Glitter was an epic disaster that nearly destroyed Mariah Carey’s career. That’s a dramatic statement, but it’s true. Up until 2001, Mariah was on top of her game, releasing one multi-platinum album after another and racking up fifteen #1 singles. Then she decided to try her hand at acting. Glitter (originally titled All that Glitters) is A Star is Born-like story about Billie (Carey), an aspiring singer in 1980s New York, who meets Dice (Max Beesley), a DJ who helps to propel her career as his own is flailing. There’s romance, drama, and lots of great music from the era. Good idea in theory, but horribly executed. The movie bombed and shortly before its premiere Mariah suffered a very public breakdown. The press had a field day roasting her downfall. The one good thing to come out of this mess was the soundtrack to Glitter. Unfortunately, it was released on 9/11 and was pretty much ignored. But it’s still a great album that just happened to get overshadowed by a bad movie. Hopefully people can appreciate it all these years later and see how ahead of the curve Mariah was by revisiting the 80s in the early 2000s.
11. Don’t Stop (Funkin for Jamaica)
You know what this song needs more of? Mariah. It’s Mystikal rapping for two verses while Mariah sings the hook. Yes, she comes in strong near the end, but it’s not enough. The original version, “Funkin for Jamaica”, is much better.
10. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
Similar to “Jamaica”. I could have done with less Busta Rhymes. At least Mariah sings more here. Nice bass line too.
She wrote “Twister” about her friend who committed suicide. It’s a beautiful tribute.
8. Want You
You’re enveloped by powerful synthesizers and layered vocals on this r&b jam. Plus, Eric Benet is a good match for her musically.
7. Reflections (Care Enough)
Billie’s song lamenting being abandoned by her mother, as a child. A lovely sad melody
6. Never to Far
A big sweeping ballad with an amazing belting note at the end. Loooooooove! Billie sings this after Dice is killed…sorry for the 20 year old spoiler.
5. If We
Mariah collaborates with Ja Rule and Nate Dogg on this seductive track. A winning trinity. It should have been a single, but there was drama behind the scenes. More on that later.
4. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On
Mariah is living her pop dance diva fantasy on her cover of Cherelle’s 1984 hit. She’s flirty and coquettish, enticing you to get on the dance floor. But, she’s not to blame if you get turned on.
3. All My Life
Rick James wrote “Life” and you can hear him all over it. You would think it came from his Street Songs album. He brings out a certain spicy sexy side to her that you don’t usually hear. A Mariah Jane girl.
2. Lead the Way
Mariah shows some restraint on the first two verses, but when the bridge comes along she takes off. She scales the high notes with her vocal agility, leading the way for every “female entertainer” that comes after her. Simply gorgeous.
1. Loverboy (Original & Remix)
When Mariah initially recorded “Loverboy” she sampled an obscure song called “Firecracker”. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, Sony Chairman Tommy Mottola, heard the track and stole the sample for Jennifer Lopez’s song “I’m Real”. Mariah had to scramble to remake “Loverboy”, ultimately choosing Cameo’s “Candy” as the basis for the song. Mottola took his douchebaggery up a notch when he hired Irv Gotti to produce a track for JLo and Ja Rule, just like what he’d done on Mariah’s “If We”. That became the “I’m Real (Remix)” which was an enormous hit and thus made it so Mariah couldn’t release her own duet with Ja Rule.
Having heard both versions of “Loverboy”, I’ll say the Cameo sample works better. It takes you back in time and the addition of Ludacris and Da Brat on the remix brings in a modern hip-hop flair. “Loverboy” wouldn’t reach #1 on the charts, but it came in at a strong #2. It was the biggest selling single of 2001, proving you can never count Mariah out. Or as Da Brat raps, “Hate on me much as you want to. You can’t do what the fuck I do. Bitches be emulatin’ me daily.”
Three episodes in and I’m starting to enjoy the reboot of Gossip Girl. It took some time, but the show has started to gel and grab my attention.
