I’ve been meaning to do an Aaliyah post for a while, but what spurred me to do it now was this article I just read on Yahoo regarding the plane crash involving Travis Barker and DJ AM. The article profiled musicians who died in plane crashes, but there was no mention at all of Aaliyah. That really stuck in my craw. Aaliyah was fairly (though not completely) mainstream when she died, and even without that, she had a huge following in R&B fans.
I remember the morning I woke up and found out she died. I am a person who takes death really hard in general, so I cried later that night at the suddenness of it and how her family must feel, especially considering that it was eerily preventable. The pilot had drug convictions and was not authorized to fly with that particular airline, the plane was majorly overloaded. Everything surrounding her death was just so sad. I remember her episode of MTV Diary had recently aired and she was laughing and joking around with one of her makeup artists who also died in the crash (Eric Foreman), and at the end she talked about death and how she would want to be remembered. Then, the beautiful end of the Rock the Boat video where she was wearing black and floating up is a striking scene. She and that video were featured on BET’s Access Granted, so the days leading up to her death and the morning of the day she died are captured on film. I remember her looking out at the sunrise on that beach in the Bahamas and how peaceful she seemed.
The coverage of her funeral was so sad, I remember watching the footage and seeing how heartbroken her mother was…and hearing her friends and colleagues speak about her. I always admired how well-spoken she was, her grace and confidence, and how genuinely nice she seemed. Of course we don’t know these musicians but in a way you feel like you do because you grew up with their music. Musically, it is a shame that she didn’t get to promote her last album, titled Aaliyah, because that is a strong CD. It was a departure from her usual sound and it’s a CD that, even now, I can listen to the whole way through. I always kind of cringe at her debut album cover with R. Kelly lurking nearby, and the song Age Ain’t Nothin But A Number…yeah. That whole CD I felt didn’t really fit her especially for the age she was. I did like Young Nation though. The tribute to her by various artists for the song I Miss You was nice, except Toni Braxton sexin’ it up. Wtf, Toni? Oh snap, I just noticed Bubbles and Bodie from The Wire are in the video! I wonder what their connection was to Aaliyah? Anyhoo, here are my favorite Aaliyah songs/videos:
Hot Like Fire
This song was and is still so jamming. This was in the era of everybody appearing in everybody’s videos chillin and having a good time.
4 Page Letter
I don’t know why I love this video so much. It was just aesthetically pleasing, I guess. I loved the silver, her lipstick, the woods scenes, the dances, it all just works.
Aaliyah videos inundated the airwaves the time surrounding my freshman year of high school, and they combined to give that signature Aaliyah/Timbaland/Missy sound. Also from that time period: If Your Girl Only Knew, One In A Million, The One I Gave My Heart To (I love the video version versus the album version. She was singing her heart out on the video version!).
Are You That Somebody
Who didn’t know and do the dance in this video whenever possible? It’s actually a good workout, you should try it.
We Need A Resolution
I love the darkness of this video, the snakes, the dirt, the music, Aaliyah was gorgeous in this video. This final album is so fluid and cohesive that it’s hard to single out particular songs. The album just flows nicely, if you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend it. I would have loved to see how she did on future musical works.