“Try Again” by Aaliyah (ft. Timbaland)
If you judge Aaliyah’s “Try Again” solely by its chorus, it comes off as sort of a general-motivational tune. And such was one of the ways it was conceptualized upon its inception. However, more specifically, the addressee is a romantic interest of the singer. And basically, what she is doing is encouraging him to stay persistent in his pursuit of her, even if at first she plays hard to get.
“If at first you don’t succeed
You can dust it off and try again”
Facts about “Try Again”
Warner Bros. Records, Virgin Records and Blackground Records released this track on February 22nd, 2000. It is the lead single from the hit album “Romeo Must Die: The Album”. And “Romeo Must Die” itself was an action film, starring Jet Li and multi-faceted Aaliyah, that came out that same year.
In fact the music video to the song, which had Wayne Isham as its director, also featured Jet Li.
“Try Again” is what some fans would argue as Aaliyah’s signature song. For instance, it topped the highly celebrated Billboard Hot 100. And in doing so, it became the first track in the list’s history to accomplish this feat based solely on radio airplay. That is to say that record sales themselves did not attribute to “Try Again” reaching number one.
It also made an appearance on six other Billboard charts, including topping the US Rhythmic listing. “Try Again” peaked at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart. And overall it charted in 20 nations, including being certified Platinum in Australia.
Additionally Rolling Stone went on to place this track on their list of the “100 Best Songs of the 2000s”, which was compiled in 2011. And it has also been recognized in similar regards by the likes of Pitchfork, Complex and The Village Voice.
Moreover the song, as well as its music video, was nominated for a few powerful awards. For example, it earned Aaliyah a nomination for both a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award and a Grammy Award. Moreover the video itself won two MTV Video Music Awards, in the categories of Best Video from a Film and Best Female Video.
“Try Again” was produced and co-written by Timbaland, who was one of the top names in the music industry during that era. And the other co-writer was Static Major (1974-2008).
Interesting to note that amongst the artists who sampled this tune was the late George Michael, who used it on his 2002 track “Freeek!”
Another interesting fact is that Timbaland and the late Static Major also wrote Aaliyah’s 1998 track “Are You That Somebody?”.
Timbaland’s vocal sections of this song interpolate Eric B and Rakim’s 1987 hip-hop classic “I Know You Got Soul”.