The reboot picks up a decade after the original ended. We’re back at super rich Upper Eastside private school, Constance Billard, but things are different. The students run things and the teachers are at their mercy. A small group of the burdened teachers learn about the legendary Gossip Girl. The blog kept the kids in line back in the early 2000s because they were afraid of her exposing their secrets. That’s not exactly how I remember it, but ok. Kate (Tavi Gevinson), the faculty’s leader, prompts them to pick up where GG left off and take the school back.
Their main targets are the popular kids, led by Julien (JordanAlexander). She’s a gorgeous influencer with an army of Instagram followers. Julien is dating “I hate being rich” boy Obie (Eli Brown). Her power lesbian friend Monet (Savanah Lee Smith) handles her PR while icy Luna (Zion Moreno) styles her. Then there’s the school’s beloved couple, Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind) & Aki (Evan Mok), and pansexual bad boy Max (Thomas Doherty). Into this world comes sweet earnest Zoya (Whitney Peak), Julien’s half-sister. They shared a mother who cheated on Jules’ father with Zoya’s father, leading the two men to hate each other and keep their daughters apart. But the sisters found each other on social media and formed a secret bond. Jules engineered it so that Zoya and her dad left their modest home in Upstate NY for the glitz of NYC. GG posts stories on Instagram (blogs are out…ouch) about all of these goings-on, provoking anger and, yes, fear. So, the plan is working. For now. The fact that the viewers already know who’s behind GG is a plus, even better that it’s disgruntled teachers messing with their entitled students.
The pilot spent a lot of time establishing this new GG world without bringing much depth. It’s was just set up with clunky dialogue. It took two more episodes for showrunner Joshua Safran to get into a groove. Zoya is the most interesting multi-faceted character of the bunch. She even makes dopey Obie come to life when he dumps Julien for her. Max stands out, as well, with his wit and voracious sex drive. I only wish Julien and the rest were as compelling. Right now, they’re just pretty faces in amazing clothes. The Aubrey/Aki/Max triangle has potential, but Elite already did it better. Back to the positive, the diversity on the show should be recognized. The original was whiter than a bag of marshmallows, so it’s nice to see more color this time around. And we have queer teens that aren’t tragic stereotypes. They’re just living their (bitchy) lives. I think that as the show goes on the characters and stories will become more compelling, possibly living up to the legacy of OG GG.
Twenty years ago, “Lady Marmalade” gitchie gitchie gitchie ya-ya’d onto the scene. This was actually a cover of the song that dynamic girl group Labelle made famous in 1974. Flash forward to 2001, where superstar Missy Elliott produced a remake for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. It was an appropriate choice considering both the song and the movie featured prostitutes. And a little bit of French. Missy assembled an impressive lineup of singers for the project and gave each woman a chance to shine. Mya kicked it off with her light silky vocals. Pink followed with her rocker style. Lil’ Kim broke it down with a rap, “We independent women, some mistake us for whores/ I’m sayin’, why spend mine when I can spend yours?” Then Christina Aguilera brought it home with roaring vocals that were bigger than her hair in the music video. When you added in Missy’s bombastic production you had a remake that equaled the greatness of the original. A rarity. Just like in 1974, the track went to #1. It also earned the quartet a Grammy. Hey sistas!
The legendary Cicely Tyson has passed away. She leaves behind a prolific award-winning career in film, TV, and the stage. She was a trailblazer who opened the door for other black actresses that followed. Moreover, she used her work to show how multidimensional black women are and their deserving of respect. I’ll remember her most for the dignity and poise she possessed. Like a regal queen. She always seemed sure of herself and what she wanted from the world. Recently, Miss Tyson completed her memoir, Just As I Am. I’m looking forward to reading it and learning more about this incredible woman.
As I mentioned one post earlier, Mya’s “Case of the Ex” went to #2 on the Billboard 100. What kept it from reaching #1? Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women”. Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle stomped on Mya’s chart-topping dreams with this hit. The group recorded the track for the 2000 movie adaptation of Charlie’s Angels. Coincidentally, DC had just downsized to a trio, matching up with the Angels. Ironically, they had kicked out a Farrah.
