First Hit #1: January 16, 1999
Brandy was making music for teenage girls, and Have You Ever is a song for the mopey teenage girls dealing with their first breakup. The thing with the song is it’s hitting some extremely heightened emotion. This is a relationship as life or death, every setback in a relationship treated as a major crisis, the obsession inherent in a full bore infatuation treated with respect and near-admiration. The intensity of emotion is something that feels decidedly high school, speaking to those young girls who haven’t quite figured out emotions and are treating them with a degree of seriousness that might be a bit unhealthy. It’s easy to imagine a teenage girl agreeing with everything Brandy sings, it’s that intensity of emotion, yet to be undercut by any amount of cynicism or experience.
If anything, the song is extremely naive, which fits with Brandy who was a young woman at the time, though it feels kind of weird coming from experienced hitmaker Diane Warren.