Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kanye West hits #1 for first of 10 weeks with “Gold Digger”

Updated 1/15/2019.

image from stopthebreaks.com

Gold Digger

Kanye West with Jamie Foxx

Writer(s): Kanye West, Ray Charles, Renald Richard (see lyrics here)


Released: 7/5/2005


First Charted: 7/16/2005


Peak: 110 US, 14 RB, 2 UK, 5 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 3.08 US, 1.26 UK, 4.62 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: 0.5


Video Airplay *: 211.54


Streaming *: 200.0


* in millions

Review:

“Gold Digger” the second single from Kanye West’s Late Registration album, flips the script on the stereotypical hip-hop song where “wealth is coveted and women are mistreated” TM to spin a “tale of a man used by his woman for financial gain.” PD It’s “unusual for one of music’s kingpins to admit he’s been suckered by a woman – much less write an upbeat song about it.” TM

This is “lighthearted Kanye at his best: his lyrics are funny (‘She was supposed to buy your shorty Tyco with your money/ [Instead] she went to the doctor [and] got lipo with your money’)” TM and “when it comes to killer beats, Kanye West is every bit as good as he thinks he is.” MX He “never dropped a beat deadlier than the stuttering bass drum that propels his biggest hit.” MX “The song’s backbone is a mixture of scratches, loops and handclaps set to follow the lyrics’ cadence.” TM

“But just when you think ‘Gold Digger’ is nothing more than a danceable screed against money-grubbing women, Kanye throws in a story about a poor black woman who stands by her man only to see him get rich and dump her for a white girl. Everybody gets played” TM in “Kanye’s most instantly pleasurable single ever.” RS’09

In addition, Kanye didn’t just stick to “contemporary mode or aping a classic pop genre sound,” AB’00 but opted for “blending the past with the present.” AB’00 Even then he aschewed the typical route when he decided to integrate Ray Charles’ “I Gotta Woman,” but not by sampling it directly. He turned to Jamie Foxx, who won an Academy Award playing Charles in the previous year’s Ray, for a “pitch-perfect Ray Charles impersonation.” MX Two years earlier, the pair worked on the #1 “Slow Jamz” with Twista, but this proved even bigger, with 10 weeks atop the charts.


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.

Awards:


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mariah Carey spent 14th week at #1 with “We Belong Together”

Updated 1/15/2019.

image from stereocien.com

We Belong Together

Mariah Carey

Writer(s): Mariah Carey/Jermaine Dupri/Manuel Seal/Johntá Austin/Kenneth Edmonds/Darnell Bristol/Bobby Womack/Patrick Moten/Sandra Sully (see lyrics here)


Released: 3/29/2005


First Charted: 4/2/2005


Peak: 114 US, 3 AC, 114 RB, 2 UK, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 1.7 US, 0.6 UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: 0.83


Video Airplay *: 347.36


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

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, BeyoncĂ©-esque staccato vocal” PD that just might make it “the finest single of her career.” PD

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:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.

Awards: