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At Her Best: The Best of Aaliyah’s Ballads

Published: Wednesday 16th Jan 2013 by Rashad

As many know, today marks what would’ve been the 34th birthday of ‘One In A Million’ maestra Aaliyah.

Though her life was cut tragically short in 2001 at the young age of 22, the sweet voiced songstress had already collected more hits and accolades in that brief time than many artists 2-3 times her senior.  In such, we at That Grape Juice, like so many around the world today, pay homage to the everlasting legacy of the late R&B hitmaker.

But this time, with a twist:

With a catalogue rich with nearly a decade of hits, most remember Aaliyah for club grooving cuts like ‘Back & Forth’, ‘Are You That Somebody’, ‘Try Again’, and ‘Rock the Boat’.  And, while these numbers are still on repeat here at TGJ HQ, we would like to lend a lens to examine the singer’s slow grooves.

For, just like she could get the party started, Haughton had her fair share of slow jams and ballads that deserve attention as well.  Indeed, jams like ‘One In A Million’, ‘4 Page Letter’, ‘Young Nation Under A Groove’, ‘Heartbroken’, ‘Don’t Wanna’, and ‘Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number’ still had no shortage of ‘groove’.

But, it was songs like ‘The One I Gave My Heart To’, ‘I Care 4 U’, ‘Journey To the Past’, and ‘I Refuse’ that not only showed off her signature falsetto, but also ventured into range of rarely used belts that really showed off her vocal chops:

We can’t help but wonder how things would be for the R&B beauty if fate would have it she were alive to compete with today’s R&B elite.  But, we know, as long as there are fans in search of quality music – her name will remain in mention with the best of them.  And, with hopes of hearing new music courtesy of label Blackground Records, the legacy is set to carry on for generations to come.

We salute you Baby Girl.

We’ve shared ours, but what are your favorite slow jams/ballads of Aaliyah’s?

Your thoughts?

Comments 61

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  1. J January 16, 2013

    34 wow.. rip aaliyah

  2. JAKE January 16, 2013

    “One in a Million”, “Journey to the Past” & “Miss You” >>>>>>> MY FAVES ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY FROM THIS GENERATION.

    Sorry Bey, Rih & Adele!!!

    *TheTruth*

    • Hop-Scotch January 16, 2013

      Hey @Jake…

      Where the F*** have you been? lol

  3. Connar January 16, 2013

    There will be no other like Aaliyah R.I.P

  4. april January 16, 2013

    The one I gave my heart to, One in a million, Miss You.. Aaliyah is my inspiration.. RIP

  5. Gotye January 16, 2013

    RIP baby girl!

    Honestly, I think she would’ve gone deeper into acting and musically she would’ve been in the same boat as Monica & Brandy.

    • Mark111 January 16, 2013

      B*******! Their sounds was totally differant. 2001 was already the fall of Brandy and Monica was too busy f****** low life rappers. She would’ve been what Justin Timberlake is now, release an album every 4 to 5 years and she already had 7 movies lined up. Think about it, Missy blew up in 02, Timberland blew up in 06, she would’ve had another dope album in the 2000’s with ease. Ashanti would’ve never had ground and Ciara would’ve been what Rihanna is to Beyonce and what Chris Brown is to Usher. Now, let’s play a game, let’s say that Usher would’ve passed in 01, he would’ve been known as a star that was about to blow up, we would’ve never gotten Confessions that made him a crossover act. Ok, say that Beyonce had of passed in 03, year DIL was great, but she didn’t become BEYONCE the entertainer til B-Day. Pick any R&B artist and pause their career at age 22, their would be no Thriller, no Rhythm Nation, Confession, I Am, Diary of Alicia Keys, or loud.

      • MUSICHEAD January 16, 2013

        Aaliyah was never going to be a BIG artist…sorry. I think people look more at her potential than they did at her actual success before she died.

