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The Way That I Love You

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"The Way That I Love You"
An image of a woman grabbing her forehead while. Mirrors at an angle behind her and under her chin reflect the front of her face and the side of her head.
Single by Ashanti
from the album The Declaration
ReleasedFebruary 26, 2008 (2008-02-26)
FormatDigital download
GenreR&B
Length4:30
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Ashanti Douglas
  • L.T. Hutton
Ashanti singles chronology
"Put a Little Umph in It"
(2007)
"The Way That I Love You"
(2008)
"Body on Me"
(2008)

"The Way That I Love You" is a song recorded by American singer Ashanti from her fourth studio album, The Declaration (2008). It was released as the album's lead single on February 26, 2008, through Universal and The Inc. Ashanti wrote and produced the song with L.T. Hutton. Backed by piano, guitar, and horns, "The Way That I Love You" is a midtempo R&B ballad whose lyrics tell of betrayal.

Critical response was primarily positive; some reviewers said it was a highlight from The Declaration while others felt it was inferior to music released by Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige. Commercially, the song peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and appeared on the publication's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Adult R&B Songs component charts. Ashanti performed "The Way That I Love You" at Sessions@AOL and on tour.

Kevin Bray directed the music video which tells the story of Ashanti and her boyfriend—he cheats on her, she discovers it, and she murders him. The story for the video was inspired by the true crime TV shows Snapped and Forensic Files. The video's emphasis on violence attracted critical attention. As part of the song's promotion, Ashanti launched a website that allowed users to create and send a personalized news report and death threat to a contact. The campaign was received negatively and incited a protest in Los Angeles. The website was ultimately taken down.

Background and release[edit]

For her fourth studio album The Declaration (2008), Ashanti collaborated with songwriters and producers outside of her record label Murder Inc. Her previous album Concrete Rose (2004) had been overshadowed by negative news regarding the label, including a feud with G-Unit and an FBI investigation.[1] L.T. Hutton produced a majority of The Declaration, instead of Ashanti's longtime producer Irv Gotti.[2][3] Ashanti said that she had more artistic freedom with the album.[3] Hutton and Ashanti wrote and produced "The Way That I Love".[4] Ashanti said that she "just started jotting down words, and it just kind of poured out" upon hearing the opening instrumental.[5] She produced the lead and background vocals, and Hutton programmed the song and played the instruments. The final version was mixed at Brandons Way Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California.[4]

"Switch", which featured Nelly, and "Hey Baby (After the Club)" were both announced as the album's lead single in 2007.[3][6] They were replaced by "The Way That I Love You",[7] which was released to urban radio on February 26, 2008, and rhythmic radio on April 1, 2008.[8][9] It was the number one most-added song on urban radio in the week of its release.[10] The single was included on a July 2008 Cartier charity playlist created to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of America organization.[11]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"The Way That I Love You" is a midtempo R&B ballad that lasts four minutes and thirty seconds.[4][13][14] It is composed in the key of E minor using common time and a "moderate hip-hop" tempo.[12] The instrumentation is provided by a piano, a guitar, and horns;[13][12] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine wrote that the single is "driven by a distinct descending piano arpeggio and horn arrangement".[13]

Ashanti's vocal range spans from the low note of D4 to the high note of E5.[12] AllMusic's Andy Kellman compared her vocals to her 2003 single "Rain on Me" because of their similar "melodramatic flourishes" but said the lyrics of "The Way That I Love You" were "much more vengeful in nature than depressive."[2] Ashanti felt both men and women would relate to the single's theme of betrayal.[14][5]

Reception[edit]

"The Way That I Love You" was praised by critics who identified it as a highlight of The Declaration.[2][15][16] The New York Daily News' Jim Farber felt Ashanti's collaboration with Hutton was her best work, and described "The Way That I Love You" as a "strut of a song."[17] Noah Berlatsky of the Chicago Reader noted the song's piano loop as one of the few standouts from the album.[7] A Dayton Daily News reviewer summed up the single as "cliche but effective."[16]

On the other hand, some commentators negatively compared "The Way That I Love You" to music released by other singers.[18][19] Despite praising Ashanti's performance as emotional, Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly found the single to be inferior to those by Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige.[18] Vibe's Shanel Odum dismissed the song as "barely set[ting] off a smoke detector, let alone ring[ing] any alarms", in a reference to Beyoncé's 2006 single "Ring the Alarm".[19]

