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Single Review: Mariah Carey – ‘The Art of Letting Go’

2 min read

Until just recently, Mariah Carey risked falling back into the ‘legends that flop on the single charts’ category.

The string of hits that began with her 2005 comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi including It’s Like That, We Belong Together and Touch My Body ground to a halt as 2012’s Triumphant (Get ‘Em) failed to fulfil its title.

Mariah Carey The Art Of Letting GoFortunately, her tender duet with Miguel, #Beautiful, put some life back into her career as Mariah also toned down her ‘hoochie mamma’ image and music (slightly).

The Art of Letting Go reflects this change of musical direction towards a more retro, organic sound. It is the first single in quite some time where only Mariah and one other person (here, it’s superstar producer Darkchild who has worked on songs like Lady Gaga’s Telephone, Michael Jackson’s You Rock My World and many Destiny’s Child singles) wrote and produced the track. This was how Mariah wrote and produced her countless hit singles all those years ago.

The title track of Mariah’s upcoming album isn’t quite up to par to those legendary pop tracks like Hero, but that would have been too much to ask. The lyrics are a bit clunky and wordy (‘gotta bundle up your possessions’) and the song takes time to grow.

However, the song’s doo-wop rhythm, Mariah’s trademark harmonies and her self-assured vocals nicely evoke her breakout single Vision of Love. The warm orchestra and the crackling of vinyl are nice touches in the production, reflecting the fact that Mariah is in her 40s after all.

An eccentric breakdown that sounds like it’s coming out of an old-time radio and is littered with jazzy, quirky adlibs suggests that Mariah and Darkchild aren’t afraid to experiment either.

In the final 45 seconds, Mariah soars as she emphatically nails the ‘as you’re falling’, as you’re falling! chorus over a pounding piano and dramatic organ before cooing ‘it ain’t easy baby’ and ending the track on an ambiguous note.

Mariah’s comeback should be safe for now. The Art of Letting Go isn’t an instant or obvious hit but is certainly a step in the right direction.