        Aaliyah’s album was underperforming when she died and most radio DJ’s were saying that her new material was too left field to play on the radio. We Need A Resolution flopped and Rock The Boat only became an urban hit based on the circumstance of her death.

        I’ve always liked Aaliyah but in all honesty she sold more records after she died than she did when she was still around.

      • MUSICHEAD January 16, 2013

        Oh…and as for her acting career, Queen of the Damned would have flopped worse than it already did and her parts in The Matrix would have been too small to have any impact more than a buzz. She just wasn’t a good actress and Romeo Must Die kinda proved that.

        She would have eventually made her mark but she never liked performing live often which means she would have never been a great performer. She was too meek and shy to be anything close to what Beyonce or Janet Jackson is now.

        Brandy and Monica were the big stars of her generation and they would have continued to outshine her if she were still here today.

      • Mark111 January 16, 2013

        @MUSICHEAD or so called. Billboards hot 100 chart stats:

        Try Again #1 (with only radio play and before a music video. First in music history)

        Back N Forth #5(First single)

        At Your Best #6

        The One I Gave My Heart To #9

        If Your Girl Only Knew #11

        Are You That Somebody #21

        I Don’t Wanna #35 (No video)

        We Need A Resolution #59

        After Death, Miss You #3, Rock The Boat #14, I Care 4 U #16, More Then A Woman #25 and Come Over #32.

        Age Aint Nothing But A Number #75, these hits were higher on the R&B charts. Now on to album sales in the US.

        Age, 2 Million
        One In a Million: 2 Million
        Aaliyah: Sold 500K in 4 weeks and was #2 album in the first week, onlt second to Alicia Keys. The week of her death it was at #19, so I don’t know where you got that out of the top 50 from, ooh I know, YOUR ASS!

        She was the youngest to PERFORM at the Oscars at 17, a stage that Brandy and Monica never set foot on. She gotten good reviews for her first film. She was big in Japan and France. Brandy was just the Miley Cyrus of the 90’s and after the age 20, she fell off. Monica is and will forever be known as a great and true R&B artist. So to say Aaliyah wasn’t crap is a lil silly to say, the biggest? No, but she was known and was on her way. You hating kids who don’t know s*** always try to downplay her and bring down other artist to make your fave seems amazing. At the end of the day, this is not sports, there’s no facts on what singer is better then the other, it’s all opinions and people favorites. Aaliyah was MY fave, deal with it.

    • MUSICHEAD January 16, 2013

      Sorry Mark, it’s too bad you took my opinion personal but I stand by my comments.

      One In A Million was the only album by Aaliyah to approach 2 million sold before she died. After she died, her sales exploded as they usually do when an artist dies.

      Yes she had some hits here and there but none of them translated to record sales. In fact, back in the 90’s a r&b song could easily go top 10 and even be certified gold based on urban support alone.

      None of your statements support the fact that Aaliyah struggled to cross over and keep up with her contemporaries of the time. Since I’m probably older than you I can attest to this and remember it like it was yesterday.

      But if you wanna compare her to Brandy & Monica let’s do it:

      Brandy: 4x Platinum (1994)
      I Wanna Be Down # 6 (#1 r&b) Gold
      Baby #4 (#1 r&b) Platinum
      Brokenhearted #9 (#2 r&b) Gold
      Sittin Up In My Room #2 (#2 r&b) Platinum

      Never Say Never: 5x Platinum (1998) (Also Gold or Platinum in 12 other countries)
      The Boy Is Mine #1 (#1 r&b) 2x platinum
      Have You Ever #1 (#2 r&b) Gold
      Almost Doesn’t Count #16 (#7 Hot 100 airplay)

      Full Moon: Platinum (2002)
      What About Us? #7 (#3 r&b)
      Full Moon #18 (#18 r&b)

      Monica
      Miss Thang: 3x Platinum (3 top 10 hits)
      The Boy Is Mine: 3x Platinum (3 consecutive #1 singles)
      After The Storm: Platinum

  6. HOWYOULIKEIT January 16, 2013

    Street thing from her 1st album. That was real slayage

  7. the real xoxo January 16, 2013

    I like her but she is overrated.