Commercially, "The Way That I Love You" peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on May 17, 2008, and remained on the chart for 18 weeks.[20] It reached number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart,[21] and number 18 on the Adult R&B Songs component charts compiled by the same publication.[22]

Music video[edit]

Ashanti debuted the Kevin Bray-directed music video on 106 & Park[10][5] and it was played on BET, MTV Hits, and MTV Jams.[10] It was uploaded on Ashanti's YouTube account on December 22, 2009.[23] A rough cut had leaked a few weeks before its premiere in February 2008.[24] Another version of the video, with the subtitle "Access Denied", was released on Ashanti's YouTube account on November 22, 2009.[25] Ashanti used the true crime TV shows Snapped and Forensic Files as the primary inspiration for the video.[5] She felt that the storyline of a woman driven to murder fit the single's dramatic, painful, and emotional lyrics.[5] She said that she wanted the video to be "very cinematic as opposed to a regular music video" to make a larger impact after her absence from the music industry.[26][27] When discussing the overall message, Ashanti said: "Don't cheat."[26]

Throughout the video, Ashanti is shown in a volatile relationship with her boyfriend, played by actor Christian Keyes.[5][28] After learning about his infidelity, the singer poses with a butcher's knife while dressed in an evening gown.[14] Images of evidence, including a bloody knife, footprints, and walls, intercut the video.[26][29] It ends when Ashanti leaves her partner[5] after killing him in a bathtub.[14][27]

The video received critical attention for its representation of violence.[30][31] In a 2015 article for The Atlantic, Kornhaber said it was part of a trend in music videos of violent female pop artists who want to avoid being presented as the victim.[30] A The Boombox contributor summarized the video as "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."[31] The music video was popular on MTV.com and Total Request Live where it peaked at number one and two, respectively.[10]

Promotion[edit]

Promotional campaign[edit]

A screenshot from a website. An image of Ashanti is shown next to a group of drop-down menus, where the user can customize their own messages.
TheWayThatILoveYou.com (pictured) and its gotcha-gram campaign received criticism for its violent content.

A publicity stunt was coordinated with the music video's release through Ashanti's website (TheWayThatILoveYou.com). The website allowed a user to create and send a personalized news report and a death threat to a contact.[14][26] The message, stylized as a "gotcha-gram",[14] featured a news report about a series of murders inspired by "The Way That I Love You" music video and the upcoming release of The Declaration.[26] The message could be customized to include the victim's name and crime, the murder weapon, and the sender's name and home state. The choices for crimes were sleeping around, suspected sleeping around, playing you like a fool, and breaking your heart. The weapons included a boot, knife, can, sledgehammer, rolling pin, and a guillotine. The news report ends with the disclaimer, "Ashanti and Universal Music Group do not encourage or condone violence of any kind. This is for parody purposes only."[26] Each message was attributed to the fictional Universal Crime Network.[14][26] An example of a gotcha-gram, sent to CNN's Lola Ogunnaike, was: "Do you know the person pictured in the following video. If so, please contact me immediately. Your life might be in danger."[14]

The campaign received a primarily negative response.[14][26] The civil rights organization Project Islamic Hope and the think tank Industry Ears led a protest that called for the website's removal. These groups felt that the project encouraged violence as a valid means to handle disputes.[26] Ogunnaike deemed the messages "disturbing", and felt that they damaged Ashanti's public image as a "good girl". Universal closed the site, but Ashanti defended it as "a better alternative to actual violence" and "an incredible online viral tool."[14] Ashanti's publicist, Michelle Huff, clarified that the video was intended to have a similar tone to a Saturday Night Live sketch and said that the singer had received primarily positive feedback for the site.[26] Shanti Das, Motown's vice president for urban marketing, referred to the campaign as a parody of the music video and said that Ashanti does not promote violence against women.[27]

Live performances[edit]

Ashanti promoted "The Way That I Love You" with a live performance at a 2008 Sessions@AOL.[32] In 2016, she sang it as part of the Natural Born Hitters Tour with rapper Ja Rule. The Boombox's Liz Ramanand said the performance was a highlight from the show.[33] Ashanti subsequently included the song on the setlist for a 2018 tour with Ja Rule. Victor D. Infante of Telegram & Gazette praised her for providing a "soulful rendition" of the single and her decision to provide "an air of vulnerability" by singing it without backup dancers.[34]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[35]
No.TitleLength
1."The Way That I Love You"4:30
2."The Way That I Love You" (video)4:25

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Declaration:[4]

