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"Clean" is the Grammy-nominated R&B singer Aaliyah's second studio album, released on February 28, 2020. It was released under Desperado Records.

Background[]

The singer recieved huge amount of backlash by the general public and media after back-to-back incidents that was happening in her personal life. Even though it was likely for her career to come to an end according to the media, the singer didn't stop working on her reputation and continued releasing hits after hits. For her second album, the singer decided to write all of the songs by herself after thinking that it would be the best chance to share her thoughts from her point of view.

Recording & production[]

After the release of the "re-release" version of her debut album, the singer confirmed that she started working on her second album. In December 2018, it was reported that the singer was coming up with another 90s R&B-sounding record even though her previous effort wasn't liked much by the critics. She later confirmed that she was working with Missy Elliott & Timbaland. On February 1st 2019, Aaliyah revealed that she "totally moved on" from the 90s sound and she decided to give a "more current" sound to her next album during her interview on Y94.

"About the next album, i think i'm gonna have to consider some things about what i'm gonna write about or what type of sound i'm going to use for it. But oh well, i can say that i will not use that type of sound anymore cause...i thought people would like it but, most of the general public didn't feel it as much as i did. At least i released For All We Know with current sound that it has on its songs. We changed the sound for the next album by the way. The theme is going to be different." she said.

4 days later, she announced that she totally scrapped the original idea she had for her second album and started from scratch. A month later the singer told her fans that she wrote over ten songs in a single day and delayed the release of her second album to release a collaborative project with Normani titled "she dreams of bloody tears."

Throughout the promotion runs of her singles this era, the singer informed her followers that "it's her most personal album to date".

Title & meaning of the album[]

The singer told announced the album title on February 7, 2020. Here's the description of the album taken from Apple Music:

"The album is about the revival of Aaliyah who had to go through bad moments in her personal life & career. Each song gives you an inside look of what happened since the release of her debut album "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number". Aaliyah tells you a story about how it was too late for her to realize that she was in toxic hands and how she had to overcome those bad memories she had with them. After accepting what happened, you're going to get to see her learining from her mistakes, washing her fears away, wiping her tears away and coming clean. Aaliyah starts from zero again and re-builds her personal life to survive. At the end, she sees the light and finds herself again."

Changes related to the album & rollout[]

On May 10, 2019, she surprise-released a collaborative record with Normani titled "she dreams of bloody tears." which spawned the #1 hit "balenciaga.". She revealed that she delayed the record and put her focus on the collab era at the time.

On June 24, 2019, Aaliyah told Andy Cohen that she wanted to release two more singles off "she dreams of bloody tears." and move on to her next solo era. She also told him that she wanted to release the album next year.

On July 5th 2019, Aaliyah released her first single which was written by her / the first single off the record titled "Advice". She mentioned that the song was released as a "standalone" single and wouldn't be on the album. But on October 1st, 2019, Aaliyah revealed that the plans on the tracklisting were changed and Advice was going to be on the upcoming record.

On July 9th 2019, Aaliyah gave the album release season for the first time. She announced that the album would be out Summer 2020. On November 13 2019 during her interview on Capital FM, Aaliyah told the listeners that the album would be out by Summer 2020 again but she announced a month later that the album was going to be released on March 6, 2020. Just a week before its official release, the album was "surprisingly" released a week before, February 28, 2020. Apparently the album was supposed to come out on July 2020. Then it was pushed forward to May.

On September 17th 2019, Aaliyah appeared on Ellen show. She talked about a song she wrote a day before she appeared on the show. She said that it would be the next single she was thinking of dropping later that year. She also explained the track. "...i might just finished writing the "next single" i'm going to drop. I wrote it hours ago and probably wrote it under twenty minutes. It's a self-appreciation song. A song that my fans will definitely cause the ideas the producer has for that song.... Not gonna tell y'all who yet but anyway- It's definitely going to be a fun bop and to think about it now makes me feel more and more excited about it. I'm loving it more than i love Advice already." she said. It was later revealed that the song she was talking about was "Motivation" and it was supposed to be the 2nd single instead of Happy Part II and supposed to be out on November 1, 2019. The single release was changed and she went with Happy Part II instead.