    • MUSICHEAD January 16, 2013

      Very much so!

  8. SlayDeleAdkins January 16, 2013

    Forever Beautiful! <3

    Back And Fourth
    Age Aint Nothin But A Number
    At Your Best
    Street Thing
    Beats 4 Da Streets
    Hot Like Fire
    One In A Million
    If Your Girl Only Knew
    Choosey Lover (Old School/New School)
    4 Page Letter
    Ladies In The House
    We Need A Resolution
    Loose Rap
    Rock The Boat
    I Care 4 U
    More Than A Woman
    What If
    Try Again
    Miss U
    ALL TIME FAV TRACKS BY HER!! LOVE THESE JOINTS!!
    REST IN PARADISE ANGEL!!! <3 @~~'~~

  9. antertain January 16, 2013

    Salute to” babygirl, better known as Aaliyah”

  10. tits mcgee January 16, 2013

    Queen Janet’s real heir. What could have been. I’m grateful for the greatness we got. RIP Aaliyah. You are sorely missed.

    • Mark111 January 16, 2013

      So true. Aaliyah was to Janet what Britney Spears is to Madonna. Funny, Janet was gonna do a song with her and said nice things about her BEFORE she passed, but never mention Ciara’s name not once.

    • Ajala January 16, 2013

      I totally agree with both Tits McGee and Mark 111 So true with what you both said indeed about Aaliyah And Janet they steady trying to compare Ciara to being the next Janet but(Ehh imitates buzzer) if you look at Aaliyah’s are you that Somebody, Try Again, We Need A Resolution, and possibly Age ain’t nothing but a number and many other countless iconic music video she learn the craftsmanship of Janet and instead of Copying(Like Ciara seems to blatantly do) she took and said Janet’s a true legend and true legends create there own craft if I want to see that status Instead of Talking About how I want To be A legend I become one by Doing What Janet did and learning from legends whom came before her and make my own legacy by creating timeless music and that will stand the test of time, and iconic music videos that to can stand the test of time. Oh as well as the memorable Choreography.

  11. Let’s Be Real January 16, 2013

    Aaliyah constantly gets compared to the wrong people.Beyoncé and Rihanna besides being black women and in rnb cannot be compared. Aaliyahs death really only allowed Ciara to be popular for the time that she was popular.Aaliyah was going to take Janet’s place as the singer who may not have a powerful voice, but smooth vocals and even better dance moves with great music production.I love all her ballads listed here but my favorite Aaliyah songs will always be “We need a a resolution “,”are you that somebody” and “try again”.Timbaland made classics with that girl.

    • Hop-Scotch January 16, 2013

      Exactly >>> If anything, I think the “Comparison List” should resemble this.

      Aaliyah: Janet Jackson – in terms of musicality/style/image

      Rihanna: Madonna/Donna Summer/Debbie Harry/Debbie Gibson/Britney Spears – in terms of style/image etc…

      Beyonce: An R&B/Dance version of Tina Turner (as Bey isn’t a Rock artist)

      • Mark111 January 16, 2013

        Agreed, never understood why they compare her to Beyonce. I remember back then, I never even thought of Bey, I always compared Aaliyah to Mya. You had Brandy vs Monica and Aaliyah vs Mya. Bey was in a group, so why would they be alike? I said it then and I still say it, Beyonce wasn’t all that great in the 90’s, yea DC had hits, but as a group, if Bey was that great, she would’ve went solo from the jump, the other girls did it at 15. But Beyonce as grown into an AMAZING entertainer and is now one of the best if not THE best. Look back at the past 10 years and look how much she grew, as a singer, actress and performer. But with all that said, people do compare Usher to Justin Timberlake and JT was in a group just like Bey, so maybe they would’ve been compared, but both would’ve been on top. Hell you have Bey and Rihanna on top now, so it could’ve happend. But that the isusse, we think there can only be one and that’s not right. Back in the day you had Mj and Prince doing their thang, ya had Janet and Madonna doing it big and Whitney and MC doing great things around the same time.

