Happy 12th Anniversary, 31 Minutes To Takeoff!
On this day, twelve years ago, (August 10, 2010) Mike Posner released his debut album, 31 Minutes To Takeoff. The album debuted at number eight on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 29,000 copies.
Mike wrote and produced each track and collaborated with songwriters and producers including The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and Ari Levine), Benny Blanco, Greg Kurstin, Cisco Adler, Teddy Riley, and a few others. The record features guest vocals from Boyz II Men.
Posner’s idea for the album was to make something that didn’t sound like anything that was already out. In an interview with Billboard, Posner argues: “My music doesn’t sound like anyone else’s, and it’s important for me that it stays that way”, and that “I want to make songs that will bring people together”, Posner has stated that he draws a great deal of influence for his music from his hometown “Where I grew up was a huge influence on my music.” He also said that “A lot of people have trouble putting into words what my music is, and it’s because of where I grew up”. Meanwhile, speaking to Blues & Soul about the album’s stylistic diversity, he described it as “A 21st Century album – meaning that, instead of listening to 12 different artists on your iPod, with my record, you can just listen to ONE! Because every song is refreshing and different from the one before and at the same time BETTER than the one before!”
The title of the album, 31 Minutes to Takeoff, is in fact, a reference to something that occurs exactly 31 minutes into the record. As Posner himself describes it “Something happens 31 minutes into the record … All I can say is that both the listener and I will be in a higher place when it’s over”. 31 minutes into the CD, during “Synthesizer,” there is a sound of an airplane taking off.
MUSIC AND LYRICS
Musically, 31 Minutes to Takeoff consists of a blend of pop, R&B, and dance songs with heavy use of synthesizers straight out the 80s, influences of hip hop music while also incorporating electronic music with clever hooks and catchy beats. Songs like “Please Don’t Go”, “Cooler Than Me”, and “Cheated”, are up-tempo dance songs. “Please Don’t Go” is an electropop song with an R&B infused beat and heavy-use “video game” like synths in its chorus. “Cheated” follows a similar path, with a more dance oriented beat and repetitive hook, and “Cooler Than Me”, is electropop based with nu-disco influences. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”, “Déjà Vu”, and “Do U Wanna?” are mid-tempo songs carrying R&B sounds, with “Delta 1406” following the same path with a faded beat. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” carries it’s R&B sound with a rock music feel, while “Déjà Vu” blends 90’s R&B sound with contemporary pop and features Boyz II Men on background vocals. “Do U Wanna?” is a hip hop old-school R&B song, with stax horns, whistles, over a bluesy guitar that samples Ray LaMontagne “You Are the Best Thing”. “Gone In September” is a pop acoustic-rock tune, while “Save Your Goodbye”, and “Synthesizer” are synthpop ballads.
Lyrically, the album references Posner’s personal experiences, ranging from love, and rise to fame at age 22. Its first single “Cooler Than Me” is about a girl who thinks she’s cooler than anybody, and “needs everyone’s eyes just to feel seen”. In an interview with US Weekly, Posner says the “song was inspired by a girl I went to Duke with, but she doesn’t deserve any notoriety”. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” is a song ‘to reel a woman in’. “Cheated” sees Posner singing about his regret at not cheating on a former flame who cheated on him with lyrics like ’’I should have cheated on you / I was everything you wanted and more / I should have cheated on you / nobody told me I was dating a whore’’, while later calls out his ex by name. “Gone In September”, a song about Posner breaking up with a woman. “Delta 1406” is a song about Posner current rise to fame, written on his way back home to Detroit in the flight (he sat in seat 6A), after spending 5 months in Los Angeles, “I’ve got to book hotels for my Detroit shows” says Posner as a reflection of what he was dealing with at the time. “Please Don’t Go” shows Posner begging a girl to stay.
Posner opened up to Amaru Wilcox (AmaruDonTV.com) in an interview about a very sensitive topic to him: depression. Mike explained his relationship with depression and how he masked it in a song called “Save Your Goodbye”. “I’m writing a letter to my depression. I’ve struggled with depression, you know, all my life. And I kind of masked this letter through making it sound like it’s a song about a girl I have a crush on that I can’t get out of my head. But in reality, I’m talking about something different” he explains.
THE SINGLES AND MUSIC VIDEOS
“Cooler Than Me” was released as the album’s lead single on April 16, 2010. The song reached the top ten in the US, peaking at number six, and the top five peaking at number three in New Zealand and number five in Canada. It sold over 2,000,000 downloads in the US. The music video premiered on May 26, 2010.
“Please Don’t Go” was released as the second single on June 9, 2010. It debuted at number ninety-four on the Billboard Hot 100 and has peaked at number sixteen. It sold over 1,000,000 downloads in the US. The music video premiered on October 15, 2010.
“Bow Chicka Wow Wow” was released as the third single on February 3, 2011, and features American rapper Lil Wayne. It debuted at number eighty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and has reached number thirty. It sold over 500,000 downloads in the US. The music video premiered on February 24, 2011.