“Women” focuses on capable self-sufficient ladies who can buy their own shoes, cars, and houses. They don’t need any men to do it for them. A strong message backed by DC’s smooth vocals and the Trackmasters’ slick production. My favorite moment is the breakdown where the ladies harmonize perfectly. It makes you want to throw your hands up at them for sure.
It’s after midnight and she’s on your phone. Saying come over cause she’s all alone. I could tell it was your ex by your tone.
From the opening lines you know “Case of the Ex” is about a trifling chick. In this case, Mya’s boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. She came out of nowhere and is showing inappropriate interest in Mya’s man. Reaching out to him at odd hours normally reserved for booty calls.
Now what it is that she wants? Tell me what is it that she needs? Did she hear about the brand-new Benz that you just bought for me?
Her goal is to breakup Mya’s relationship. She’s probably pissed that she didn’t get a new car when she was dating the guy. Jealousy is a motivator.
Cause y’all didn’t have no kids. Didn’t share no mutual friends.
Further proof that he shouldn’t be messing with this girl. They have nothing holding them together. Hang up the phone, dude.
And you told me that she turned trick when y’all broke up in ’96.
My favorite lyric. Hats off to whoever thought of rhyming trick with ’96. I love how much of a shade-fest “Ex” is. Mya drags this chick, verbally, for a good four minutes. Add in that da-da-da-da-da-da-dum beat and you have a great track.
“Case of the Ex” went to number #2 on the Billboard chart in 2000 and became one of Mya’s most popular singles. There was also the fierce video where she breaks it down in the desert while wearing studded denim. Very hot indeed.
In 2001, Mariah Carey suffered a series of career setbacks. She had a well-publicized breakdown. Her movie, Glitter, bombed and the accompanying soundtrack went down with it. Plus, she was dropped by her record label after just being signed. It was a bleak period. She tried to bounce back the next year with a new album, but that failed to take off as well. People in the music industry wrote her off and said she’d never recover. They were wrong. In 2005, Mariah released The Emancipation of Mimi and everything turned around. It sold 10 million records and won three Grammys. For the album’s 15th anniversary, we’re celebrating this momentous (Mariah loves a moment) album by raking its fourteen tracks.
14. To the Floor
There’s not really a bad song on Mimi, but To the Floor comes close. It doesn’t make me want to rush to the dance floor and Nelly’s weak rap is forgettable.
13. Mine Again
The problem with Mine Again is that it’s very shouty. I like when Mariah sings in full voice, but it sounds likes she’s trying to project across a football stadium here. Dial it back, sister.
12. One and Only
A sluggish sleepy track. The best thing about it is Twista. He kicks things up a notch with his crazy fast flow.
11. Joy Ride
She hits a fantastic extended note at the end of the song that is a joy ride in itself.
10. Stay the Night
Mariah worked with Kanye West (back when he was tolerable) for the first time with this track. Her voice and his production style are a nice match.
9. How I Wish You Only Knew
This could have appeared on a Diana Ross album in the 70s. The live band, background vocals, and spoken word mid-song are very much of that era.
8. Your Girl
Another one that sounds like a throwback, this time to girl groups of the 60s. But it’s modern at the same time.
7. Say Somethin’
Mariah and The Neptunes are a good combo. Throw in Snoop Dogg and you have a party. It feels like a fresh evolution of her sound.
6. Fly Like a Bird
I always enjoy when Mariah goes gospel. Here she sings an inspirational ballad with a full choir and an appearance from her minister. She brought the whole church to the studio.
5. Get Your Number
After years apart Mariah reunited with Jermaine Dupri, her longtime friend and collaborator, on this album. The results were great songs like Get Your Number. It’s a fun and flirty track that makes good use of an 80s sample from the British group, Imagination. Oh, damn.
4. It’s Like That
Mariah announced her return with this cool party single, moving away from the stress and drama of the last few years. There’s also a great shady line, “Them chickens is ash and I’m lotion”. Who wouldn’t want to be lotion?
