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CHOCO
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:45 PM
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Mariah Carey, whose new recording contract and new album, "Charmbracelet," are the beginning in a campaign to rebuild her career. Is there a vacuum waiting to be filled? Or have people lost interest?



http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/01/arts/music/01SANN.html?ex=1039323600&en=2a9b6cefb3eb8833&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE


New York Times
The Mariah Carey Story Isn't Over
By KELEFA SANNEH


HOW do you turn a pop star into a movie star? Here is one formula: create a movie loosely based on the star's life. Let's say the hero is a poor kid blessed with virtuosic vocal abilities and chasing a dream of fame and fortune. The hero has problems with Mom — that's a good way to inject dramatic tension. To establish the importance of talent, there is a nightclub scene where the hero is handed a microphone and asked to improvise. And the movie ends on an ambivalent note: after a triumphant performance, the hero seems to walk away from the music industry, at least for the moment.

Last month, this formula seemed foolproof: "8 Mile," starring Eminem, helped turn a controversial rapper into a mainstream celebrity. But last year, the exact same formula derailed one of this era's most successful music careers. The movie was "Glitter," and it was meant to be a star vehicle for Mariah Carey. Instead, the film and the accompanying album flopped, and the twin failures — accompanied by lurid reports about the singer's personal life — turned Ms. Carey into a laughingstock. Her record label, Virgin, was so spooked that it paid $28 million to release her from her contract.

Now Ms. Carey is ready for her comeback. She has a new record contract, and her new album, "Charmbracelet" (MonarC/Island Def Jam), is due out on Tuesday. It's an odd comeback attempt, because most people can't be sure exactly what Ms. Carey is coming back from. She has to make her fans forget a movie they probably didn't see and an album they probably didn't buy.

This is either a terrific time or a terrible time for Ms. Carey's revival. Her competition has thinned out, but so perhaps has her audience. The glamorous women with whom she once shared the spotlight aren't so popular anymore. Celine Dion put herself out to pasture in Las Vegas, Whitney Houston is trying to dig herself out of a deep hole, and Christina Aguilera may have just dug herself into one. Faith Hill and Shania Twain both have new albums, but they're not the dominant forces they once were. Right now, the country's most popular balladeer is probably what's-her-name, from "American Idol."

Is there a vacuum waiting to be filled, or have people lost interest? So far, the signs suggest the latter. The lead single from "Charmbracelet," "Through the Rain," is the sort of self-help ballad Ms. Carey was singing a decade ago, but it hasn't been a hit with radio D.J.'s. So Island Def Jam has declined to release a retail version, and Ms. Carey is looking ahead to the second single, "The One," an airy midtempo song produced by Jermaine Dupri.

Ms. Carey, 32, says she approached "Charmbracelet" in much the same way she approached her previous albums. "I didn't do it to answer people, or to justify my validity as an artist," she says, sitting on a couch in a recording studio in Manhattan, where she lives. "It really was just about an emotional outlet for me. That's what writing and singing always is."

Writing and singing is also big business, of course, and Ms. Carey surely knows that if she sells, say, only a million copies of her new CD, it will be considered a failure. But she also knows that her best bet for success is an old-fashioned Mariah Carey album; for better and for worse, the new disc hews closely to her tried-and-true approach. Her task is not to reinvent herself; on the contrary, it's to convince her fans that she is more herself than ever.

ANYONE who rents "Glitter" in the hope of seeing the worst film of all time will be disappointed. True, it has the leisurely pace and linear plot of a mediocre television movie, as if it were made to be perused rather than watched. But it's no "Battlefield Earth." And while the 1980's-inspired soundtrack did not have nearly enough catchy tunes, it did include a cover of the Robert Palmer hit "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On," as well as a new song written by Rick James. (By far the most entertaining artifact from Ms. Carey's disastrous 2001 is David LaChapelle's garish — and hilarious — music video for "Loverboy," a song from the movie soundtrack, in which Ms. Carey squeezes into a snug pair of shorts and waves a checkered flag at a bunch of car-racing rappers.)


