Am I supposed to change — The best of Aaliyah

Age turned out to be a number for Aaliyah Dana Houghton, for her death in a plane accident a few months after her twenty-first birthday reminded listeners that her preternatural cool might have been a skin she was ready to shed but instead became a manner that froze in place for all time. Timbaland and Missy Elliott were made for Aaliyah like Arif Mardin for Dusty Springfield, and I understand why they regarded Ciara at the dawn of her own career as a successor.

For example, I can’t imagine another male or female performer in 2000 inhabiting the cliche of a hook in “Try Again.” Timbaland’s rustling moth-caught-in-a-screened-window of a backing track prods her but she doesn’t budge. When she asks “are you that somebody?” I get the sense she’s looking at her watch; when she says “we need a resolution” I suspect she wants the resolution before her brunch reservation. She might have spent the 2000s like Monica or the 2010s like Ciara, in search of a context that made full use of her unaffected stillness. One in a Million is unavailable for streaming in the United States. Petition your congressmen.

1. Rock the Boat
2. One in a Million
3. We Need a Resolution
4. Erika Kane
5. More than a Woman
6. Are You That Somebody
7. Hot Like Fire
8. Back and Forth
9. If Your Girl Only Knew
10. Up Jumps da Boogie
11. Try Again
10. 4 Page Letter
11. I Care For 4 U
12. Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number
13. The One I Gave My Heart
14. Down with the Clique
15. Loose Rap

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