A Please Release Me Special: The Amerie Album Is Still M.I.A. In The U.S.A.

Jun 26th, 2007 // 10 Comments

bili.jpgLast night, we checked up on the release date of Amerie’s Because I Love It, the R & B singer’s third album. Despite a) her attempts to pump up its pre-release cred with a mixtape and b) the fact that it’s one of the better R & B albums we’ve heard this year, its path toward store shelves in the U.S. has been fraught with delays. Sometime over the past few weeks, another one was introduced; the album, which was most recently scheduled for a July US release (it’s already out in the UK and Japan), is now coming out in the States on Aug. 21. Sure, it’s not Chinese Democracy, but this album’s been plagued with delays since we first heard “Take Control,” the album’s lead single, back in October 2006. After the jump, a timeline of our prolonged wait for Because I Love It‘s Stateside arrival:

Early October 2006 – “Take Control” leaks
Late October 2006 – Amerie releases the mixtape Because I Love It Vol. 1
December 2006 – Blow Up-inspired “Take Control” video is released
March 23 – Amerie releases “Gotta Work” via MySpace
May 5 – Because I Love It leaks
Mid-May – Album is released in the UK, Germany, Japan, and pretty much anywhere else that isn’t the US
August 21 – Album is released in the US. Maybe.

Did Amerie lose a video game tournament with her labelmate Kelly Rowland, whose own long-delayed album, Ms. Kelly, is finally coming out next month? The delays are somewhat boggling to us, if only because Because I Love It will have, for all intents and purposes, been out for three months by the time it gets an official release in the United States–that is, if the Aug. 21 release date stands, and the album isn’t be pushed back to sometime after the first anniversary of “Take Control”‘s debut.

We know we’ve been beating the Amerie drum around these parts for a long while, but watching an album that has commercial potential (thanks to Amerie’s name recognition, at least) get the short shrift from its label is an aggravating experience, especially when that album is available on import via methods both legal and illegal, which has to cannibalize sales the longer the album is delayed. “Take Control” and “Gotta Work” have been released by Sony/BMG as digital singles over here–neither got much of a push domestically, and they didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100, either; there’s apparently a video for “Gotta Work” in the works, but we have to wonder whether or not that’ll see the light of day Stateside. Maybe all of this is leading up to her eventually parting ways with her label? After all, her mixtape-making prowess has shown us that she can go it alone, and tweak the noses of Ludacris and Pharrell while doing so.

Because I Love It [Amazon]

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  1. Al Shipley

    Staggered international release schedules have always been pointless and frustrating, but never moreso now that once an album’s out physically somewhere, it’s online everywhere. I wanted to wait and buy this album, but I might just have to go ahead and be a filthy internet pirate if this is how her label’s gonna be about it.

  2. Chris Molanphy

    Agreed on all counts. But isn’t it obvious what they’re doing? The label’s going to keep “leaking” tracks until one of them blows up at radio, and then they feel there’ll be enough of a groundswell in demand to merit dropping the CD.

    It’s a craven strategy, but one obviously attuned to the current marketplace. They need a big first week (~200K) for this thing to make any money, and the only way that’s going to happen is with a big radio hit and the artificial demand that comes from withholding the album.

  3. Al Shipley

    Oh, you’re absolutely right, Dennis. In fact, it’s kind of a given these days, especially for hip hop/R&B. The irony is that Amerie’s last album was delayed a few times even when “1 Thing” was catching on like wildfire, because her label hadn’t officially approved it as a single and wanted to give the beat to J.Lo. And the album came out so long after the song had hit the top 10 that it probably didn’t sell as much as it could have (and also because the follow-up single was a complete dud).

  4. Rob Murphy

    I’ve also been waiting with great anticipation for this record ever since that terrific mixtape leaked.

    I’d be curious to hear the esteemed author’s and commenters’ thoughts on another potentially crazy theory about what may be delaying this release now. Could it be that Sony/BMG has already decided to cede the summer to Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad?

    I’ve been screaming from the top of my lungs everywhere — except on my blog, oddly, tho I’ll be writing about it this week — that GGGB is a terrific record and has laid down the marker for the dance/pop/R&B diva field for the rest of 2007. Seriously, that record puts Rihanna firmly on a plane with Beyonce and Fergie and the reinvigorated Nelly Furtado.

    Perhaps Sony/BMG thinks that Rihanna will suck up all of the oxygen in this space for the next 2-3 months and they’d rather come up in the fall, just as Beyonce [9/5/06], Justin Timberlake [9/12/06] and Fergie [9/19/06] all ceded the summer of ’06 to Nelly’s “Promiscuous Girl” [Loose was also a June release].

    Of course, that theory only relates to why the record is being delayed now — not why it wasn’t released back in, say, March or April. Perhaps Sony/BMG was trying to keep it out of labelmate Beyonce’s way, or perhaps they thought Fergie’s record was still too strong?

    Call me crazy.

    $.02

  5. Nicolars

    So tired of FAS Rihanna. Amerie’s album is so much stronger.

  6. Al Shipley

    Interesting theory, but neither Justin or Beyonce nor Fergie’s albums were delayed as far as I could tell, they all came out near or around their original release date. And if they had been delayed, I doubt it would’ve been because of Furtado’s album, which sold less than Justin or Beyonce anyway. The persistent idea that there’s one mythical ‘summer jam’ every year that all other release must make room for has always struck me as a big illusion, though, personally, as well as the whole “Beyonceitis” theory that the public can only handle on R&B diva at a time.

  7. Juancho

    @DHMBIB: Not a bad train of thought, but…

    “Promiscuous” was released in April ’07. “Maneater” was the second single, it didn’t drop until September, and it didn’t exactly take off like a house of fire. (That would be “Say it Right”, which was still a pretty slow burn upwards.) After the dud that was Furtado’s second record, nobody was ceding anything to her. That’s why she sexed up her image and hired Timbaland. It was sink or swim for her career.

    And for pete’s sake, don’t put Fergie anywhere near that class.

  8. Chris Molanphy

    @DHMBIB: I agree with the other followups to your comment here - it’s a good theory (and I too am impressed with the singles Rihanna’s putting out). But if Amerie had a radio hit right now, it wouldn’t matter what Rihanna was doing. Hell, Sony/BMG would drop the album just to give Island/Def Jam some competition for the diva dollar.

    I hold to my original thesis. I mean, look at what happened with Fitty – that album is very nakedly being held back to give Curtis time to find himself some hits after “Amusement Park” tanked. No doubt, Sony/BMG’s waiting for similar singles heat out of Amerie.

  9. Juancho

    @dennisobell: I can only hope he keeps waiting. And waiting.

  10. Aleb

    This is a freefiona.com situation, when they release the album it will be probably do decently, at least I hope…

    @dennisobell: I agree with your theory, more or less, but why not leak “Crush” then? Or “Hate2LoveU”? Or the other tracks that can make an impression in the US? Is Columbia deaf? Or is Mathew Knowles still trying to sell Beyoncé?

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