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AjdeNate!
Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by CHOCO
Mariah Carey, whose new recording contract and new album, "Charmbracelet," are the beginning in a campaign to rebuild her career. Is there a vacuum waiting to be filled? Or have people lost interest?

The fact that this story was written and being read proves there is still interest in MC.

CHOCO
Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:47 PM
:)

CHOCO
Dec 3rd, 2002, 05:11 PM
Dec. 3, 2002. 01:00 AM


An utter lack of character


BEN RAYNER
POP CRITIC

Charmbracelet's roll-out has been noticeably more subdued than the all-stops media blitz Mariah Carey's people unleashed — to no avail whatsoever — for last year's already legendary double-bellyflop, Glitter.

However deserving Glitter, the movie, might have been of its spectacular failure, though, the unexpectedly lively, '80s-influenced r'n'b bump of the accompanying soundtrack actually made it one of the most musically adventurous and listenable albums of Carey's 12-year career.

Alas, Mariah's subsequent breakdown and the record's speedy plunge from the charts — which spooked Virgin Records enough to drop $30 million U.S. on cutting Carey loose from her new recording contract after just one album — have ensured that Charmbracelet (Island/Def Jam/Universal) arrives as safe, syrupy and utterly devoid of surprises as possible in an effort to keep her new investors at Island/Def Jam happy and to lure back the straying fans who made the diva the biggest-selling female artist of the 1990s.

That, in short, means ballads, ballads and more ballads. So many ballads.

Too many ballads, quite frankly. Carey's always been in a dead heat with Whitney Houston and Celine Dion to see who can release the most nauseating, chest-thumping wedding-song hoo-hah in a single career, but this one hits the saturation point with lightning speed.

Charmbracelet is chest deep in overwrought, sickly-sweet faux-soulful goop about love and faith (in love, usually) and the post-breakdown need to "stand up once again on my own" (and carry on loving) because "after every storm eventually a rainbow appears." It's remarkably short on hooks, too, which doesn't bode well for the record's commercial future.

Mariah's flighty voice flits valiantly, but pointlessly, up and down her vast register over swelling strings, Spanish guitars and limp attempts at bedroom-eyed r'n'b slow jams, but all the ornamentation and Jay-Z guest spots in the world can't disguise the material's complete lack of character. "Boy (I Need You)" and "Lullaby" scrounge up some mildly sexy grooves and achieve some slight staying power, but that's only because they're the only tracks that lift themselves above a histrionic crawl and, thus, don't sound like every single other tune here.

Even given the Carey school of pop balladry's very narrow stylistic range, Charmbracelet is a repetitive chore. Glitter might have been a prize turkey, but at least it gave Mariah more than one musical dimension in which to display her vocal talents.

Good luck winning your public back, girl.
Additional articles by Ben Rayner

CHOCO
Dec 3rd, 2002, 07:33 PM
Voice puts Mariah back on track
By Craig Seymour / Cox News Service
12-03-02

ATLANTA - Here's the punch line: Mariah Carey. Now write your own joke.

This is basically what Carey has become for most people, following her embarrassing movie bomb "Glitter," the accompanying flop soundtrack and the fact that her former record label, Virgin, paid a reported $30 million just to get rid of her. Where once she was America's singing Stepford-like sweetheart, she has become a living farce -- Anna Nicole Smith with a 5-octave range.

But with the release of her new album, "Charmbracelet," out Tuesday, Carey is trying to change that image. And she's using her greatest asset: that voice. When employed correctly, Carey's pipes can convey a range of colors: earthy indigos, sun-dappled golds and blinding ethereal whites. And her phrasing, which draws from pop, R&B and gospel, gets sharper with each release.

Indeed the main problem with the "Glitter" soundtrack was that she didn't sing enough. There were too many guest rappers taking up valuable song space.

