This is a debate thats been going on for years and shows no signs of coming to any real answer and you still won’t find an answer here but this past week I’ve found myself thinking the same thing; Should Mariah Carey Just Retire?
What with the shambles of a campaign that is her upcoming studio album and public interest in Mariah Carey’s music overall continuing to decline perhaps its best for the vocal powerhouse to bow out gracefully (and wearing clothes) and allow the next generation to shine.
For anyone who enjoys music of any genre knows the name Mariah Carey, its like the two go hand in hand. Regarded as ‘The Voice’ she enjoyed massive success early on in her career in 1990 ( I was 1 years old at the time so I literally have grown up with her music) and is the best selling female artist of ALL TIME with 175 million albums/singles sold worldwide. On top of that she is the only artists to score a number 1 single in every year of the 1990s.. could you see Beyonce or Rihanna or Lady GaGa doing that in this day and age?
But over the years she has been famed more for her apparent diva behaviour and reluctance to wear any clothes rather than her music. In 2001 when she released the ill-fated ‘Glitter’ movie it was panned by critics and she became a laughing stock to the industry. Coupled with growing signs of emotional and mental instability (do you remember the time she rolled up to TRL wearing nothing but a vest and hot pants handing out lollipops to a confused audience and even more confused Carson Daley?) Mariah was losing her grasp on the public both musically and as a celebrity.
Things showed little signs of improving when she released her first album on her new label Island Records in 2003 titled ‘Charmbracelet’ which failed to catch the attention of the public and critics cited her as washed up and a has been. But then two years later she silenced EVERYONE by staging, in my opinion, one if not the most spectacular comebacks I have seen in music when in 2005 she released her career reviving album ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’. The album and more so the single ‘We Belong Together’ put Carey back on the map and everyone paid attention to her for the first time in years. She was schooling these little girls on how its really done.
To cut a really long story short, since then she has released more albums, ‘E=MC2’ and ‘Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel’ which never garnered the same success as ‘TEOM’ but it was the Emancipation album that gave her career a new lease of life and a new sense of relevance in this new era of music which allowed the two albums that came after it to even exist.
In more recent years Carey’s voice has failed to live up to expectations when it comes to her live performances and its gotten to a point now where most of her performances are blatantly mimed. I mean, we all know she can sing but when you’re known as ‘THE VOICE’ I’m sure the audience actually want to hear it. Granted her voice isn’t what it once was, over time things deteriorate its only natural but no one can touch her when it comes to her vocals… or can they?
A name that many of Mariah’s fans (known as ‘Lambs’) despise; Miss Ariana Grande. Comparisons between Grande and Carey have been rife since the moment a video of Grande singing Mariah’s song ‘Emotions’ surfaced online. Fans claimed Grande was copying Mariah and trying to be her while others said that Ariana is the new and improved Mariah and that she is irrelevant now. Mariah has only spoken about the ‘rivalry’ once on The Breakfast Club saying she wishes everyone longevity in their career. If you know Mariah Carey you know that there was some intended shade in there somewhere!
But you see the thing is that Mariah isn’t THE dominant artist anymore, she enjoyed a career revival in 2005 but after that she’s fallen somewhat back into crowd with the likes of Beyonce ,Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady GaGa being THE big names in music today. Thats not to say Mariah’s impact on music is in anyway no longer valid, far from it. Most of the girls that have come after Mariah cite her as one of their biggest influences, Rihanna even thought she could sing ‘Hero’ just like Mariah at a local school talent show. When you click the play button below I am not responsible for the pain and agony your ear drums will suffer. Just FYI.
The impression I get from Mariah Carey today is that she is trying to play catch up to all these younger singers and its coming off as desperate. You know like how in Mean Girls Regina George’s Mum doesn’t want to be a regular Mum but a ‘cool’ Mum? Something like that. She always seems wearing next to nothing, which is fine like I said before in my post about Beyonce and the sexualisation of her image I have no qualms in women wanting to express their sexuality, but in the case of Mariah it looks embarrassing. I mean she was dancing and awkwardly trying to look seductive in her song ‘Beautiful’ with Miguel all the while her panties were on show the entire time.
Which brings me nicely into her most recent album campaign. This campaign has been marred with setbacks, a broken arm, more setbacks, constant buzz singles and a real lack of public interest. The album, which was meant to be called ‘The Art Of Letting Go’ but has since been scrapped for an unknown title, is meant to come out on May 6th and there has been literally no hype or movement to indicate this impending release. Fans have gone online to blame her manager Jermaine Dupri for not knowing how to manage Mariah’s career and setting her up to fail which is probably true, Im not sure but coming from someone who isn’t a Mariah Carey ‘stan’ but enjoys her music the fact is the public just are not interested in this new album.
Its common knowledge that a lot of people consider ‘old school’ Mariah Carey circa ‘Always Be My Baby’, ‘Honey’, ‘Dreamlover’ and ‘All I Want For Christmas’ to be her best work and that her newer more ‘urban’ sounding tracks like ‘Obsessed’ just aren’t doing it for the public. Remember when Britney Spears said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest that she loved old school Mariah Carey? Says it all really.
Is this such a bad thing though? It happens to every artist where they go through a lull in their career but Mariah Carey already came back from that in 2005 and like I have said already, the woman has nothing left to prove! What with her valentines day single ‘You’re Mine’ completing bombing on every chart is appeared on I don’t see why Mariah and her team cannot see that no one is here for her new music anymore.
I would really hate for Mariah Carey to still think she can take back her former glory from the likes of Beyonce and keep trying to be on top again when even I think she knows she’s past her time. Music has changed and she has to accept this! It would just ruin her name as one of the best voices of all time and rather than being credited for her influence and impact on pop music, she’d just be remembered as a laughing stock. Her stint on American Idol and her feud with Nicki Minaj did neither side any favours and it showed that Mariah is unable to co-exist with the new generation of females driving pop music. And it also showed that Nicki Minaj doesn’t know how to show respect to a music royalty like Mariah Carey but lets not get into that.
Mariah probably won’t retire anytime soon, she seems stubborn like that but what she needs to do if she wants to keep releasing music is to stop competing with these little girls and stop worrying about sales and chart positions and polls. This woman has accomplished more in her career than any of these new girls in the game ever will and at this point Mariah should be enjoying her ‘Legend Era’ as her fans have coined it. If she wants to make music then let it be for her fans and not for the Billboard Charts because as sad as it may be, there is no place for her on there anymore and she needs to accept that!