Touch (Amerie album)
Standard edition cover; some pressings feature almost the same cover, only showing Amerie in the opposite position
|Studio album by Amerie|
|Released||April 26, 2005|
|Singles from Touch|
Touch is the second studio album by American R&B recording artist Amerie, released in the United States on April 26, 2005 by Columbia Records, Sony Urban Music and Richcraft Records. Following the release of her debut album, All I Have (2002), and her first acting role (in the film First Daughter), Amerie began work on her second studio album. As with All I Have, the album was co-written and produced by mentor Rich Harrison, with contributions from additional productions. Unlike her debut, Amerie co-wrote every track but one, and assumed more creative control over the visual imagery accompanying the album, such as music videos and artwork.
Touch is a R&B album with a diverse musical style; a transition from Amerie's neo-soul debut. Its songs feature pulses, funky percussion, pumping energy, go-go beats with an organic core built around horns and electric pianos. Upon release, Touch received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised Amerie's vocals and Harrison's production. The album received numerous accolades including two Grammy Award nominations at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards including Best Contemporary R&B Album.
Commercially the album fared well debuting at number five on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 124,000 copies and was later certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having sold over 500,000 copies in the United States. The album also fared well elsewhere peaking within the top forty of the UK Albums Chart. The album spawned three singles including the lead single "1 Thing" which became Amerie's most commercially successful song to date, which peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was followed by the release of the less successful singles "Touch" and "Talkin' About".
Following Amerie's meeting with producer Rich Harrison and signing to a record deal with Harrison's Richcraft Entertainment, in collaboration with Columbia Records, she released her debut album. Amerie's debut album, All I Have, was released in July 2002 to generally positive reviews. It debuted at number nine on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 89,000 copies in its first week of release; the album has since been certified Gold by the RIAA and has sold 657,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In 2004, Amerie earned her first acting role, portraying the role of Mia Thompson, a college student who rooms with the president's daughter, in the film First Daughter, alongside actress Katie Holmes. Shortly after her acting debut Amerie began work on her second studio album.
Amerie began work on the album in early 2004. As with All I Have, the album was co-written and produced by mentor Rich Harrison, who contributed seven (new) tracks to the record; additional productions came from Lil Jon, Bryce Wilson, Red Spyda, and Dre & Vidal. Unlike on her first album, Amerie co-wrote every track but one, "Come with Me", which Harrison wrote. She also assumed more creative control over the visual imagery accompanying the album, such as videos and artwork—"I feel like when you do a record, you have a vision in your mind and you want to carry it across—and it doesn't end with the studio", she has said.
In 2004, when working on her second album, Amerie enlisted the services of producer Rich Harrison, who had helped produce and write her first album. In May 2004, Harrison heard "Oh, Calcutta!" for the first time and began working on the beat accompanying the ten-second back-and-forth breakdown between Meters drummer Ziggy Modeliste and guitarist Leo Nocentelli. Harrison said he loved the work of the Meters, especially Modeliste, commenting, "Ziggy, he's crazy." He processed the way the breakdown could be "flipped", added a bongo drum, a cowbell, and a ride cymbal, and sent it to Amerie. According to Harrison, they wrote and finished the song in two to three hours.
Amerie's manager, Len Nicholson, felt the song was "the single" to release. When executives at Amerie's label, Columbia/Sony Urban Music, heard "1 Thing", they felt that the song's choruses needed to be "bigger". They recommended that more music be added to the percussion-focused beat, but Harrison and Amerie replied that adding more to the beat would overpower the song. Harrison and Amerie returned to the studio several times to rework the track. Each time they submitted a new version to the label, Columbia told them that the song sounded unfinished, but was unable to specify what should be changed. The label continued to refuse to release "1 Thing"; in Amerie's words, "People just weren't getting it".
Music and lyrics
Touch is a R&B album, which musically differs from her neo-soul debut. Touch is built over "pulses with funky percussion, pumping sexy energy" and incorporates elements of go-go beats. Janet Tzou from Entertainment Weekly described the album's musical style as being "revitalizing R&B" that differs from other contemporary R&B artists. The album's production is characterised as having an "organic core" and "loose-limbed swagger", which relies heavily on sampled horn screams and weeping electric pianos with all the songs having a "glossy, processed sheen."
Six months after recording "1 Thing", Amerie and Harrison leaked it to United States' radio stations in an attempt to get it released officially. The response from DJs and listeners was positive, and it consequently received airplay across the country. Columbia Records attempted to suppress the song because it was an unofficial release, and because Jennifer Lopez (another artist on the label) had expressed interest in recording the song for her own album, Rebirth. Radio stations refused to retract the song from their playlists, and Columbia eventually began promoting "1 Thing" as a single, making it a last-minute addition to the Hitch soundtrack. The song became Amerie's biggest hit to date. In the United States, it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The RIAA awarded a gold certification to its digital download in October 2005, and another gold certification to its ringtone release in June 2006. The song was a top five hit in the United Kingdom, where it became one of the year's best-selling singles, and attained top ten and top twenty positions across continental Europe.