"Charmbracelet" returns to the album-making template that Carey has been following since 1995's "Daydream: "a few hip hop-skewing cuts, some crescendo-ing power ballads, an offbeat cover (in this case, Def Leppard's "Bringin' on the Heartbreak"), and at least one breezily soulful slow jam. The problem with this formula is that it doesn't always produce equally satisfying results. It's more like the recipe for an Ambrosia fruit salad, where the overall flavor is determined by the freshness of the ingredients.

Much of the album works. "You Got Me," with rappers Jay-Z and Freeway, is her sexiest hip-hop romp since 1997's "Breakdown" with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. And "The One," produced by Atlanta's Jermaine Dupri, is a lean, grooving number about rediscovering love.

Carey even picks up on this season's trend of pop confessionals. (Jennifer Lopez fawns like a schoolgirl over fiancé Ben Affleck on the tune "Dear Ben," and Justin Timberlake takes aim at his ex, Britney Spears, in the song -- and creepy video --"Cry Me a River.") On the pointed "Clown," Carey goes after rapper Eminem, who has claimed in songs and interviews that he and the singer once dated.

"You should've never intimated we were lovers/ when you know very well we never even touched each other," she sings on one of the album's best cuts.

Too bad she's not mad on more of the album. For the most part, "Charmbracelet" shows she's back to where she was before the "Glitter" misstep. But next time out, she's going to have to prove herself capable of more.

ALBUM REVIEW

"Charmbracelet"

Mariah Carey

Island Def Jam. 15 tracks

Grade: B-

Helen Lawson
Dec 3rd, 2002, 07:39 PM
One's career is not over until you have to dangle a baby off of a balcony to get in the newspaper. Mariah is many years away from having to adopt a Scandinavian baby, pass it off as her own, name is Princess Mariah II, and hang it from a balcony.

King Lindsay
Dec 3rd, 2002, 08:08 PM
I don't know. I think Invincible will wind up selling more than Charmbracelet.

What's bad for Mariah is there doesn't seem to be any buzz. I haven't heard either of the singles, I haven't seen the videos for them. And the only articles written about her seem pretty negative. What day does the record drop in the US?

CHOCO
Dec 4th, 2002, 01:42 AM
Mariah Carey denies having breakdown
03/12/2002 - 5:46:57 pm

Pop diva Mariah Carey today denied she suffered a nervous breakdown last year, insisting all she needed was more sleep.

The singer also said it was “absolutely not true” that she tried to kill herself in July 2001, following critical reviews of her film, Glitter.

“I’m far too much of a spiritual person to do that,” the 32-year-old told US TV show Dateline NBC.

“I would never get to that point. That’s God’s choice when it’s time for me to go.”
She said it was wrong to describe her stay in a hospital as the result of a nervous breakdown.

“Because a nervous breakdown, you know, you don’t recover from so quickly. All I needed was, like, five hours sleep.”

Carey’s career nose-dived last year when the movie Glitter, and her album of the same name, both flopped.

She spent two weeks at Silver Hill, an exclusive Connecticut hospital that specialises in mental illness and addiction.

Carey said: “At a certain point I said: ’You know what? Forget this. Forget this whole career at this moment, because it’s too much for me. I’m overly tired. I can’t do it as a human being.’

“I was, like, ’You know what, it’s time for me to deal with myself as a regular person.”’

Carey, who has sold more records than any woman in history, received a multi-million dollar pay-off from EMI earlier this year after the record company dropped her.

She is now relaunching her career with new album Charmbracelet, which is released on Universal’s Island Def Jam label.

Barrie_Dude
Dec 4th, 2002, 01:45 AM
:o Actually bought her new album today! I love Mariah!

Ted of Teds Tennis
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:17 AM
It's been 22 years since ABBA released "The Winner Takes It All", and it's still one of the best ballads I've heard in a long, long, time -- certainly far better than any of the crap Mesdames Carey/Houston/Dion have released.