ARTIST OF THE MONTH: MARIAH CAREY
We continue our ride down the massive and influential career of diva Mariah Carey's release "Rainbow, released on November 2, 1999. Her seventh studio album, which is now over 20 years old, has a diverse landscape of genres. She furthered her hip hop grip that dominated her 1997 album "Butterfly" while still incorporating pop, R&B, and even gospel into the album. This was a time when much of my listening was putting the album in my boombox or my Walkman on long car rides and going out to buy an actual physical copy.
The album starts with the catchy first single, “Heartbreaker.” Produced alongside DJ Clue, the song samples of Stacy Lattisaw’s “Attack of the Name Game.” Being the first lead single of hers to feature a rapper, bringing in Jay-Z as it soon became her 14th number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The video was situated in a movie theatre stakeout led to a bathroom fight scene between Mariah and brunette Mariah (Bianca). Meanwhile, Jay-Z appeared on the movie screen to recreate an iconic scene from Scarface's movie.
We cannot talk about "Rainbow" without mentioning the ballads that are arguably some of her strongest up to that point. She soars on the anthemic “Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme),” unleashing an anthem that most people can relate to, even to this day. Written by Mariah and the legendary Diane Warren, it is reminiscent of “Outside” and “Vision of Love.” Then, of course. Songs like “Petals,” in which she pens words to her estranged sister Alison, her former step-children, and others and other lines focused on her ex-husband Tommy Mottola and her former writing partner Walter Afanasieff. With all the challenges she faced at Columbia and Sony at her split from Tommy Mottola, Mariah sounded resilient and optimistic for the future.
The album didn't become one of her six to top the Billboard 200, but it did attain platinum record sales in the US and giving Carey her 14th and 15th Number one hit, respectively, with "Heartbreaker" and "Thank God I Found You." "Rainbow" is an essential album in understanding both the creative and emotional journey Carey would endure from the beginning of her career until the final notes on the closing track.