On the slinky heels of last month’s buzz song “GTFO,” Mariah Carey has released “With You,” the lead single from her first album since 2014’s under-appreciated Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse. Neither song sounds like a potential hit, but the former was at least a fresh direction for the singer, due in large part to a sleek sample of Porter Robinson’s EDM track “Goodbye to the World” and Mariah’s nonchalant performance and signature sense of camp. “With You,” on the other hand, doubles down on the formula established by Mariah’s 2005 comeback single “We Belong Together,” which she’s been trying to replicate in one form or another for over a decade.
We Belong Together (#1–10 of 3)
Mariah Carey has let go yet another pre-release single (this is number four by our count) from her perpetually delayed 14th studio album, formerly titled The Art of Letting Go, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The aptly titled “You’re Mine (Eternal)” is, with the possible exception of 2011’s “Triumphant (Get ’Em),” the most derivative offering from the album to date. With a plodding beat and boilerplate lyrics (“I can’t seem to live without your love,” it starts), the midtempo ballad is another retread of “We Belong Together,” a disappointing move following the retro soul stylings of the hit “#Beautiful” and “The Art of Letting Go,” released last November. Mimi still appears to be in fine voice, at least in the studio, but that there’s not much else to be said about “You’re Mine,” produced by Rodney Jerkins, is a testament to its utter triviality.
It’s like a perfect battle. New guard vs. old school. The power of youth vs. the experience of the established. Trash vs. class. The faceoff between “Bound to You,” Christina Aguilera’s “Maybe This Time” moment toward the dramatic climax of Burlesque, and “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” Cher’s torch song belted as if from the depths of a movie career gone all too predictably sour with age, is one of those Oscar matches that elevates a category that in many other years seems as rote and irrelevant to the artistry of movies as Best Visual Effects. Here, at last, is a pair of nominees that, despite the general shittiness of the movie vehicle carrying them, legitimately pays tribute to the integration of form, content, and intent. These two songs say more about the stars singing them than Burlesque, a frivolous stab at camp, ever attempts. That the category pits diva against divette is just the cherry on top.