A beautifully written song about trying to move on after a breakup while still feeling crushed. From the opening verse, “Ever since you left me, I’ve been trying to hide the pain. Painting on a smile with lipstick, putting on a big charade,” you’re caught up in the sadness with her.
2. Shake It Off
Mariah sings about shaking off her cheating boyfriend here. She’s packing up her Louis Vuitton and moving on. It makes you wanna bounce and not just because Jermaine tells you to in the opening.
1. We Belong Together
This is one of her best. Period. A lush midtempo song that never ages. It cemented her comeback by going to #1 (her sweet 16th) and staying there for 14 weeks. Billboard named it the Song of the Decade and the naysayers learned you should never count Mariah out.
After the initial success of Mimi, the record label re-released it with a couple of new songs and remixes. The standout being Don’t Forget About Us. It was similar to WBT, but amazing in its own right. So much so, that it went to number one on the charts (her 17th if you’re keeping track).
Yesterday it was announced that actor Roscoe Born had passed away. He was known for his roles on soap operas like One Life to Live, Ryan’s Hope, Days of Our Lives, and The Young and the Restless. Being an OLTL fan, I remember him as the villainous Mitch Laurence. I missed his first run in the 80s, but caught him when Mitch returned from the dead (wouldn’t be the last time) in 2002. Mitch lied, cheated, blackmailed, kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered his way through Llanview. At one point he started a cult and called himself The Messenger, seducing followers into doing his bidding. He really was a son of a bitch. Yet, he was very entertaining. The success of the character was because of Born. He was an incredible actor that made you love to hate Mitch as opposed to plain despising the guy. Of course, you wanted the heroes to win, but you enjoyed seeing Mitch torture them a bit. It takes a smart charismatic actor to pull that off. It helped that he was quite handsome and had a delicious voice. I’m glad I got to see Born in one of his defining roles. He’ll be missed.
Posted at 11:21 pm by Geoff, on September 26, 2019
In 2009, Mariah Carey released her twelfth studio album, Memoirs
of an Imperfect Angel. I’m a huge Mariah fan. HUGE. I’ll get into that more
in another post. Despite my devotion, though, I can be honest and appropriately
critical. This isn’t one of my favorite albums in her catalogue. However, there
are still some gems worth re-examing.
14. The Impossible
A dreary little song that Mariah wrote about her then husband
Nick Cannon. It’s just…ugh. Two slow, boring, and vocally dry. I never liked
Nick, so an ode to him wouldn’t win me over. Luckily, they divorced.
13. Standing O
This doesn’t get a standing ovation from me. It’s basically
a “he did me wrong song”, which she has done better on so many other occasions.
Throw in some overly written, yet unimaginative lyrics and you have a very blah
12. Angels Cry
A perfectly fine ballad about the end of a relationship.
That’s all, just fine. I can’t say anything bad about it. On the other hand, I
can’t say it’s a song I play very often. The big note at the end is nice
11. Candy Bling
This one is all about throwbacks. Mariah reminisces about
young love while sampling from Ahmad’s “Back in the Day”. Normally I’d love a song
full of nostalgia, but this drowsy number doesn’t do it for me. It could have
been much livelier. If you want a better Mimi nostalgia-filled song, listen to
10. I Want to Know What Love Is
Ever since she scored a #1 hit with her cover of the Jackson
5’s “I’ll Be There”, Mariah has typically had a cover song on every album. Some
work very well and others don’t. Foreigner’s IWTKWLI falls into the latter
category. This seems like she threw in a cover just because. She doesn’t really
change the song up much aside from adding a gospel choir. It’s a bit lazy
Hate U stands for “having a typical emotional upset”.
Basically, Mariah has broken up with her man and she can’t wait to get to the
part where she hates him. Right now, she’s in the “I’m hurt, but I still love
you phase”. This track is just alright. Pretty vocals, especially the whistle
notes, but overall, it’s nothing terribly memorable.
8. More Than Just Friends
The sample really makes “Friends” pop. Here we have
Notorious B.IG.’s “One More Chance”. Adding Mariah to the mix makes for a good
Mariah’s guy has her wrapped up like a gift with a bow on
it. The imagery could use some work, but the hip-hop beat and her smooth vocals
go well together.
