Editors’ Notes Coming off the eight-song appetizer that was 2018’s K.T.S.E., Teyana Taylor offers up a buffet of options fit for every mood and palate. The Album explores the multifaceted experiences with romance and motherhood that play such a major role in the singer-songwriter and dancer’s life. “When I first started on this album, I wasn't pregnant, but I knew that I was in a way different space than what I was with [2014's] VII and all the other music that I had put out—just being a mother, being a wife, and being a public figure,” she tells Apple Music. “I knew I definitely wanted to have a lot more fun, and I didn't want people to put me in that category where it's like, ‘Ah, she's married and happy, so that means we're about to get all I'm-in-love-type music,' you know?” Instead, she splits up the project into “studios,” with each one matched to a particular emotional profile. Studio A is love songs; Studio L displays her sexuality; Studio B is about exercising self-worth; Studio U is all vulnerability; Studio M finds triumph. “Depending on our emotion, we'll choose certain songs to kind of create a playlist,” she says. “What I wanted to do was pre-do that on the album where everything is broken up into sections, so the album kind of already comes playlisted.” The arrangement allows for deeper excavations into the nuances that define our experiences within relationships and the feelings those raise within ourselves; the broadness is a chance to tap into the universal. “Like how they say there's someone for everybody, there's some type of record for each and every person you can possibly think of on this album somewhere,” she says. “It's family, love, sex, heartbreak, dance. You can literally laugh, cry, scream out loud with this record.” Here's the backstory on some of her favorite tracks from The Album.

Come Back to Me
“It's crazy how God worked, because I actually recorded 'Come Back to Me' back when I was working on the VII album. This song is extremely old. So the fact that I've never really gotten the chance to use it, and then I have [daughter] Junie—we happened to have her on the bathroom floor, so now we have a real 911 call. Everything just worked, and then that's one of Junie's favorite songs. So to actually be able to have the intro be the 911 call, and then it goes into 'Come Back to Me' featuring [Rick] Ross and Junie, it was like God's timing is always the best timing. I never understood why it never fit on certain projects. It's almost like this song was literally made to open up this album. I'm really happy that it's found a home.”

Lowkey
“I'm still gagging. That was one of them records that the moment I heard the beat, I already knew exactly what I was doing. I have such a good ear for stuff like that. I was like, 'Yo, this sounds like “Next Lifetime.”' I immediately started singing and I was like, 'How do I make it my own? How do I make it new? How do I make it relatable for girls in 2019, of my generation?' I literally wrote that song in 30 minutes, because 'Next Lifetime' by Erykah Badu was always one of my favorite songs anyways, and my mom's favorite song as well. It took me about three months to ask Erykah if she could get on the song because I was so nervous, because, one, Erykah don't give anybody features. She actually tweeted about my album K.T.S.E. a while back, and I was like, 'Okay, yeah, this is dope,' you know, just being hype. But then when she commented on one of my pictures of me, Iman, and Junie, I was like, 'Oh yeah, I'm in there.' I remember I just took the chance. And I almost didn't, because whether you follow me or not, this is still Erykah Badu. I reached out, and I was so nervous, and she told me to send her the record. I sent it to her, and she called back and she was genuinely in amazement, because she was just like, 'Wow, the way you really turned it into your own.' Because there's a lot of artists that will send you a record that they did and it's exactly what you did, word for word. She was like, 'I would be honored to be a part of it.' And when she sent me the verse—you know, when you get features and stuff from people like that, legends, you almost don't expect a lot. So for her to send back and really go in on her verse and really—she really bodied that shit. I listen to it and I get chills every single time her verse comes in. So yeah, that's a moment.”

Morning
“‘Morning’ is a great song, especially live. As you can see, with the album version, even the intro is different—the way you hear it now is exactly how I perform it live. I wanted the album to feel like you could almost see me in concert. When it's time to go back on tour, if I wanted to perform this album in order, I could do that. And I think that's another thing that helped me come up with the idea of playlisting it and putting it in different categories and sections, because that's how I do it in concert, and that's the way people like to hear it because then they know what's coming next.”

Boomin
“Missy and Timbaland on the same track, that's another rare thing. Missy and Timbo on a track together with a splash of Future I think was super dope. You know when Missy's on a song, she gives you a little intro. That's the moment I was waiting for. She's also on the bridge, but that talking part—'This is a Teyana Taylor exclusive, suckas'— I've always wanted that from Missy. And then to get the beatboxing from Timbo, you know, this is a big deal for me.”

Bad
“I think 'Bad' is a bold record and that is a good record that goes to unapologetically being a bad bitch no matter what anybody put you through, no matter what heartbreak you've ever been through. I think every girl goes through that stage where they're super innocent, they love someone, and the person kind of takes advantage, and it kind of puts you in a different bag for the better. I think it's important for girls because as women, in certain parts of life and in relationships and stuff, you can lose yourself sometimes. Sometimes you've got to find yourself, pick yourself up and remind yourself, 'Okay, this is what it is.'”

