Album: Age Ain't Nothing But a Number (1994)

"Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" is an uncomfortable listen in 2014. Written and produced by Aaliyah’s musical mentor at the time, R. Kelly, title song from her 1994 debut is all about a young girl pining for the love of an older man, and her telling society that it doesn’t matter the age difference between the two of them. It’s a head nod-inducing track with a riding bass line that has a 15-year-old Aaliyah reprising Bobby Caldwell (“I got a thing for you, and I won’t let go.”) to assert her assurance about her forbidden love. If it wasn’t for the fact that it later came out that R. Kelly attempted to illegally marry the singer who was, at the time, 12 years his junior, nearly repairably taints the song. However, it's an important one in Aaliyah's career, one that should not be forgotten no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. —Damien Scott