Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So, in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced the retrospective segment ‘TGJ Replay’.Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.
Today, it’s all about ‘All I Have’ – the critically acclaimed debut album of R&B chanteuse Amerie:
2002 gifted R&B three of the century’s most unsung R&B beauties: Ashanti Douglas, Charlene “Tweet” Keys, and Amerie Rogers. While Douglas and Keys’ careers were lifted to levels of top 10 glory on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 thanks to launching pads gifted by some of the day’s biggest hitmakers (see: Irv Gotti/Ja Rule and Missy Elliott/Timbaland respectively), Rogers’ camp – unable to boast the same – still managed to serve up releases critically on par with her R&B competitors.
A virtual unknown in America the year prior, the biracial beauty’s chance connection with burgeoning producer Rich Harrison would lead to a spot on his newly formed Richcraft Records with distribution secured through Columbia. Together the duo crafted a collection of progressive R&B tracks that would create a lane for the singer all her own.
After earning buzz in the U.K., summer 2002 saw Amerie making a splash across the pond as American R&B lovers were falling in love with her debut single, ‘Why Don’t We Fall In Love.’ A staple on rhythmic radio, the horn-laden ‘Love’ was lauded for its boisterous arrangement of crashing drums and Amerie’s uniquely layered harmonies. By the time its Benny Boom-directed video really began running the video circuit, praise from critics was being echoed by music buyers as ‘Love’ landed at #23 [where it peaked] just weeks after its Stateside unveiling.
Response to the tune led its parent album, ‘All I Have,’ to a #9 debut on the Billboard 200. To keep up the momentum, Rogers and co. selected the slower tempo groove, ‘Talkin To Me,’ as ‘Love’s follow-up:
Like its predecessor, ‘Talkin’ got listeners doing just that. Lifted to a #18 peak on R&B charts, the song – though not faring as well as ‘Love’ – still managed to peak at #51 on the Hot 100.
Much to fan dismay, the album – despite housing such gems like ‘Nothing Like Lovin’ You’ and ‘Show Me’ – was only granted two singles before being disregarded by the label. Still, without much label support, ‘Have’ managed to cross the ‘Gold’ certification threshold.
Laying the groundwork for higher heights courtesy of its follow-up, ‘Touch’ (click here to read our ‘Replay’ on the project), ‘All I Have’ may be one of the decade’s most unsung releases, but it holds a special place in the TGJ library for introducing the singer’s unique blend of harmonic layering and Go-Go inspired tunes to the masses.
While we press play on the album’s title track, tell us: