Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

First Hit #1: June 4, 2005

Mariah had a big comeback in 2005, after her personal nadir – better known as Glitter – she managed to become a hitmaker yet again. Unfortunately, she seemed to do it by just being a lot less interesting than she used to be.

We Belong Together isn’t bad, just mediocre. It’s sung well enough, though Carey doesn’t employ nearly as many of the studio tricks as she used to – there are only two Careys on the track, as opposed to the army that used to invade whenever she had a single – the lyrics have never been her strong suit but here they just sound like a weak imitation of an Usher song, and it’s all over a hip hop beat that is at best serviceable. The song is fine, Carey remains a quality performer, but it’s nothing special, and certainly nowhere near the level of her previous hits. If one would allow me to put on my curmudgeon pants for a while, would this have even been a hit if it wasn’t in a year with both 50 Cent and Hollaback Girl? It’s only in comparison with a couple of the year’s more recent blunders that it sounds good, if it was released a decade earlier it would have been a forgotten album cut, surely.

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2 Responses to Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

  1. RBerman says:

    The most interesting part (arguably, the only interesting part) of the song is its weird shift-pitching bass drum. At 3:25, at least it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Would that more pop songs knew how to stop talking when they ran out of things to say.

    Fifteen years after her debut, Mariah suffers the same fate as many game changers: The thing she does so well (coo, melismate, flash her thighs), she’s taught others how to do also. The thing that only she could do (whistle tone a couple of octaves above her normal voice), she’s not so capable of doing anymore. Academically trained vocalists learn how to sing in such a way that they can do it for decades. Pop singers don’t, and then they foolishly throw tobacco smoke, nose jobs, and other sound-altering stresses on top. Guess what, folks: Your voice is an instrument. If you bash it around, it won’t work well in the future.

    The video shows her leaving a rich older dude (Julia Roberts’ brother Eric) at the wedding altar and running off in her actual wedding dress, with another man. It’s hard to read that scene as anything other than a repudiation of her 1990s marriage to music mogul Tommy Mottola, which left them both quite miserable. Carey renewed her religious commitment after the divorce and the Glittastrophe, releasing Christian-themed singles like “If You Believe” (a Whitney Houston duet) from Spielberg’s Moses movie “Prince of Egypt”) and the prayer-centric “Make it Happen” and “Fly Like a Bird.” Her subsequent performance at the Grammy Awards included a video of her discussing religion, and her pastor even recited a Bible passage as part of her performance. Not that any of this precluded sexy videos and photo shoots, as seen above.

  2. Tony says:

    We Belong Together re-vamped Mariah Carey’s career and rightfully so, In a decade swamped with minimalistic hip-hop, bleeps and blops Mariah delivered a soft R&B song, sang almost as if it were written as a rap song first. Her usual swarm of voices is missing in this song with good reason, it was outdated by the time this song was serviced to radio.

    Obviously this isn’t her best offering but this song is Grade A quality of the time and she undoubtedly influenced future R&B singers who want to appeal to a hip-hop/pop crowd with this song, for sure

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