“The Only Thing Missin’” perfectly encapsulates a warm sunny day. From the opening strums of the guitar, the song warmly flows like a morning summer breeze through an open window. The lead single and subsequent album, 2003’s So Damn Happy, to a decidedly different approach than 1998’s hip hop & contemporary R&B-driven smash, A Rose Is Still A Rose. And despite not focusing on the trends, Aretha still managed to create a stellar and fresh-sounding body of work.
The song is the epitome of a breezy cut. It sounds like open windows on a warm and sunny summer morning, with a cold drink in hand and a touch of melancholy on the mind, as she says in the hook, “but the only thing missin’ is you.” She expands on this in the bridge with, “no I ain’t lonely, this ain’t no sad song. There’s just one contradiction: I can’t stand to be alone.” It’s a far cry from the heartbreak of her heyday and lyrically demonstrates the complexities of our emotions and the ability to experience things like appreciation and gratitude for a beautiful day while simultaneously experiencing a bout of loneliness. It’s a perfect record for Aretha at this stage in her life and career, it cuts no corners, not even vocally. From that opening squall to her conclusionary impeccable jazz scatting, Aretha is vocally on it.
Despite being So Damn Happy’s lead single, there were no televised performances of “The Only Thing Missin’” during the limited promotional run Aretha did for the album. There were a string of performances during summer of 2003, both promised by press release and confirmed by one show review. Listen to some of the only existing live audio of “The Only Thing Missin’” recorded in Atlantic City, NJ in 2003.
Like her previous singles, “The Only Thing Missin’” was given the dance treatment by an array of producers. Production duo Blaze, and little-known producer Furilla each contributed remixes of the song. A version of each remix was released in a 2-track iTunes single in 2003 (they are no longer available). The remixes peaked at number 7 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.
Interestingly, one of the most elusive remixes in the set is the most historic in the bunch. On the B-side of the vinyl release of the remixes, lies a remix produced by the legendary Giorgio Moroder. The remix has never been available digitally or on CD, save for a few promotional CDs. The remix is the only collaboration between these two musical giants. Listen to the Giorgio Moroder remix of “The Only Thing Missin’.”
Get lost in the flow of the warm weather anthem that is “The Only Thing Missin’”: