We Need a Resolution

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"We Need a Resolution"
Aaliyah-WeNeedAResolutionCDSingle.jpg
Single by Aaliyah featuring Timbaland
from the album Aaliyah
B-side
ReleasedApril 13, 2001
Format
RecordedMarch 2001; Westlake Recording Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
GenreR&B[1]
Length4:02
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Timbaland
Aaliyah singles chronology
"Come Back in One Piece"
(2000)
"We Need a Resolution"
(2001)
"More Than a Woman"
(2001)
Timbaland singles chronology
"Can't Nobody"
(1999)
"We Need a Resolution"
(2001)
"Ugly"
(2001)

"We Need a Resolution" is a song performed by American recording artist Aaliyah. It was written by Static Major and Timbaland, who also produced and contributed a featured rap. The song was released on April 13, 2001, as the lead single for Aaliyah's self-titled 2001 album Aaliyah.[2]

The song was a moderate success internationally. "We Need a Resolution" reached the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart and the top 30 in Canada. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 119 on its list 150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years.[3] It was placed 21st on Slant Magazine's Best of the Aughts: Singles list and 30th on Stylus Magazine's Top 50 Singles: 2000–2005.[4][5] The single and the music video was also ranked 8th and 6th, respectively, on Slant Magazine's Best Singles and Music Videos of 2001 list.[6] dotmusic which was formally apart of "Launch" on yahoo felt that this song was another classy slice of experimental R&B produced by Aaliyah.[7]

Background[edit]

During the recording process for her third album Aaliyah was also filming her second movie Queen of the Damned in Australia.[8] Due to her hectic schedule at that time, Aaliyah decided to record her album simultaneously while filming a movie.[8] In order for it to be possible to record an album while filming a movie Aaliyah's team of producers traveled to Australia with her.[8] Majority of the producers who are featured on the album went to Australia to with the exception of Timbaland.[8] Due to unforeseen issues at that time with Blackground records Timbaland wasn't expected to appear on Aaliyah’s album at all.[8] According to Tim Barnett former assistant to songwriter Static Major “We went back to New York and did them in either Sound King or Manhattan studio. We did them right after the New Year. Part of the problem was Timbaland and Missy weren’t even going to be on the album because of problems with Blackground. Aaliyah talked Tim into producing records for the album, so Timbaland did it out of love for Babygirl.”[8] Once Aaliyah reached out to Timbaland and asked him to produce songs for the album there were constant doubts about him meeting his deadline in time due to it being last minute.[8] According to producer Rapture Stewart Timbaland came on board for the album during the last week before the album was finalized.[8] Stewart also stated "Timbaland was so busy that he wasn’t able to do his songs until the last week and they didn’t know if he was going to make it in time for him to do it".[8] Due to the uncertainty with Timbaland being able to make his deadline in time the song "Loose Rap" was chosen as the album's lead single.[8] Once Timbaland submitted his songs within the deadline Aaliyah's record label decided that "We Need a Resolution" was going to be the lead single instead.[8]

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

"We Need a Resolution" has been described as having a "seductive Middle Eastern vibe"[9] "as the backing track slithers along with an almost Egyptian feel".[7] According to Natelegé Whaley from Mic "We Need a Resolution" opens with warpy clarinet samples as Timbaland dodges confrontation by repeatedly saying "I'm tired of arguing girl."[10] Aaliyah's first line in the song cuts to the chase, responding in a chill, direct manner: "Did you sleep on the wrong side?/ I'm catching a bad vibe." [10]