    • Ajala January 16, 2013

      Let’s Be Real No one can take Janet’s place doesn’t matter if it was Aaliyah or Ciara Janet Solidify her legendary status in the year 1989 with Rhythm Nation 1814 Janet Signed, Sealed, And hand delivered her own legacy with A slewful of awards, nominations broken records, A Star On The Walk Of Fame Tours that at the time broke records on their own ETC. So no Aaliyah could never take Janet place but I have to say Aaliyah knew how to hold her own While learning and appreciating the best (And that’s Janet and many others before her).

  12. QueenytheQueen January 16, 2013

    You missed a grip-

    From Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
    1. Street Thing (this song is a gem)

    From One In A Million
    1. Choosey Lover
    2. Heartbroken (this song is a gem)
    3. Never Comin’ Back

    From Aaliyah
    1. I Care4 U
    2. I Refuse
    3. It’s Whatever (GEM)

    Of course the usual standouts, At Your Best, 4 Page Letter, One in A Million, Miss You, Journey to the Past and one of my favorites The One I Gave My Heart To.

    If you don’t know about Street Thing, Heartbroken and It’s Whatever, get your ass on youtube like yesterday! AALIYAH QUEEN!

    • QueenytheQueen January 16, 2013

      Let’s not forget “Giving Up” from the Sparkle soundtrack…

  13. Rihanna January 16, 2013

    Who is she?

    • joker January 16, 2013

      that deserves a ban. you bullshitting all time anyway. 😛

    • JAKE January 16, 2013

      So, WAIT, you constantly bash Rihanna and say that she has no talent but yet you have NO idea who the “TALENTED” Aaliyah is?

      B****.

    • QueenytheQueen January 16, 2013

      This is an ugly post’ Who is she?” get the f*** off of here!

    • I LOVE RIHANNA!!! January 16, 2013

      YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS IS A F** BEYHIVE MEMBER!! THEY KNOW WHO THE F*** SHE IS!!! SHE WAS SET TO BE QUEEN AALIYAH!!!! ITS BEYSUS F***** ASS!!!

    • Monstarebel (F** Boy) January 16, 2013

      Your f****** pathetic dude… take your ignorant ass elsewhere…

    • Mark111 January 16, 2013

      An R&b legend that had 3 successful albums and tons of top 40 hits. Known for changing R&B in the 90’s and was 100% orginal with her voice, sound and style. Someone Ciara wants to be.

  14. B4REAL02 January 16, 2013

    My faves are “I Don’t Wanna”, ” The One I Gave My Heart To (album version)”, “One In A Million”, “Choosey Lover”, It’s Whatever”, “I Care 4 U”, “Never No More” and many more …………She was definitely my favorite artist RIP Baby Girl we love and miss you!!!!!

  15. Sierra January 16, 2013

    She was truly a gift from God R.I.P #shehadsomuchbeautyandtalent <3

  16. HOTSTUFF January 16, 2013

    I love AAliyah rest in peace baby girl…..I saw in a comment above that she was gonna take Janet’s place ? please let’s keep this cute…..

    • tits mcgee January 16, 2013

      + 1

  17. Dilanoh January 16, 2013

    Cant Forget “Never Givin Up” Off One In A Million & “Turn The Page”

  18. I LOVE RIHANNA!!! January 16, 2013

    If this angel was alive she would have been married to jayz and would have been a triple threat!! before you get mad beyhives…jayz himself said he was inlove with aaliyah but anyways @jake yes she is way better than my fave as well…sorry riri!! A HAPPY BIRTHDAY AALIYAH DANA HAUGHTON!!!! YOU ARE TRULY ONE IN A MILLION!!!