The singer has also mentioned several times that the album title was changed like 5-6 times till she had the final one.

Teasing the album[]

On March 5th, 2019, Aaliyah gave the first information related to "Clean" during her Ellen interview.

"Hm, well... i have been saying this the whole time that i'm gonna focus on myself more as the tour ends and i'm gonna be a workaholic for my second album. As i said before, i scrapped the first version of the project which had only like 6-7 completed tracks and started from scratch. I wrote more than 10 tracks "this week"....i found a great subject for this new project and decided to go with that. 2 tracks are completed so far. I'm thinking of starting the new era in the last couple of months of this year. The album will definitely come out next year." she said.

On July 5th 2019, Aaliyah released her first single which was written by her / the first single off the record titled "Advice". Despite peaking at #2 on Billboard Hot 100, the track became Aaliyah's most successful single to date.

On July 17th 2019, Aaliyah revealed that her second album was going to be "self-written" during her interview on Today Show. "My second album is self-written. I wrote over 10 tracks already and i'm trying to "perfect" things nowadays before going through the whole "production process"." she said.

On August 13th, 2019, she revealed a song lyric: "Fake love made me blind, couldn't see the wrong underneath".

On August 18th, 2019, she revealed one of the song titles from the upcoming record on her VIBE magazine cover story and explained the track. "Okay okay. My fans better read this to get the tea. There is a song titled "Happy Part II" which is the continuation of Happy. The meaning of this one is different than that but anyways. This track is about how happy i feel after getting relieved by telling everybody everything and seeing people supporting me/showing me love no matter what. One of the tracks that i'm sure you'll like it by the first listen." she said. "Happy Part II" was released as the second single on November 1, 2019. The song earned a Grammy nomination and was highly praised.

On September 17th 2019, Aaliyah teased "Motivation" on Ellen Show. Said that it would come out later that year. It was released a month after its supposed release date.

On December 13th 2019, the album was put on pre-order on iTunes Worldwide under the placeholder album cover and a title as "A2". The singer revealed the album cover, title and the tracklist along with the 4th single "All Night"s release on February 7, 2020.

Singles[]

"Clean" has spawned 4 official singles so far. "Advice" was released on July 5, 2019 as a standalone single. It's certified 13x Platinum in US despite peaking at #2. "Happy Part II" was released on November 1, 2019 as the second official single. 4 weeks later, "Motivation" was released and pushed on streaming platforms along with "Happy Part II". 4th and most recent single off the record "All Night" was released 3 weeks before the album release. All of the singles peaked inside of Top 3 so far. "Motivation" & "All Night" hit #1 for 3 weeks each giving Aaliyah her 3rd & 4th chart topping songs.

Commercial performance[]

"Clean" was released on all streaming platforms on February 28, 2020. After topping the iTunes Albums Charts for a week straight and getting high amount of streams, the album was managed to get a global #1 debut and give Aaliyah her biggest first week sales to date. Entering the Billboard 200 chart at #1 with over 288k digital copies (8k more from her debut album), "Clean" became Aaliyah's 3rd #1 album in the country (2nd as a solo). Thanks to the success the singles got, the album was certified Platinum in America a week after its official release. The promotional tracks "Crowded Rooms" & "Clean" was managed to chart on worldwide singles charts too.

Track listing[]

No. Title Length
0. "Deadwood"    
1. "Playing Games"    
2. "Sanity"    
3. "Gonna Love Me"    
4. "Breathe"    
5. "Crowded Rooms"    
6. "Hundred"    
7. "Outta My Head"    
8. "Motivation"    
9. "I'm Good"    
10. "Power"    
11. "All Night"    
12. "Happy Part II"    
13. "Clean"    
14. "To Me"    

Charts[]

[]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Billboard 200 1
UK Albums Chart 1
Canadian Billboard 200 1
Australia Albums Chart 1
Europe Albums Chart 1
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