On "We Need a Resolution" "Timbaland combines idiosyncratic beats, moody, off-key melodies and an insistent, dirgelike chorus for a strangely hypnotic effect".[11] Also the songs production has a sparse arrangement with stop-start drum patterns and hand claps.[12] Lyrically the song maturely presents two perspectives in a passive-aggressive relationship.[9] Aaliyah's sinuously sung concerns are playfully dismissed in Timbaland's featured rap.[12] The song leaves its hook unresolved, plays backwards after Timbaland's rap, and concludes with a reversed loop of the vocal "where were you last night", which echoes the female protagonist's sentiment.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Chuck Taylor from Billboard gave the song a mixed review, although he praised Aaliyah's vocal delivery by saying ,"Aaliyah's light but direct delivery complements the hectic track well" he ultimately felt that the overall song was classic Aaliyah and he expressed that he hoped that she would show more growth and variety just as well as she is building her budding acting resume.[14] In a review of Aaliyah's eponymous album Michael Paoletta from Billboard described the song as being "wickedly hypnotic".[15] Damien Scott from Complex felt that the song was one of the strongest cuts from Aaliyah's self titled album and that it shows her being more grown and confident. He also felt that the song was both one of Aaliyah's best vocal performance and Timbland's best guest rap verses.[16] Chris Heath from dotmusic praised the song by saying "it's what's going on beneath the chorus and verse that makes We Need A Resolution such an alluring proposition". He also felt that Aaliyah "produced another classy slice of experimental R&B".[7] Alexis Petridis from The Guardian felt that compared to other records played on Pop radio "We Need a Resolution sounded like an unhinged experiment in sound, one that just happened to have an insistent, catchy chorus attached".[17] In a review of her eponymous album Luke McManus from the Irish publication RTE felt that "We Need a Resolution" " is a highlight - a heartfelt tale of domestic stress over backward loops, deranged arpeggios and a rare Timbaland appearance on the microphone".[18] Daryl Easlea from BBC UK felt that the song demonstrated her strengths; According to Easlea stated, "Opener We Need A Resolution – a duet with Timabland – demonstrates her strength. She was not a teenager anymore and the almost gothic setting over skeletal beats underlines this new maturity".[19] Connie Johnson from the Los Angeles Times felt that "We need a resolution" along with "Rock the Boat" were stand out songs, compared to other artist material.[20] Rich Bellis from The Atlantic praised Aaliyah's vocals on the song describing it as freaky "that go from staccato to snake-charmer and a beat that hopscotches all over the place".[21]

Chart performance[edit]

"We Need a Resolution" entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on June 2, 2001 at number 78, the song reached its peak at number 59 five weeks later on June 30, 2001.[22][23] On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart the song peaked within the top 20 at number 15 on June 30, 2001.[24] The song also peaked within the top 40 on both the Tropical Airplay and Rhythmic charts at number 31 and 38 respectively.[25][26] Elsewhere in North America the song peaked within the top 40 at number 26 in Canada.[27]

In Europe the song was a moderate hit peaking within the top 40 in several regions. In the UK "We Need a Resolution" peaked within the top 20 at number 20 on the official charts on July 21, 2001.[28] On the UK Official Dance charts the song entered the charts within the top 20 at number 14 on July 14, 2001.[29] The following week on July 22, 2001 the song reached its peak within the top 10 at number 6 on the dance charts.[30] Meanwhile on the UK official R&B charts the song peaked within the top 10 at number 6 on July 15, 2001.[31] According to the Official Charts Company "We Need a Resolution" is Aaliyah's eighth best selling single in the UK.[32] Elsewhere in Europe in Belgium "we Need a Resoultion" peaked within the top 40 at number 28 on the Ultra top Wallonia charts on September 29, 2001.[33] In the Netherlands the song peaked within the top 5 at number 2 on the Tipparade chart on August 18, 2001.[34] Also in The Netherlands on the Single Top 100 chart the song peaked within the top 40 at number 37 on August 4, 2001.[35]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

"We Need a Resolution" was the second music video that Paul Hunter directed for Aaliyah.

The music video for "We Need A Resolution" was directed by Paul Hunter in April 2001 in Los Angeles.[36][37] Hunter had previously worked with Aaliyah in 1996 for her video "One In a Million".[38] After directing the video for "One In a Million" Hunter wanted to work with Aaliyah again on other projects but it never came into fruition due to timing.[38] According to Hunter "We had a pretty good connection to other projects and both went our different ways [after shooting “One In A Million”], I wanted to work with her on a couple of projects after that but she wanted to go in another direction".[38] After years of running into each other, Aaliyah reached out to Hunter during the recording of her third album and expressed that she wanted to work with him again.[38] Her goal's for working with Hunter again was to recreate the "magic" that they had created with the "One In a Million" Video.[38] Hunter explained "She’d gone her direction, I’d gone my direction and then over time we started to see each other around and as she was making the record, she called me and said, ‘Hey, I want to connect back with you on this project, try to recreate the magic that we did on “One In A Million".[38]

