Talk About Our Love
|"Talk About Our Love"|
|Single by Brandy featuring Kanye West|
|from the album Afrodisiac|
|B-side||"Like It Was Yesterday"|
|Released||March 28, 2004|
|Format||CD, 7", digital single|
2004; Record Plant|
(Los Angeles, California)
|Writer(s)||Claude Cave II, Harold Lilly, Kanye West, Carlos Wilson, Louis Wilson, Ricardo Wilson|
"Talk About Our Love" is a song by American recording artist Brandy Norwood, taken from her fourth studio album, Afrodisiac (2004). It was written by Kanye West, who also appears as a featured artist on it, and Harold Lilly, while production was handled by the former. Due to the song's use of a sample of Mandrill's 1978 song "Gilly Hines," penned by band members Claude Cave II, and Carlos, Louis and Ricardo Wilson, they are also credited as writers. Lyrically, "Talk About Our Love" is about a relationship that lacks support by family and friends; the music consists of an arrangement using a bass, keyboards, drums, and string instruments, the latter of which were provided by Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari.
Recorded late into the production of the album, the track was an eleventh hour addition to the album's track listing alongside "Where You Wanna Be." It was eventually selected as the album's lead single in a last-minute decision and thus replaced the Timbaland-crafted song "Black Pepper," resulting in his dissociation of the Afrodisiac project. Released to generally positive reviews by critics during the second quarter of 2004, "Talk About Our Love" became a moderate chart success around the globe. While it peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart, the song reached the top thirty in Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands, but barely made it to the top forty on the US Billboard Hot 100.
"Talk About Our Love" was promoted on several shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CD:UK and Today and later included in the encore set of her 2009 Human World Tour. Its accompanying music video was directed by Dave Meyers, based on a concept by West. It portrays Norwood and the rapper as a couple who is frequently disturbed by nosy friends and neighbours, who keep on popping in and out of their house to find out about their affairs. At the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, Norwood garnered a nomination in the Best R&B Video category for her work in the clip though she eventually lost to Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You". Additionally, the song received a Best Collaboration nod at the 2004 MOBO Awards.
Background and recording
"Talk About Our Love" was written by American rapper Kanye West and songwriter Harold Lilly, with production handled by the former. The song samples American funk band Mandrill's 1978 song "Gilly Hines". Due to the interpolation, band members Claude Cave II, and Carlos, Louis and Ricardo Wilson received co-writing credits on the track. Recorded by Eugene Toale at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, California, it was mixed by Manny Marroquin and engineered by Jun Isheseki with further assistance from Blake English and Kenisha Pratt. Israeli musician Miri Ben-Ari played the violin while Ervin A. Pope was on the keyboards. Lyrically, "Talk About Our Love" revolves around a relationship that lacks support by family and friends. Speaking of the content, Norwood remarked: "For me, [it's about] when you're in a relationship and you just wanna be one with that person and you want everybody to support you, but they don't."
An eleventh-hour additions to the album's final track listing, "Talk About Our Love" was not recorded until late into the production of Afrodisiac. Although Norwood had considered the project complete by October 2003 after intense recording sessions with producer Timbaland and his team, Atlantic Records executive Geroid Roberson encouraged the singer to attempt additional studio sessions with West following the success of his debut album The College Dropout (2004). "One of the executive producers of my album [Roberson] is one of Kanye's managers, so that's how we hooked up," Norwood explained the following year, adding, "He said he always wanted to work with me [and] having followed his successes, I've always wanted to work with him. When we got together it was like, 'Oh, my God! This is great chemistry. It's magical. Kanye's passionate about the song, and so am I, so it worked out great'!"
Borrowing from West's own sound at that time, including wordplay and sampling, Norwood compared the song to fellow R&B singer Alicia Keys' 2003 single "You Don't Know My Name," another West production. The singer described "Talk About Our Love" as being about "being in a relationship being so deeply in love that everybody wants to be in your business. Everybody wants to be opinionated about what you do and why you do it and I think everybody in a relationship experiences that kind of stuff, people talking about your business so that is what that song is about." On the final result Norwood commented, "We collaborated and we just came up with a great melody [...] It's about two people in a relationship where everybody is in and out of their business, which is something that everybody in a relationship goes through."
Release and promotion
Though Norwood was expected to shoot a music video for a Timbaland-produced "hyper, bass-heavy" banger track, entitled "Black Pepper", during the second week of December 2003, plans for the single eventually fell through in favor of additional recording sessions with West, the result of which was "Talk About Our Love". Picked as the album's lead single by Atlantic Records heads, the decision somewhat contrasted with Timbaland's major influence on the album and resulted in his dissociation of the Afrodisiac project. Norwood later voiced her discontent towards her record company bosses for subsequently deciding to release it as the album's first single. “No offense, but ‘Talk About Our Love’ was never really my choice to come out with," she said. "I had created a creative energy and a creative bond with Timbaland. What we were trying to do for the album, it was a completely different sound than ‘Talk About Our Love.’ It was just a little bit interesting for me, and I just wanted to keep the same consistency. But also, Kanye was hot at the time and I wanted to work with him too, but for me it was really what I was trying to create a creative bond with Timbaland. So that wasn’t my choice to come out with that first.”