  • Arranged by (all lead and background vocals), backing Vocals, lead Vocals, lyrics by (all), producer (all lead and background vocals) – A. Douglas
  • Instruments (all), programmed by – L.T. Hutton
  • Producer, written by – A. Douglas, L.T. Hutton

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[36] 37
US Adult R&B Songs (Billboard)[37] 18
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[38] 2

Release history[edit]

Region Format Date Label
United States Urban radio[8] February 26, 2008
  • Universal
  • The Inc.
Rhythmic radio[9] April 1, 2008

References[edit]

  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Artist Biography by Jason Birchmeier". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy. "AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Reid, Shaheem (June 29, 2007). "Ashanti, Nelly Get Their Beyonce-And-Jay-Z on for New Single 'Switch'". MTV News. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d The Declaration. Murder Inc., Universal Motown (Inlay cover). Ashanti. June 3, 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Rodriguez, Jayson (February 21, 2008). "Ashanti Snaps in TV-Inspired 'The Way That I Love You' Video". MTV News. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "New Music: Ashanti F/ Mario Winans - 'Hey Baby (After The Club'". Rap-Up. September 17, 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ a b Berlatsky, Noah (June 12, 2008). "Out of Step". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on July 25, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ a b "Urban". Radio & Records. February 26, 2008. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Rhythmic". Radio & Records. April 1, 2008. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ a b c d "America Loves 'The Way That I Love You,' Brand-New Ashanti Smash". Business Wire. March 10, 2008. Archived from the original on November 30, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. ^ "Ashanti, Janet Jackson Spread Love with Cartier Bracelets". Rap-Up. July 8, 2008. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ a b c d "The Way That I Love You". Universal Music Publishing Group. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ a b c d Cinquemani, Sal (June 1, 2008). "The Declaration". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ogunnaike, Lola (June 13, 2008). "Behind the Scenes: Star's bloody stunt flopped". CNN. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ Jones, Steve (June 2, 2008). "Going It Alone". USA Today. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "R&B Ashanti". Dayton Daily News. July 4, 2008. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) (subscription required)
  17. ^ Farber, Jim (June 2, 2008). "Ashanti declares her confidence with 'The Declaration'". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. ^ a b Greenblatt, Leah. "The Declaration". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. ^ a b Odum, Shanel (June 5, 2008). "Ashanti, "The Declaration"". Vibe. Archived from the original on June 8, 2008.
  20. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 26, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 26, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. ^ "Adult R&B". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 26, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. ^ "Ashanti - The Way That I Love You". YouTube. November 22, 2009. Archived from the original on December 15, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. ^ "Video: Ashanti - 'The Way That I Love You' (Official Version)". Rap-Up. February 27, 2008. Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  25. ^ "Ashanti - The Way That I Love You (Access Denied)". YouTube. November 22, 2009. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kaufman, Gil (June 10, 2008). "Ashanti's Bloody Online Promotion Sparks Anti-Violence Protest in L.A." MTV News. Archived from the original on December 15, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  27. ^ a b c Christian, Margena A. (June 9, 2008). "Ashanti Returns More Empowered With 'The Declaration'". Jet. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  28. ^ "(BPRW) GMC TV Presents the Original World Premiere Stage Play 'Love Will Find A Way'". Black PR Wire. May 15, 2013. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  29. ^ Day, Adrienne (February 29, 2008). "'Snapped' Judgment: Ashanti's 'The Way That I Love You' video". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 13, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  30. ^ a b Kornhaber, Spencer (October 1, 2015). "A History of Violence (by Women in Music Videos)". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on January 11, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  31. ^ a b "Ashanti, 'The Way That I Love You' — New Video". The Boombox. March 6, 2008. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  32. ^ "Ashanti Performing The Way That I Love You On (AOL Sessions)". WorldStarHipHop. June 10, 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  33. ^ Ramanand, Liz (August 26, 2016). "Ja Rule and Ashanti Kick Off Natural Born Hitters Tour with Back-to-Back Shows in New York City [Photos]". The Boombox. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  34. ^ Infante, Victor D. (January 14, 2018). "Ashanti, Ja Rule ward off winter in steamy Palladium show". Telegram & Gazette. Archived from the original on March 18, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  35. ^ "The Way That I Love You - Single". Apple Music. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original on May 26, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  36. ^ "Ashanti Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  37. ^ "Ashanti Chart History (Adult R&B Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  38. ^ "Ashanti Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.

External links[edit]