The opening cut to 2011’s long-delayed Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love sets the tone for a roller coaster of an album. After excluding the oft-performed “I Adore You and I Abhor You” from the final track listing of the Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love, “How Long I’ve Been Waiting” became the album’s lead single.
The song, written and produced by Aretha, is a slow-burner, sweetened by orchestral notes, with piano in the background filling out the arrangement. It opens big, sounding like it could stand amongst early 90’s R&B ballads, but then it progresses into something different.
For one, it doesn’t contain a standard hook, but it has numerous pieces that repeat throughout. Yet, those elements can become monotonous in certain performances. It’s surely not her strongest lead single. The New York Times may have put it best regarding the song, saying during a live review that it “defies current radio formats”. Perhaps that was a nice way to say “this one ain’t it.”
“How Long I’ve Been Waiting” got the talk-show performance treatment as well as frequent inclusion on her touring setlist in the years following the album’s release, which at times highlighted one thing she could have done differently during the song’s recording. Because Aretha segmented the recording of the lead vocal, it disrupts the natural flow of the song. This could make it more challenging to perform live, which was picked up on during the aforementioned, as well as a second performance of the song. Yet, she excelled performing it on other occasions, such as below.
Released on Aretha’s own Aretha’s Records label, Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love has never been made available for streaming. It was available for purchase on iTunes initially, but has been removed.
Listen to “How Long I’ve Been Waiting”