Theme[edit]

The theme for "We Need a Resolution" was about taking an exclusive look into Aaliyah's life , the goal was to create an illusion that only certain people could see.[38] According to Hunter "One of the things that she wanted to do, she wanted to obviously dance, and she was really great at it. I felt that the idea behind that connection, we wanted an exclusive peek into her life, so the idea there was to create a sense that every room, every scenario that you’re looking at something that only certain people can see".[38] When explaining the videos theme Hunter compared it to a celebrity in the airport.[38] Hunter explained, "It’s almost like if you’ve ever seen a celebrity in the airport, they’re going into a first class lounge, or they’re going into a private hallway, they sort of slip past you".[38] Ultimately Hunter wanted the theme for the music video to have an exclusive feel within every room and scene.[38] For the video multiple snakes were used and the usage of snakes represented the idea of Danger.[38] According to Hunter the idea to include snakes in the video were either Aaliyah's or his idea; the goal was to present Aaliyah being in control.[38] Hunter stated, "I think that idea was about danger. I don’t know if it was her idea or my idea, but ultimately it was about her being in control of something that was dangerous or that would create some sort of tension in the story and that ultimately she was in control of it…Aaliyah always wanted something that was different from what was going on".[38]

In an interview with MTV Aaliyah discussed her experience working with snakes for the video saying, "I saw bags moving in the corner, And I found out they were real snakes. I was a little nervous, but I kinda like doing crazy stuff.”[39] Prior to working with snakes in her music video Aaliyah had previously worked with them for a photo shoot. According to Aaliyah "I first dealt with snakes when I was in Australia and I did the photo shoot for the album. We used five pythons in the shoot. At first, I was a little nervous, but once I started to handle them, I totally fell in love and felt an affinity toward them. They're very mysterious creatures. They live in solitude, [and] there are times in my life [when] I just want to be by myself. There are times I can't even figure myself out. I feel they are very complex creatures, [but] at the same time, they're sexy, too. That's why they represent Aaliyah pretty well. They're dangerous, but quite beautiful. I thought that it would be an animal that could represent me on this album, so I wanted to take it from the photo shoot to the video and probably throughout the whole project."[40] To uphold the snake theme for the video , Aaliyah is shown wearing fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré's spring 2001 fringe reptile tube dress in one of the videos scene.[41]

Synopsis[edit]

The video opens with Aaliyah sitting in a dark room in a black dress and also appearing on a TV screen performing the first verse. She is also shown sitting on a large question mark as it moves through a blue tunnel. Leading up to the chorus Aaliyah can be seen laying on a glass bed with headphones on. During the second verse and the next chorus she is in a scene with a snake around her neck in a snake pit, wearing snakeskin underwear. As Timbaland's rap verse begins he can be seen in a dark room wearing shades. Aaliyah performs a dance routine with other dancers during Timbaland's verse, wearing a dragon T-shirt. The video closes with Aaliyah in the dark bedroom scene again and Aaliyah with one of the male dancers.

Reception[edit]

The music video for "We Need a Resolution" made its television debut on the BET network during the week ending on April 22, 2001.[42] During the week ending on April 29, 2001 the video made its debut on the MTV network.[43] The following month later during the week ending on May 13, 2001 the video was the tenth most played video on MTV.[44] Also in May during the week ending of the 20th the video was the fifth most played video on BET.[45] Kathy Landoll from Noisey Vice mentioned that Aaliyah "adopted this sexy yet spacey motif, and we see it come to life in We Need A Resolution.”[46] She also felt that the video captured Aaliyah's existence at the time, Landoll stated "From see-through lace to gothic make up, and back around to one-dot lipstick application and free-flowing curls, “We Need A Revolution” captured every angle of Aaliyah’s existence at the time".[46]

Charts[edit]