It's About Time is Christina Milian's second studio album that was released on June 15, 2004 in Japan & July 13, 2004 in the United States by Island Records.
Christina Milian's self-titled debut album was released worldwide in October of 2001; however, its domestic release was postponed because of the September 11 attacks, which occurred just two weeks before its release date.
Her record label opted to release it later that year in the fourth quarter, but as Milian explained, new artists generally do not release their albums during that time. As a result, the album was again delayed until the first quarter of 2002.
After the international release of her debut album, Milian went back into the recording studio. She felt that music trends had changed into rock music, hardcore hip hop and tribute songs, and her music didn't fall into those categories.
Milian decided to stop recording and toured overseas for a year and a half. When she returned to the United States, she decided not to release her previous album domestically, and started working on a new album.
Production and Composition
Milian traveled the world to record the album, working with the popular producers of the time. The album featured production from Bloodshy & Avant, "Darkchild", Cory Rooney, Warryn Campbell, Bryan-Michael Cox and Poli Paul.
Basing her lyrics on past personal experiences, Milian wrote seven songs on the album. Milian later explained that she wrote what she thought other people would like, rather than writing for herself and what she liked.
When promoting the album, she said that she was excited about the album because she had matured since her last album, and it was "nice for people to see this change."
Discussing the change of genre between her lead singles, Milian said that the "first single off my last album, 'AM to PM', was more of a kiddie kind of thing, very pop. [Dip It Low] is more R&B, kind of a club/party kind of vibe."
An issue that Milian had with the album was that it did not flow. The various pop and urban influences in that album, she found, confused the audience. For her next studio album, Milian said that she wanted a more consistent feel.
For "Dip It Low"'s music video, Milian danced in a bed of black paint. Milian explained that body art was common in the 1960s: "they would dip in paint and they would roll around on a canvas and make art on the canvas. So I kind of 'dip' in the paint and do the same thing."
The song's lyrics are about putting an effort into the relationship as a female: "if you wanna be a little more sexy, you gotta dip it low."
Several years after the release of "It's About Time", Milian admitted that her new image for "Dip It Low" and the whole album was mainly for shock value. She had to make her way back into the US market, and by choosing a sexier image, she made a name for herself. "Dip It Low" was also meant to show that she was not the same 18-year-old girl in the "AM to PM" video.
To create her new image, Milian also decided to change her appearance and lightened her hair. Taking inspiration from Janet Jackson who constantly changed her image, she thought to herself, "'When did I like Janet Jackson the most?' It was when she had her lightened hair."
The style and sound of the album was compared to that of Beyoncé, Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez by several critics as well as Britney Spears, Aaliyah and Ashanti.
After several comparisons to Beyoncé Knowles in regards to appearance, Milian said: "I think she is a lovely artist, very talented but the only reason I changed my color hair is because I was getting bored of my same old look and I wanted to do something different."
Elysa Gardner of USA Today found that with Milian's "slight, sweet vocals and blithe, breezy pop-soul sensibility", the genre of the album was more pop than R&B.
Andy Kellman of Allmusic described "Dip It Low" as "a clever and ubiquitous slice of high-class raunch", and compared the album's sound to both Beyoncé's "Dangerously in Love" and Jennifer Lopez's "This Is Me... Then" albums.
Eric R. Danton of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said "Dip It Low" had the "plinking of an unusual Far Eastern-sounding stringed instrument", and "Whatever U Want" "rolls on a bass-and-drum combo".
Danton found the rest of the album to be "simply bland padding, with plodding, canned beats and half-hearted hooks."
- Dip It Low (featuring Fabolous)
- I Need More
- Whatever U Want (featuring Joe Budden)
- Someday One Day
- I'm Sorry
- Get Loose
- L.O.V.E. (featuring Joe Budden)
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Miss You Like Crazy
- Oh Daddy
International album bonus track
- I Can Be That Woman
UK album bonus track
- Hands on Me
"It's About Time" debuted and peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200, selling a total of 382,000 copies. Internationally, the album peaked at number 35 on the Swiss Albums Chart, 55 on the German Albums Chart, and 66 on the Dutch Albums Chart.
In the United Kingdom, the album peaked at number 21, selling a total of 63,708 copies, and achieving Silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry. In 2005, it received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Contemporary R&B Album."
"It's About Time" received mixed reviews among critics. Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly felt that the songs from the album "sound like they fell off a Paula Abdul album". Farber criticized the lyricists for writing "so many cliches", and said that Milian's voice "suggests a slightly more forceful version of Janet Jackson's pant". Farber gave the album a "D".
Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine said that while the album was "certainly not the worst album of the year", it was "pretty damn crappy." The reviewer enjoyed "Whatever U Want", "I'm Sorry" and "Get Loose", which he said "contribute some guilty pleasure ear candy".
Eric Danton of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found the album "suffers from the same problem afflicting most major-label albums dumped on the market by an industry desperate for quick cash — It's About Time features one hit single, a couple of lesser tracks and a lot of filler."
Danton felt that the only hit from "It's About Time" was "Dip It Low", while "Whatever U Want" and "L.O.V.E." were the album's lesser tracks. Danton praised Milian's vocal talent, but said that ultimately, "the lackluster material [...] rarely gives her a chance to shine."
Andy Kellman of Allmusic praised the club tracks on the album, feeling that they "work best and easily outrank the slower songs." Kellman called "Dip It Low" the biggest highlight of the album, but said that despite the album's "handful of bright spots", Milian "will need to be more convincing during the ballads next time out in order to be considered a true force."
Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times said that although "Dip It Low" was one of the summer's most popular songs, the album included an even better song, "I Need More". Sanneh explained that Milian "breathes a serpentine melody over a beat that consists of jagged snippets: some guitar chugging, a few handclaps, a couple of strategically placed beeps and, in the chorus, an unexpected nose-diving bass line."
Contrary to the views of other critics, Barry Walters of Rolling Stone said that although the ballads were "gooey", "the love songs work better than the dance tracks." Etta James of People believed that Milian struggled to find her own musical identity on the "fun but formulaic CD".
James praised the "sexy booty bumper" "Dip It Low" for its "reggae-ish bass groove, a hypnotic Middle Eastern refrain", and called Fabolous' rap "perfectly chilled".
The reviewer thought "Highway", the album's "most erotically charged track", sounded like a female answer to R. Kelly's "Ignition". While James found the album's most personal song, "Oh Daddy", to be the unsuccessful, she said that at least "it gives us a glimpse into the real Christina."