“Rock The Boat”
Twenty years after its initial release, “Rock The Boat,” and the rest of Aaliyah’s self-titled third and final album, is available on streaming services. Aaliyah died the month after the album dropped, in a plane crash on the flight from the Bahamas back to Malibu after filming the music video for “Rock The Boat.” This context — her tragic death, and the recent witness testimony to R. Kelly’s sexual abuse when she was just 13 or 14 years old — inseparably clouds the celebration of the release of her catalog.
But in tracks like “Rock The Boat,” we can still find joy. This song, with its smooth groove and straightforward sexual agency, feels ahead of its time and in league with contemporary tracks like “Pressure,” up next on this playlist.