The album's title track "Touch" was released as the second single from the album and peaked at number ninety-five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the United States, although it was a top twenty entry in the United Kingdom. "Talkin' About" was released as the album's third and final single. According to Amerie, it is one of her "really personal" songs and may be her favorite track on the album. Released as a promotional single, "Talkin' About" peaked at number two on the US Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. There was a remix made featuring rapper Jadakiss. It was the third single from the album and Amerie told MTV News in August 2005 that she would be co-directing the music video with Chris Robinson, with whom she collaborated on the videos for the two previous singles, "1 Thing" and "Touch". The video was not filmed.
Touch received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 70, based on 12 reviews. AllMusic's Andy Kellman said that Touch is an improvement over All I Have because of better written songs and consistent production, which is accessible to listeners of different ages. Tom Breihan of Pitchfork Media felt that Harrison makes the most out of Amerie's "thin, reedy" voice, which he found more sophisticated than singers such as Nivea or Ashanti. Ben Sisario of Blender magazine wrote that "Amerie's heat is irresistible, in large part because it's subtle." Vibe magazine's Angie Romero complimented her emotional singing, but was most impressed by her songs with Harrison: "Their exquisite blend of the delicate and the demonstrative proves that, whether it's hard or soft, love is love." Bill Werde of Rolling Stone observed some ordinary R&B songs on what is otherwise a more mature album by Amerie.
In a less enthusiastic review, Stylus Magazine's Al Shipley was disappointed that Harrison did not produce the rest of Touch, which he felt would have made it more consistent. Both Uncut magazine and Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times said that none of the album's other songs are as impressive as "1 Thing"; Sanneh called it one of the year's best singles. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice singled out "1 Thing" and the title track as "choice cuts", which indicates good songs on an otherwise bad album. He referred to "1 Thing" as "a machine-gun one-shot on an album with its safety engaged" in his accompanying essay for the Pazz & Jop critics poll, in which the song had been voted the third best single of 2005.
Touch was released in April 2005 and debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200, selling 124,000 copies in its first week of release. The album was certified gold by the RIAA in August 2005, having sold 406,000 copies in the United States as of June 2009. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number thirty-two before peaking at number twenty-eight; the album stayed on the chart for a total of six weeks. The album also fared well in other European countries, debuting at seventy three on the French Albums Chart and peaking at fifty nine; altogether, Touch accumulated eight weeks on the chart. The album also debuted and peaked at number eighty three on the Swiss Albums Chart, spending four weeks on the chart.
- Amerie co-wrote every track but two, "Come with Me" and "Why Don't We Fall In Love" (Richcraft Remix), which were both written and produced solely by Rich Harrison. She and additional writers are listed below
|Touch – Standard edition|
|2.||"All I Need"||3:09|
|4.||"Not the Only One"||3:46|
|5.||"Like It Used to Be"||3:39|
|7.||"Come with Me"||3:34|
|8.||"Rolling Down My Face"||3:34|
|9.||"Can We Go" (featuring Carl Thomas)||3:29|
|10.||"Just Like Me"||Dre & Vidal||3:46|
|12.||"1 Thing" (featuring Eve)||4:18|
|13.||"Why Don't We Fall in Love" (Richcraft Remix)||3:36|
|Touch – European edition (bonus track)|
|14.||"Man Up" (featuring Nas)||3:41|
|Touch – Japanese edition (bonus track)|
|14.||"I'm Coming Out"||3:31|
- ^[a] signifies a co-producer
- Sampling credits
- "1 Thing" contain excerpts from The Meters' "Oh! Calcutta!", written by Stanley Walden.
- "All I Need" contains elements of Jean Carne's "You Are All I Need", written by Dexter Wansel.
- "Rolling Down My Face" contains an interpolation of Roy Ayers's "Searching", written by Ayers.
- "Can We Go" contains excerpts from Earth, Wind & Fire's "Evil", written by Phillip Bailey and Maurice White.
- "Why Don't We Fall in Love" (Richcraft Remix) contains a sample of "Condor! (Theme)/I Got You Where I Want You", as performed by Dave Grusin from the soundtrack to the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor and excerpts from The Ebons' "You're the Reason Why", written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.
- "Man Up" contains excerpts from "Stripper" by Michael Quatro.
- "I'm Coming Out" is a cover of the track of the same title by Diana Ross.
- There is a leftover track, titled "Love's Off the Chain", produced by Harrison.
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|Canada||April 26, 2005||CD||Sony BMG||CK 90763|||
|Japan||April 27, 2005||CD||Sony BMG||SICP 774|||
|Europe||May 2, 2005||5201669000|||
|Australia||July 1, 2005||5201662000|||
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