Mariah Carey was the singer of the ‘90s with her pop/R&B/AC blend of music, but was quickly derailing in the first half of the next decade. After signing an $80 million contract with Virgin Records, she had an infamous appearance on MTV’s Total Request Live, a huge commercial failure with her semi-autobiographical film and album project Glitter, and reportedly had a physical and emotional breakdown. It didn’t help that she largely “abandoned her girl-next-door tunefulness in favor of hip-hop whoredom.” PD
Virgin dumped her, but Def Jam gambled that the fifteen-time-chart-topper might have something left. With collaborator Jermaine Dupri, Carey found the right mix of contemporary and old-school R&B on “Together.” While “uncharacteristically restrained” AB’00 for Carey, it still had a “rapid-fire, Beyoncé-esque staccato vocal” PD that just might make it “the finest single of her career.” PD
We Belong Together
Not only did it put Carey back on top after a five year absence, but Billboard magazine named it the most successful song in history by a female artist WK and the best-selling song of the decade. SF Its 14 weeks atop the pop chart tied it with the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” as the biggest #1 of the decade and in the rock era only “One Sweet Day,” which Carey recorded with Boyz II Men, has spent more weeks (16) atop the Hot 100. Two more trips to the top before decade’s end put Carey second only to the Beatles.
The laundry list of writers (ten credits in all) suggest a written-by-committee approach, but some of the credits are due to references to other R&B heartbreak songs. In a radio-flipping session, Carey cleverly weaves lyrics from Bobby Womack’s “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” and The Deele’s “Two Occasions” into her own reflections of love lost.
Resources and Related Links:
- DMDB page for “We Belong Together”
- DMDB page for The Emancipation of Mimi
- Mariah Carey’ss DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry
- AB’00 About.com (2009) “Top 100 Pop Songs of the 2000s”
- PD PopDose.com (11/24/09) The Best Songs of the Decade
- SF Songfacts.com
- WK Wikipedia.org