius makes a cameo appearance in this version as well at the beginning and at the end of the video as the guitar player. Director Hype Williams featured his signature style of widescreen format in this version of the video also, except the slots that are normally left blank at the top and bottom of the screen were replaced with upside down or reversed images of the main shot in the middle of the screen.
- R&R :: Going for Adds :: CHR/Top 40 Archived 2014-12-31 at the Wayback Machine. Radio and Records. Retrieved 2013-03-29
- "Chapter II - Ashanti : Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "Rock on the Net: Ashanti". Rock on the Net. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "Concrete Rose - Ashanti : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "Ja Rule featuring R. Kelly and Ashanti - Wonderful - Music Charts". Music Charts. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "iTunes - Music - Only U - Single by Ashanti". iTunes. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "Amazon.com: Only U: Ashanti : MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- "Collectables by Ashanti: AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
- Collins, Hattie (December 10, 2004). "CD: Ashanti, Concrete Rose | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Arnold, Chuck (January 17, 2005). "Picks and Pans Review: Ashanti: People.com". People. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Concrete Rose (inlay cover). Ashanti. The Inc. Records. 2004. p. Booklet.
- "The Bland Is Out There >> Music Review: Ashanti "Only U"". The Bland Is Out There. March 12, 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Regarty, Khalil (January 14, 2005). "Concrete Rose - Reviews". The Age. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Key, Low. "MVRemix Urban Album Reviews: Ashanti - Concrete Rose". MV Remix. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Jones, Steve (December 13, 2004). "USATODAY.com - 'Concrete Rose' has consistency". USA Today. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Sanneh, Kelefa (December 13, 2004). "The New York Times > Arts > Music > Critic's Choice: New CD's". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Cinquemani, Sal (December 26, 2004). "Ashanti: Concrete Rose | Music Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "US Singles Top 100 (November 20, 2004) - Music Chart". Music Charts. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "US Singles Top 100 (January 22, 2005) - Music Chart". Music Charts. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "Concrete Rose - Ashanti: Awards: AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "Ashanti | Artist | Official Charts". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "Ashanti - Only U - Music Charts". Music Charts. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "Charts.org.nz - Ashanti - Onl U". Charts.Org.NZ. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- "Ashanti - Only U - Hitparade.Ch". Hitparade.Ch. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- "Ashanti - Only U - Austrian Charts.at". Austrian Charts. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- "Les Charts.com - Ashanti - Only U". Les Charts. Retrieved March 30, 2005.
- "Only U (Alternate Version)". YouTube. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- Slotek, Jim (March 16, 2005). "Ashanti lets her hair down". Toronto Sun. Jam!. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- "Only U (Dance Version)". YouTube. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- "Australian-charts.com – Ashanti – Only U". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Austriancharts.at – Ashanti – Only U" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Ultratop.be – Ashanti – Only U" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Ultratop.be – Ashanti – Only U" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Lescharts.com – Ashanti – Only U" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Ashanti – Only U". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Chart Track: Week 4, 2005". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Ashanti – Only U" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Charts.org.nz – Ashanti – Only U". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Ashanti – Only U". Singles Top 100. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Swisscharts.com – Ashanti – Only U". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Archive Chart: 2005-02-05" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Ashanti – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Ashanti. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Ashanti – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Ashanti. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "2005 UK Singles Chart" (PDF). ChartsPlus. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – 2005 Year End Charts". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017.