Friday, August 3, 2012
First Impressions: A 'Triumphant' Return For Mariah Carey?
There are things I promise myself not to do now that I'm at a certain age. Adding to the list is a petty promise and that is to cease excitement for anything new from Mariah Carey. It's not like I'm not a fan anymore (I'm in the AARP sanction of Lambs thankyoumuch), it's just that there hasn't been much evolving in her sound since oh say 2006 and it's becoming quite tedious now that I have to take the rose-colored Lamb glasses off and move on. It reminds m of when I was in 1st grade and everyone was still reading Spot the Dog while I was onto The Secret Garden. It's not me being an elitist smarty-pants child, it's called growing up and being bored waiting for everyone to catch up. This is my new 'fan relationship' with Mariah Carey---and it's rough.
The return of Mariah Carey comes in the form of "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" and it's a familiar set-up. We have a veteran hip-hop producer (Jermaine Dupri) and a well-known, capable but past his prime co-songwriter (Bryan Michael-Cox) on deck. Throw in a rapper or two (this time it's Rick Ross and Meek Mill) and bam! instant Mariah track. Yet this formula which Mariah has often coasted on for many years and with much success is now running thin and showing it's age.
In the midst of the choppy R&B beats that hint at Mariah trying to combine all her eras in one gulp, she expresses the new changes in her life and how positive it is for her. As lovely as the message is, "Triumphant" as a song just meanders. Mariah is quite on-point vocal wise when the chorus kicks in, yet, all of the cool things she's doing with her voice and the passable chorus are buried among the sludge of guest spots and generic beat patterns that date her several years. Mariah even sounds like she's a guest on her own song as Ross and Mill take over drowning her out. How rude.
Mariah Carey is in a dual position now as a veteran of the genre she helped stylize and as one of the last divas from the old school standing to lead and test new and different avenues. She has the exciting challenge to entice her younger fans, while surprising her older, long-standing ones, but this track fails that challenge as it does absolutely nothing for her. Instead of expanding on her sound and working with some fresh and new producers and writers, she's playing it much too safe and it's hindering herself artistically in the process. Mariah just doesn't lead on this, she's simply following and chasing the same trend she's been doing many times over---and that my dahhlings is not triumphant in the slightest. Hear what I mean (or don't mean) after the cut.