Today marks what would’ve been the 33rd birthday of R&B diva Aaliyah. Ten years may have passed since her untimely 2001 passing, yet the fallen angel is still regularly commented on in contemporary conversations and debates in popular music. Such only echoes the ever-present regard of her influence and style.
With just three studio albums, her nearly decade long career spanned more recognizable records than many could boast in twice the time. Even in such, there are often overlooked or unheard numbers that don’t receive the praises of “One In A Million”, ‘Back and Forth’, ‘The One I Gave My Heart To’, and more.
Thusly, we at TGJ HQ saw it only fitting to gift this ‘Best You Never Heard’ to fans and spectators in honor of the star that is Aaliyah.
Hear Miss Haughton ‘at her best’ after the jump:
Aaliyah – ‘Giving Up’
Before Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson‘s 2006 smash film ‘Dreamgirls’ moved moved onto movie screens, Pop icon Whitney Houston was set to reboot the famed 70’s musical ‘Sparkle’. A story that shares a storyline somewhat similar to ‘Dreamgirls’, Houston thought no songstress would better encapsulate the movies theme than ‘One In A Million’ enchantress Aaliyah. Unfortunately, Miss Haughton was never able to fulfill her duties for the role (later given to American Idol alum Jordin Sparks). Aaliyah did, however, get to record the movie’s famous track ‘Giving Up’. Already made famous by another musician who passed in his prime Donny Hathaway, it seems she had big shoes to fill – and fill them she did. Lending some of her best recorded vocals to the track, fans might be shocked when they hear how well she carried the song. Needless to say, Sparks has alot to live up to following both R&B legends.
Aaliyah – ‘No Days Go By’
While ‘No Days Go By’ never made the final tracklisting of Aaliyah’s signature ‘One In A Million’ album in 1996, it did see the light of day as a B-side for her remake of Marvin Gaye‘s ‘Got To Give It Up’. The latter itself is an oft-overlooked gem from the then 17 year old. Unlike most of her other numbers, ‘Days’ stands as one of her few self-composition. Get into the slick groove below:
Aaliyah – ‘All I Need’
Another unreleased gem, this song first found favor on Aaliyah’s posthumous release ‘I Care 4 U’. While the title track of the greatest hits collection quickly became a fan favorite, cuts like ‘Don’t Worry’, ‘Erika Kane’, and this jam, were a bit more overlooked (mainly due to the popularity of the set’s first single ‘Miss You’). The absence of Timbaland‘s blaring bass background does not take away from Aaliyah showing off that signature falsetto. Get into ‘All’ below:
Aaliyah – ‘I Can Be’
One of her edgiest tracks, ‘I Can Be’ was found on the singer’s last studio LP ‘Aaliyah’. As with most artists, Aaliyah explained in interviews that the choice to self title the album was due to its collection of songs being a representation of herself. If such was truly the case, songs like ‘I Can Be’ were truly proof of her versatility and maturity. A departure from her signature hip hop bump, the song fuses elements of electronica and rock, but still are R&B enough to compliment the singer’s soulful coos. Hear Miss Haughton put her falsetto on a temporary hiatus while she delivers the controversial, slick lyrics below:
Aaliyah – ‘I Refuse’
Aaliyah’s third, self titled album introduced us all to a new, more mature Baby Girl who tackled previously unexplored topics of sex, adultery, violence, and more. Lending one of her most dramatic numbers, ‘I Refuse’ tells the story of a woman scorned who has learned a lesson she refuses to repeat. A budding actress at the time of its recording, Aaliyah delivers a believable and fiery vocal performance and simply reaffirmed why she was truly on her way to conquer the industry on every front. Another stunning display of the songbird’s versatility, get into ‘Refuse’ below:
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Never Givin’ Up’, ‘It’s Whatever’, ‘Extra Smooth’, and countless more oft-overlooked gems from the songbird would fill this page if we listed them all. These are our faves, tell us yours (and give your birthday shout-out) below!