"Talk About Our Love" made its world premiere on March 26, 2004 via AOL Music's First Listen program, where it was streamed more than 4.6 million times within its first two month of release. By March 28, the final version of the track had leaked. "Talk About Our Love" was shipped to radio in early April 2004, while its maxi single in Australia and the United States was eventually released on April 27, 2004, including a re-worked version of Timbaland-penned "Turn It Up," Afrodisiac's preceding buzz single. Elsewhere, Mike City–crafted "Like It Was Yesterday" appeared as a b-side on the CD single. On July 13, 2004, a dance mixed single was released, featuring previously unreleased mixes of the original version. Remixes were produced by Albert Cabrera, Bill Hamel, Eric "E-Smoove" Miller, That Kid Chris, Lawrence Fordyce, Eric "Thick Dick" Miller and D. Brandon under his Alan Smithee pseudonym.
"Talk About Our Love" garnered a generally positive response from contemporary music critics. In his album review for Allmusic, Andy Kellman noted that "Talk About Our Love" was a "career highlight for both producer and vocalist" and it was "even more exceptional than another recent Kanye West-produced track, Janet Jackson's own "I Want You." In his review for Billboard magazine, Michael Paoletta compared the song to another West production, writing that "now armed with a new single, Brandy sounds more grown up and confident (echoes of Mary J. Blige abound). At times, this Kanye West production sound like a lost Shalamar track. In this way, "Talk About Our Love" also recalls Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name", which West co-produced [...] Breezy and melodic, the song intertwines disco–era orchestration and electro–hued hip hop". In her review of Afrodisiac, Sharon O'Connell of Yahoo! Music called West's productions the "two killer tracks" on the album.
Vibe magazine found that "Talk About Our Love" would aim at Norwood's core audience, stating that "Brandy comes out of the gate with a bangin' Kanye West–produced single [and] this mid–tempo jam is sure to gain the love of many fans that might have been wary of Brandy's recent projects. Watch out Beyoncé and Ashanti – Brandy's back!" BBC Music rated the song three our of five stars, and wrote: "The chorus is catchy and memorable, so you'll be humming that, but you might not remember how the verses go [...] It'll probably chart somewhere in the teens. It's a good song but does take a few listening before you get into it."
On May 6, 2004, the song debuted at number eighty–eight on the Billboard Hot 100, the sixth-highest US debut of the week. The single peaked at number thirty–six on June 3, the same week it earned the Hot 100's greatest retail gainer designation, eventually becoming Norwood's lowest-peaking lead single then. Moreover, it became her first single failing to reach the top 20 since 1999's "U Don't Know Me (Like U Used To)" at number 72. "Talk About Our Love" was more successful on Billboard's component charts: Benefiting from strong physical sales, it reached the top spot on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart and number three on the Hot Singles Sales, as well as the top 20 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The remix single also peaked at number two on the Hot Dance Singles Sales.
In the United Kingdom, where the single reached its highest international peak position, "Talk About Our Love" debuted at number six, becoming Norwood's fifth non-consecutive top-10 single. The song was the second-highest entry of the week behind Britney Spears' "Everytime" at number-one, and remained two weeks within the top 10. Elsewhere, "Talk About Our Love" enjoyed moderate success. While it still managed to reach the top 40 in Australia, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands, the single failed to enter the top 50 on other foreign markets.
The music video for "Talk About Our Love" was filmed in Los Angeles between March 6–7, 2004 and produced by Rick Revel for Radical Media Inc. It was the third Brandy clip to be directed by Dave Meyers, who had previously worked with her on the videos for "Another Day in Paradise" (2001) and "What About Us?" (2002). Apart from producer Kanye West, who came up with the concept for the video, Norwood's younger brother Ray J also makes a cameo appearance in the clip. The Music Video set is also known as the first place Kanye met and attained affection for his current wife Kim Kardashian, who was Brandy's assistant at the time.
The concept of the video was influenced by Norwood's personal experiences at that period, picking up the idea of nosy friends and neighbours, who keep on popping in and out of her house to find out about her affairs. Opening with an additional musical intro, the first scene in the video begins with Norwood confronting West, who's standing behind the kitchen's table, when other people switch constantly in and out the room and watch what's happening. The camera follows West's fleeing steps through the floor, incessantly backspacing on Norwood, who runs after him. The scene shifts into the living-room, where it changes into a sequence with two male dancers, before Norwood leaves the room to take stairs into the bedroom. West follows and sings to her next on the bed, when once again pop strangers in the room and Norwood and Kanye decide to escape out of the house. The video ends with both singers sitting in an oldtimer and driving down the street.
The video premiered on May 2, 2004 at the end of its Making the Video episode on MTV and entered general rotation on MTV the following day. It debuted on the network's Total Request Live on May 10 and on Canada's MuchMusic in the week ending May 16. It reached number three on the TRL top ten video countdown on May 21, its seventh day on the countdown; and was retired from the show after spending thirteen days on the countdown. Temporarily, the "Talk About Our Love" video was the most-played clip on BET, reaching number two on the network's video countdown 106 & Park. PopMatters ranked the video among the best music videos of 2004. At the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, Norwood and West were nominated in the category of Best R&B Video for "Talk About Our Love."
Formats and track listings
Credits and personnel
|Chart (2004)|| Peak|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||61|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||50|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||89|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||25|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||42|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||6|
|US Billboard Hot 100||36|
|US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)||13|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||16|
|Worldwide||March 28, 2004||Online premiere|
|United States||May 25, 2004||CD single||Atlantic|
|Germany||June 7, 2004||CD single||Atlantic, Warner|
|United Kingdom||June 14, 2004|
|United States||July 13, 2004||Remix single||Atlantic|
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