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Single Review: Aaliyah “Are You That Somebody”

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Aaliyah is looking for a down-to-earth guy in the peculiar “Are You That Somebody.”

Timbaland introduces the song with a jumpy keyboard. He asks people in living in the south and on the east and west coasts if they are enjoying the beat so far. It sets an ordinary tone.

“Dirty South (uh-huh)/Can ya’ll really feel me (feel us)/East coast feel me (feel us)/West coast feel me/Dirty south (say what)/Can ya’ll really feel me (huh)/East coast feel me (baby girl)/West coast feel me (huh uh)/Dirty south (yeah)/Can ya’ll really feel me (say what)/East coast feel me (feel us)/West coast feel me (feel us)/Dirty south (dirty dirty)/Can ya’ll really feel me (yeah)/East coast feel me (baby girl)/West coast feel me (ha).”

In the first verse, Aaliyah has memorized her crush’s schedule and has been following him around everywhere. She says after “accidently” meeting so many times, they will eventually have a phone conversation. Then, they will date. However, she hasn’t told him she’s interested in him.

“Boy/I’ve been watching you/Like a hawk in a sky/That flies, and/You were my prey (my prey)/Boy, I promise you/If we keep bumpin’ heads/And you know that one of these days (days)/We gon’ hook it up/Probably talk from the phone/But see I don’t know if that’s good/I’ve been holdin’ back/This secret from you/Probably shouldn’t tell you but if I.”

In the chorus, she says she’s worried about him telling the tabloids he’s dating her. He can’t even tell his family. She asks him if he’s a rational guy. She adds that she needs someone won’t put in her danger. After all, she is a star. She wonders if it’s her move or his. She flirts that she’s the naughty kind of good girl. Then, she desperately asks if he’s wants to be her boyfriend. She really needs to have a boyfriend right now. The sound of a baby cooing is heard throughout the chorus.

“If I let you know/You can’t tell nobody/I’m talkin’ bout nobody/Are you responsible?/Boy I gotta watch my body/I’m not just anybody/Is it my go, is it your go/Sometimes I’m goody goody/Right now I’m naughty naughty/Say yes or say no/’Cause I really need somebody/Tell me are you that somebody.”

In the second verse, she asks him to meet him at night in the park. She will be wearing a trenchcoat and a hat. She doesn’t want anyone to recongnize her. She once again tells him not to say anything and to remember to pick her up. She thinks he’s a good guy who isn’t going to use her for her celebrity.

“Boy/Won’t you pick me up at the park right now/Up the block while everyone/Sleep, sleep, sleep/I’ll be waitin’ there/With my trench, my lugs, my hat/Just so I’m low key/If you tell the world/Don’t sleep, you know that we’ll be weak/Oh boy/See I’m trusting you/ With my heart, my soul/
I probably shouldn’t let you but, if I/If I let this go.”

The chorus is sung again.

In the bridge, Timbaland says that he’s from Virginia and introduces himself. He adds that he’s the hottest producer in the industry. He’s traveling from Virgina to Japan where he has meet and greets with his fans. He says that Baby Girl is Aaliayh’s nickname. He likes the way she sings. She’s also a really nice person. After meeting her, people who didn’t like her were her friends. Then, Aaliyah adds the last part of the chorus at the end.

“Baby girl/I’m the man from the big VA/Won’t you come play ’round my wayGotta listen to what I gotta say/Timbaland/Don’t you know I am the man/Rock shows from Virginia to Japan (what)/Have people shakin’ shakin’ my hand (what)/Baby Girl/Better known as Aaliyah/Give me goosebumps and high fevers/Making playahaters to believers/Don’t you know/Gotta tell somebody ’cause/’Cause I really need somebody (Uh huh)/Tell me are you that somebody! (say what!)”

The chorus is sung twice.

The thumping bass and the sound effect of a baby laughing and playing with a rattle has solo.

The last of the chorus ends the single.

“Is it my go, is it your go/Sometimes I’m goody goody/Right now I’m naughty naughty/Say yes or say no/’Cause I really need somebody/Tell me are you that somebody.”

Aaliyah is quite full of herself in the single. She cares more about her image than anything else. Her problem is that she treats him like a lovesick fan. However, he hasn’t even taken notice of her yet. A pop star hesitant to date a normal person is insulting. Assuming that his family is going to be starstruck as well if they find out is a bit much. It’s doubtful his parents even know who she is.

Timbaland can build terrific beats around unusual sounds (the operatics in Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.”) However, the sounds of a baby cooing is random and does not make sense in the context of the single.

Ego and unexplained weirdness sink “Are You That Somebody.”

About Pam Avoledo

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    i have this as a cd single. saw the video for it (back when they still played them) and was instantly hooked.

    good one.

  • reggie von woic

    Oh come on!! The cooing baby thing was good-i liked it!! The part before “Is it my go, is it your go” with the baby’s “solo” and the beats was excellent.

    Its my fav Aaliyah song after “Rock the boat”.
    I was and still and always will be an Aaliyah fan. I was pretty crushed when she died—just imagine where she would be by now…

    Oh yeah!! The video rocked!!! ‘specially that part with the tango-like dances towards the end–which reminds me: not only was she a great songstress, but an unforgettable dancer as well.

  • Braylin

    Wat are u talkin bout. the baby thing was so cool. i recently jus discovered that this song had a video and wat the name of the song was. (don’t judge me i was only 5 wen this song first came out, so i din’t kno. all i knew was dat i liked it. Everytime i watch the video 2 this song i get sad, cause i kno wat Aaliyah could be now. i wish i cud go back in time and prevent her from gettin on dat plane, but i guess that’ll never happen. Anywayz RIP Aaliyah you may be gone but you shall NEVER be forgotten.

    P.S. im not five anymore im 13 now

  • Braylin

    Wat are u talkin bout. the baby thing was so cool. i recently jus discovered that this song had a video and wat the name of the song was. (don’t judge me i was only 5 wen this song first came out, so i din’t kno. all i knew was dat i liked it. Everytime i watch the video 2 this song i get sad, cause i kno wat Aaliyah could be now. i wish i cud go back in time and prevent her from gettin on dat plane, but i guess that’ll never happen. Anywayz RIP Aaliyah you may be gone but you shall NEVER be forgotten.

    P.S. im not five anymore im 13 now