Lose Each Other
“It's one of my only ballads on the record. It's perfect because it's just like we don't have to completely throw away everything, you know? Even in the beginning-beginning—those puppy love stages with my husband, and we had our little breakups here and there. It was just like, I'm still checking on your mom, checking on your brothers—like when y'all not really broken up, but y'all fake broken up for like a week. Everybody has been through that phase before in life, and that's what it's about. And that's the way I look at things—everything don't have to always be so bitter. You get into one argument and it's just like, 'Well, F you forever.' It's just like everything don't have to be that. We don't have to end on negative terms, because it's still a person that you once loved. We can accept it for what it is, you know? I think it's a very important ballad, because when you usually hear ballads it's perfect—it's either super breakup or super make-up or super I'm-in-love. Gray areas are definitely great, because I want to show the black, the white, the in-between.”

Concrete
“When I'm in that in-my-feelings type of mood, for me, it's 'Concrete.' You just feel it, like you ain't even gotta be going through nothing. You hear that song—you may not be going through it now, but you've been through it before. I think 'Concrete' is like that perfect song that's like, 'Yo, what's up? What we doing? Come on. I feel like I'm talking to concrete at this point.' It's like beating a dead horse.”

Still
“I think for what's going on now with the world, one of my favorites for sure is 'Still'—it's not the typical 'I'm crying for love from a specific man.' It's about being Black in America and everything that we're going through. We're constantly crying for love, we're constantly crying for hope, we're constantly crying for peace. It just seems like nothing's wiping our tears. We're getting places, but it's not enough. We need more. And being a mom and being a pregnant woman during a time like this, of protests and riots and stuff, it's very emotional. I get emotional seeing my people go through what they're going through and waking up to my husband and my baby every morning and looking at my husband while he sleeps knowing that, above all, you're a Black man first. I take that risk with you walking out that door. I could have lost you yesterday, I could lose you today, I could lose you tomorrow. So 'Still' is, I think, a very powerful record for me right now personally with what I'm going through. But I feel like 'Still' is also—you can take that record any way you want to take it. If you feel like you're going through something with your companion and you're crying for love and you feel like he don't hear you, that can mean that too. That's what I love about it.”

Ever Ever
“That's actually one of the first songs that I recorded. I think I might have recorded 'Ever Ever' and 'Still' on the same day. It took me a while to get through those records, because that's another record kind of like 'Lose Each Other' where it's just like, you know, 'Do you think about me sometimes? N*gga, I know I'm in your brain somewhere in there—even when you acting like you fake moved on or you acting like you fake in love for a little five minutes, then I already know you coming back.' So even though the song sounds so serious, that's really all it's saying. Just the petty back-and-forth that guys and girls do, because we've all done it at some point in our lives, no matter where you are in life, no matter how famous, no matter how regular you are.”

Made It
“I think wrapping it up with 'We Got Love' and 'Made It' was important because you done went through all the different emotions. And we got love at the end of it all. So we done been through this whole rollercoaster to wind up getting up where we really wanted to be and learning self-love and learning to love one another and embrace each other. I definitely wanted to end it on a more happy, upbeat note, because honestly, it goes to show that no matter what, you're going to have your bumpy rides and shit. This is what life is. Every single day is not the happiest day. Every single day is not the saddest day neither. I think with 'Made It' and 'We Got Love,' you take that deep breath and you realize you're still alive, and you're more grateful to still be able to live and have purpose.”

We Got Love
“[Lauryn Hill] specifically did this for me. I just wanted some inspirational words. I personally asked her for that, and she gave me words for 'We Got Love.' She sent me a dope voice note, and I used it for the album. That wasn't anything that I grabbed off the internet.”

SONG
Intro
1
2:47
 
Come Back to Me (feat. Junie & Rick Ross)
2
4:09
 
Wake Up Love (feat. Iman)
3
3:33
 
Lowkey (feat. Erykah Badu)
4
4:17
 
Let's Build (feat. Quavo)
5
2:31
 
1800-One-Night
6
2:32
 
Morning
7
4:47
 
Boomin (feat. Missy Elliott & Future)
8
5:31
 
69
9
2:41
 
Killa (feat. Davido)
10
3:02
 
Bad
11
1:27
 
Wrong Bitch
12
2:39
 
Shoot It Up (feat. Big Sean)
13
3:47
 
Bare Wit Me
14
2:08
 
Lose Each Other
15
2:19
 
Concrete
16
3:57
 
Still
17
4:04
 
Ever Ever
18
4:41
 
Try Again
19
2:58
 
Friends
20
2:24
 
How You Want It? (feat. King Combs)
21
3:41
 
Made It
22
3:18
 
We Got Love (feat. Lauryn Hill)
23
4:06
 

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