Mariah's Charmbracelet

Monday 17 February 2003

After that debacle with her last label, Virgin Records, Mariah Carey had no choice but to come up with her best work ever for her Island debut. She not only had to rise after the failure of her film Glitter, there were also those nasty talks about a nervous breakdown and worse of all, the dissolution of her very new relationship with Virgin. She was paid $28 million to end the contract. Certainly not a bad amount for getting booted out but can you just imagine what moves like that can do to the self-esteem of an artist like Mariah?
So here she is now with a new label, Monarch on Island and a new album titled Charmbracelet. Her blurb on the cover puts her old ghosts to rest. "I still believe that after every storm eventually a rainbow appears. This album is like a charmbracelet I'm passing down to you. Here's my story..." I do not know how much of her story she tells through the songs but she sounds as great as ever and if her intention is to tell everybody that she is back, whole and sound, then it can be rightly said that she succeeds very well.
The first cut is titled Through the Rain. Composed by Mariah with Lionel Cole, the song tells about the triumph of the human spirit against great odds. If you have seen the moving music video, then you must already know by now that it is about an inter-racial marriage that worked. Could Mariah be telling the love story of her parents? On the other hand though, Through the Rain also sounds like something that somebody who survived a crisis could be singing to the world.
"And when the wind blows and shadows grow close/ don't be afraid/ there's nothing you can't face/ and should they tell you you'll never pull through/ don't hesitate/ stand tall and say/ I can make it through the rain/ and stand up once again/ and I'll live one more day/ and I can make it through the rain/ oh yes you can/ you're gonna make it through the rain."
Through the Rain is a total winner and works exceedingly well as the album's carrier single. I know that it is seen by some as too mushy, overproduced and blatantly commercial but I am sure we all agree that the song works. Can you imagine how many people around are getting badly needed ego boosters just by hearing the strains of that hook-filled chorus. Yes, they too, like Mariah, can make it through the rain.
I grant that Charmbracelet is not Mariah's best. It does not compare to those albums she made for Sony during her early years like Vision of Love or Emotions or the monster seller Music Box, that produced one number one seller after another like Hero, Dreamlover, One Sweet Day and many others. But take note that Charmbracelet is so thoroughly pleasing. All those trills, sighs, whispers, every emotional embelishment her fans greatly adore are present in huge doses in the album.
The other songs that make up Charmbracelet are Boy (I Need You) featuring Cam'ron, The One, Yours, You Got Me featuring JayZ and Freeway, I Only Wanted, Clown, My Saving Grace, You Had Your Chance, Lullaby, Irresistible, Subtle Invitation, Sunflowers for Alfred Roy, and a lovely cover of the Def Leppard goodie Bringin' on the Heartbreak.

(The Philippine Star)

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