Our next elimination is yet another single. It's also yet another song from an artist who has collaborated with Whitney Houston. (And no, Mariah doesn't have any solo singles in this rate.) #76. Lately I Average: 5.94 Highest score: 10 x 2 (@berserkboi, @Euphoria) Lowest score: 1 x 1 (@Mina) Chart positions: #78 US R&B My score: 8 You guys really didn’t like the last singles in each album’s singles run, seemingly. First Brandy lost her final single, then Kelly, then Deborah, and now Faith. (Well, I’m counting We Can’t Be Friends as Deborah’s final single because the single after it, I Never Knew, was only released to the dance format and didn’t get a mainstream release.) Lately I was released in late 1999 as the fourth and final single from Faith’s sophomore album Keep The Faith, which was her first album after the murder of legendary rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who she was married to but separated from at the time. The first three singles from Keep The Faith all reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top three on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but Lately I came nowhere close to matching their success, only managing a #78 peak on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and missing the Hot 100 altogether. In fairness, the lack of a music video is probably reflective of the lack of promo it got generally. Eagle-eyed observers will notice that there are several Diane Warren ballads in this rate, and Lately I is the first of them to fall - although, unusually for a Diane Warren song, it was actually co-written by Diane Warren and Stevie J (producer of several hits by The Notorious B.I.G. as well as Puff Daddy’s #1 single, I’ll Be Missing You, which features Faith singing the chorus). The song was produced by Stevie J, Mike Mason and schlockmeister extraordinaire David Foster, but I’m pretty fond of the final result. It’s basically a retread of Toni Braxton’s I Don’t Want To, which does the same thing much better, but I’m fine with that. Sadly, most of you disagreed. My 8 was countered by a barrage of low scores early on, and it was dead last for a lot of the voting period until some later scorers came along to rescue it, with @Euphoria‘s 10 finally lifting it to #76, which I guess is still higher than its R&B chart position, so that’s something. However, 5.94 is still a decent average for a song that most voters probably didn’t know before this rate, and I’m delighted to say that all the remaining songs got averages of above 6. @Ray (4) had basically had it by this point in the song list, and I know how much he adores David Foster: “More ballads in a row? AND the 90s R&B synth? Let me see the credits. EEEK!!!! *lowers score further*” @Mina (1) was somehow less diplomatic than that and also gives us a very specific simile: “Sounds like an animal in pain singing the most generic lyrics ever.” @berserkboi (10), on the other hand, is not going to be pleased to lose his first 10 so early on (“Gorgeous!”). @Trouble in Paradise (6.5) is a lot closer to my opinion on this, although he doesn’t like it as much as I do: “Her vocals are so sweet and despite delivering it approximately a thousand times, she imbues “lately I” with such a wistful sadness. However, I’m really not gonna be returning to this song all that much.” Lately I… have been bombing out of a rate. Lately I… have been wondering if my other three singles will do the same.