  19. Carl January 16, 2013

    This was lovely, Aaliyah is forever an Inspiration! RIP BABY GIRL, 4 Page Letter, If Your Girl Only Knew, One In A Million, More Than A Woman & We Need A Resolution Are My Fave Aaliyah Songs With Videos, Most Of Her Discography Is Awesome Anyway <3

  20. Rihanna January 16, 2013

    R.I.P

  21. wasuppppp January 16, 2013

    aaliyah was one of the greatest rnb singers and other shallfollow happy bday to u

  22. Monstarebel (F** Boy) January 16, 2013

    Such a beautiful person R.I.P gorgeous you were taken away to soon ):

  23. DIGGER BEY January 16, 2013

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY AALIYAH! SHE’S ONE OF GOD’S ANGELS NOW! I really miss her. Sometimes I just can’t believe she’s gone. What a legacy she have left! Yes Baby Girl, your legacy is of a good person and full on Entertainer! I luv all Aaliyah’s songs but my favs of her ballads are Journey to The Past and The One I Gave My Heart To! And will u People stop bringing other females singers n this post. This is about Aaliyah and nobody else. Please grow up. #RIP AALIYAH ONE N A MILLION

  24. RoyalKev January 16, 2013

    There’s always going to be a special place in my heart for Aaliyah. She was so futuristic and uber-talented & creative. She was the only one I could actually visualize being a mini Janet … S***, classy and unique (though I’m always entertained by Cici). I love Aaliyah’s uptempo’s way more, but my favorite ballad from her is I Don’t Wanna.

    Aaliyah’s also one of the few on my very short list from her time that I believe would deserve to be relevant in the game now (besides Brandy, Mariah, Toni & EnVogue).

    http://www.thepagewithroyalkev.com

  25. Justme January 16, 2013

    “Turn the Page” is the best ballad. Her voice sounds incredible!

  26. Mark111 January 16, 2013

    My favorite singer of all time. I remember when I first seen her video, it was One in a Million and I was 10. Her voice was so rich, easy on the hears. Not week like some today, not over powering like some in the past, just right. She will forever be the Princess of R&B and Queen of Urban Pop.

  27. nick January 16, 2013

    i agree with the 9:38am comment; whybwe always comparing her? Aaliyah was amazing just like Janet, not a strong powerhouse vocalist, but she ruled the stage & made very good real r&b music, as well as fun flirty pop beats, but bery classy. I didnt realize she was 34, man it would be nice to se what shed be doing now-rip babygirl, god bless.,

  28. PrettyPrissyPrincess January 16, 2013

    First person I “stanned” for before i knew what “stanning” was…Happy Birthday Aaliyah *At Your Best (steppers mix )*

  29. MUSICHEAD January 16, 2013

    It always suprised me how hard it was for Aaliyah to crossover into mainstream before 2001. I don’t think most people caught on to her artistry until AFTER she died. Granted Try Again was a big hit in 2000 but she was mostly only known to urban listeners for most of her career and was consistently overshadowed by Brandy, Monica and even Mya at the time.

    In fact, her last album, Aaliyah, was already out of the top 50 and We Need A Resolution barely got much airplay at the time of her death. She would have been proud to see how well she was received after she passed.

    Anyway, here are my favs:

    One In A Million
    The One I Gave My Heart To
    4 Page Letter
    At Your Best
    Come Over

  30. Fan January 16, 2013

    Yes i love the songs when it comes to balads
    The one i gave my heart to
    Journey to the past

    Street thing, and never giving up is an amazing songs aswel she has so many amazing songs.

  31. You Wanna Bey Me January 16, 2013

    Happy Birthday Baby Gurl<3<3<3

  32. Suicide Blonde January 16, 2013

    “At Your Best” is my fav. song of her, she was so beautiful and talented, black people say Beyonce blah blah, blah….if you ask me, i think Aaliyah was somebody to be proud for the black community, good actress, good singer, good dancer and She possessed an extraordinary beauty and charm, i used to have a big crush on her, i used to think she was one of the most beautiful girls i’ve ever seen.

  33. Shanice January 16, 2013

    LMAO @ Aaliyah being an R&B legend.
    Stevie Wonder is an R&B legend, Ashford(rip) is an R&B legend, Babyface is an R&B legend, Whitney Houston is just legendary, and Smokie Robinson is an R&B legend. Aaliyah was an urban artist who had a scandal at 14, made some nice songs and died at 22.
    The same thing happened to Selena, Richie Valenz, Frankie Lymon, etc, ALL more popular and talented than Aaliyah.
    You Aaliyah “stans” that come out of the wood work twice a year or always have “Aaliyah would have been WAAAAAY better than A, Bey, and Ci” coming out your mouths kill me.
    Beyonce is the ULTIMATE performer right now, Aaliyah was never great vocally on stage and she didn’t dance as well on stage as she did in her videos. At least Janet KILLED it onstage everytime she stepped foot on it.
    Let’s not start on the FLOP “QOTD”, which I own, and Matrix movies, that were critical flops that she had small roles in. And “Sparkle”, though I love it, would have been a flop because Whitney wouldn’t have been in it back then, which is when it would have been made.

    You want some, come get some…AFTER I go to Creative Nonfiction. You know, some of us are trying to get degrees and only come here to laugh at the ignorance.
    Ta Ta!

    • MUSICHEAD January 16, 2013

      LMAO! Thank you!

      Aaliyah was a good talent but far from legendary. There was really nothing extraordinary about her. It was the Timbaland sound that made her stand apart from the rest. Aaliyah and Timbaland had magic just like Brandy and Rodney Jerkins had magic. The difference is, there was nothing extra special about Aaliyah’s voice that made her superior than any other female who could have sang her songs. Her live performances were average at best lol.

    • R U Serious? January 16, 2013

      @ Shanice, no offense, but who comes to blogs talking about college degrees? Most of us are either bored at work or online surfing the net. Who cares if you take online classes at the “University of we don’t give a F***”! What do you wan’t a cookie? A laffy taffy? You’re no better than the ones who come here daily, changing their names or avatar before leaving comments. Aaliyah may not have been legendary status, but for Christ sake, she was 22 years old, and had her whole life ahead of her. Her career was well established before she died. How many artist can you name right now that had at least three successful albums released at the age of 21? Old girl had mad connections in the industry, and money rollin in from every direction before she died, so give her a break. She suffered a horrific death doing what she loved, and that’s really f***** up! You will never be as successful as her or any other celeb for that matter. Now get the f*** out of here troll!

  34. MyPenIzFresh January 16, 2013

    Aaliyah was truly a artist on the rise. We could speculate about where she would be today, but I rather remember who she was then and what she left for us to Cherish. My favorite Aaliyah song is still One In A Million, and I was a huge fan. It is just one of those songs that defined not only her voice but her personality.. smooth, laid back and beautiful with a edge. She’s truly missed

  35. Touché January 16, 2013

    SMH at the comments insulting Aaliyah. Rip babygirl:/

  36. lyric lee January 16, 2013

    Rest Peacefully Angel Aaliyah! Her debut album is still a classic nearly 20 years later and my song of choice from her from that album was “Street Thing”. So much emotion at such a yound age…..words cannot express the sadness so I wont. Ill simply remeber her as she was – angelic, fluid, and a kindred spirit whose potential was nearly limitless. At her best ..she was love.

  37. jalecto January 16, 2013

    I love I care 4 u, one in a million, young nation, street thing, journey to the past, and the unreleased song “Giving Up” that she recorded for sparkle rest in peace baby girl!!!!

  38. mr.m January 17, 2013

    FLOP!

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