Long Distance (song)
|Single by Brandy|
|from the album Human|
|Released||October 15, 2008|
2008, Boom Boom Room|
|Brandy singles chronology|
"Long Distance" is a song by American recording artist Brandy Norwood. It was written by Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Jeff Bhasker, and Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, and was co-produced by Jerkins and Mars for her fifth studio album Human (2008) based on a demo by Mars. It appears as the seventh track on the album on which it is interluded by a telephone conversation between two lovers (Brandy & an unidentified male voice). The lyrics of the piano–led power ballad describe the protagonist's emotional state towards an ongoing long-distance relationship, which leaves her in depression.
The song was the second and final single to precede the Human album. Upon its release in October 2008, it garnered a generally mixed reception from music critics who applauded the song's lyrical content, its vocals and the hymnlike character, while others found the song would sound too clichéd and outdated. Never released outside North America, "Long Distance" managed to peak at number 38 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart but failed to enter the Hot 100; though it became the second consecutive Human single after "Right Here (Departed)" to reach the top spot on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. An alternate pop remix, which featured a different instruments, was serviced to mainstream radio in February 2009.
The accompanying music video for the single was directed by Chris Robinson and filmed at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles in November 2008. Depiciting Norwood as a singing diva, who remembers moments with her distant lover, the video shifts from black-and-white to color photography during its bridge. Both Mars and Lawrence appear as pianists in a sequence of the clip.
Background and recording
"Long Distance" was written by two-third of The Smeezingtons production team, singer Bruno Mars and writer Phillip Lawrence, along with producer Jeff Bhasker. Production on the track was handled by Mars and longtime Brandy contributor Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, who expanded the original demo track which was sung by Mars. The song was one of the first records Lawrence and Mars team collaborated on. Eventually scouted by Norwood's A&R manager on Epic Records, Brandon Creed, the track was presented to Norwood, who "fell in love with it" upon hearing and later approved of it. When asked about her relation to the song, whose lyrics deal with the conditions of long-distance relationships, Norwood elaborated:
"Whether it's a significant other or your daughter, a lot of people are away from the people they love. I met some lady, and she was telling me her husband is away in Iraq right now. I was like, 'I have the perfect song for you.' Just being in a long-distance relationship, that experience is weird. You're not able to have that time, and you need that time.
"Long Distance" was released to a mixed reception by critics. Hillary Crosley of Billboard gave the song a positive review, stating: "An old radio wives' tale says that a good ballad will carry an artist through the winter months – and up the charts. As such, Brandy follows her comeback single "Departed" with another slow burn about loss. But this time, her lyric details a long-distance relationship and how difficult it is to go on while her beau is away. The piano-driven track is peppered with layered vocals from the songstress. It's refreshing to hear Brandy's voice again and equally heartwarming to see she and Rodney Jerkins reunite creatively." Talia Kraines, writing for BBC Music, described the song as the soundtrack to "a heartbreaking moment on a Grey's Anatomy finale." She found that the "understated ballad is just as good as [Beyoncé's] "If I Were A Boy" and "should be a global hit, beating with surging strings and tenderness."
Jon Pareles, writing for The New York Times described "Long Distance" as "a hymnlike single that distantly echoes Janet Jackson’s "Again." Nick Bond from MTV Australia called the song "the album's safest moment" and sumed it as a "bombastic piano ballad worthy of Whitney Houston." Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe praised the "warmer, more organic" structure of the song, which she found distinguished from the rest of the Human album, and noted that the song "brings out the expressive best in Brandy's pleasantly raspy vocalizing." By contrast, Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine criticized the song's "attempt at recapturing Brandy's past successes," and further wrote that it "sounds like a cliché power ballad that could have been sung by Phil Collins or Peter Cetera in the '80s as the theme for some big Hollywood popcorn flick."
Although an accompanying music video for the song was actually expected to be shot by Norwegian director Ray Kay in the week of October 20, 2008, the actual clip for "Long Distance" was eventually filmed by Chris Robinson on November 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Executive produced by Amanda Fox for Robot Films, it was Norwood's second video be directed by Robinson, who had previously worked with her on 2002's "Full Moon" clip. As Robinson stated in a behind-the-scenes interview with Rap-Up, the concept of the video is basically about performance. Willed to create a clip as cinematic as he had considered the lyrics of the song, he chose the opulent Park Plaza Hotel to depict his vision of taking Norwood "through the feeling of missing the person she's in love with." Both Bruno Mars and Philip Lawrence appear as pianists in a sequence of the clip.
The music video premiered on entertainment blog PerezHilton.com on December 1, 2008, where it was described as "Whitney circa the '90s (the Babyface era)." Upon its television debut, it came in at number nine on BET's 106 & Park countdown on December 22, 2008, and peaked at the top position on January 14, 2009 where it held the number-one spot for an entire week.
The video starts off with Norwood sitting at a dresser in her empty dressing room looking in the mirror, putting on a ring, and putting on make-up while she is thinking about her boyfriend. This part of the video is combined with scenes of Norwood spending time with her boyfriend. The second part of the video shows Norwood singing in front of the Park Plaza Hotel restaurant while her boyfriend is over by the bar. She is singing to him that she can't be home but she will be home soon. Then he goes over to her and touches her on the face. Then, the camera zooms out of this part of the video to find that it's something that Norwood is watching in a picture frame in her room, which catches on fire while she is singing the second half of the second chorus of the song. Then from the bridge of the song to the end of the video, it goes into color while Norwood is standing in between a row of red curtains while it's raining. Then at the end of the video, some of scenes reverse (in color). The video ends with Norwood looking into her dresser mirror.
Formats and track listings
Digital download single
Credits and personnel
|Global Dance Tracks||17|
|US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)||24|
|US Adult R&B Songs (Billboard)||13|
|US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)||1|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||38|
|United States||radio premiere||October 3, 2008|
|rhythm/crossover radio||October 15, 2008|
|digital download||November 11, 2008|
|mainstream radio||February 10, 2009|
|Remixes EP||February 24, 2009|
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