This may be a short interlude, however it’s still one of the
best tracks on Memoirs. Mariah loves to include an emotionally stirring
song on her albums, usually near the end. Languishing is a very simple yet
incredibly powerful piece of poetry.
Mariah and her boyfriend have broken up and it’s a given
that they’ll get back together. One of them needs to stop being stubborn and
pick up their damn phone. A smooth sexy track that you can’t help but your nod
your head to. It contains interpolations of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”,
which add a nice element.
4. Betcha Gon’ Know
The opener to the album. It’s unusual for Mariah in terms of
the tone, pace, and structure. And that’s what makes it interesting. She sings
about catching her man cheating. He doesn’t know she knows, so she has plenty
of time to plot her revenge. And she’s gonna lalalalaugh in his face. For real,
3. It’s a Wrap
This is a modern-day doo-wop song. It begins with a gorgeous
high note played over a dreamy melody and continues with an explanation of why she’s
done with her trifling man. Mariah is known for throwing big words into her
songs. Here it’s “acquiescent”. I’m sure some fans had to look it up. To put
that into a verse along with a threat to “call Maury Povich” is delightful
2. Up Out My Face
The second-best kiss-off song on the album. Mariah reads her
ex within an inch of his life. She tells him that she should have had another
mechanic another her hood, orders him to quit calling her from his mama’s
house, and claims the Harvard class of 2010 couldn’t even figure out a way to
put them back together. Oh, and she cc’d all of his friends about his lame ass.
Email burn. The kicker is the reprise with a marching band getting into the
“I was like, why are you so Obsessed with me?” And with that
Mean Girls quote, we have the #1 track. The lead single off the album, Mariah wrote
this after Eminem was running to the tabloids saying they’d hooked up. No, Slim
Shady, it never happened. She hit back with a song talking about a lame douche
bag who’s obsessed with her. The shade in this song is amazing. “You a mom
& pop, I’m a corporation. I’m a press conference, you a conversation.”
Aside from the lyrics, the beat, overlapping vocals, and feel good vibe make
this the standout entry of Memoirs.
The setup for Hustlers isn’t anything new. This is The
Big Short meets Goodfellas meets Robin Hood meets Showgirls.
But despite the lack of a fresh concept, it’s still an entertaining movie.
The story, based on a New York magazine
article, follows newbie stripper Destiny (Constance Wu) at a NYC club circa
2007. She stumbles until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), the seasoned star
of the club. The pro takes Destiny under her wing, teaching her how to dance
and seduce the customers (without actually giving anything away). The money
pours in until the stock market crashes in 2008. Everyone loses and has to
start over. Cut to 2011, where a struggling Destiny, who quit dancing after
becoming pregnant, reunites with Ramona. This time her mentor has a new lesson:
luring, drugging, and stealing from rich Wall Street guys. It doesn’t take long
before the two friends have a ring of girls scamming their way through
Manhattan. Once again, the (illegal) money flows, until the shit hits the fan.
The standout in the movie is Wu. She works to make
us sympathize and root for Destiny, even when she’s doing horrible things. There
has been Oscar talk about JLo’s performance and I have no clue where that’s
coming from. It’s not that she isn’t good. But let’s not get crazy. This is
maybe a Golden Globes nominated performance. Maybe.
Director/screenwriter Lorene Scafaria injects a
good deal of heart and humor amongst the flash and crime. And so many slow-motion
sequences. Bonus points for costume designer Mitchell Travers’ creations. He
does an incredible job of capturing the fashion of the 2000s. It’s all
appropriately tacky. UGG boots and velour Juicy Couture sweat suits for
everyone! The little bit of material used to barely cover JLo’s body is also
At one point, Julia Stiles’ reporter character, who
has been interviewing Destiny, mentions that she doesn’t feel bad for the men
that were victimized. I think a lot of audience members feel the same way. It’s
not so bad when rich douchebags take a fall. It also makes for a fun time at