Tag Archives: mariah carey

My Top 50 of 2013: #50 – #41

It’s countdown season, so followers of this blog should have seen this one coming… it’s time to start counting down my top 50 songs of the year. It’s been a strange year, there were plenty of good songs, as there always are, but picking my favourite was really hard. More because there wasn’t really a crazy standout this time. So there might be a few surprises along the way…. oh, and a fair whack of Eurovision, but you knew that already right?

Go forward to #40 – 31, #30 – 21, #20 – 11 and the Top 10

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Single: Mariah Carey – “The art of letting go” (2013)

About time, Mariah’s finally approaching the release of her new album, though I’m not sure we’ve got a release date yet. A 2013 release it apparently on the cards, but there’s not much of the year left is there?

mariah art of letting goBut here we are with the title track, released as the follow-up to the gorgeous “#beautiful” that we enjoyed over Summer. I’m not sure if this new single represents a return to form, but it certainly seems to represent a return to old-school Mariah.

It’s got that slightly overblown feel of her first few ballad & blues albums. When she nails that sound it’s really something to behold, but I’m not sure I’m quite on board with this one. Continue reading

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Film: “The Butler” (2013)

Completing a hat-trick of movies over the last three days, I saw a film that’s probably as far removed from the other two as I could get (at least until the Oscar nominations come out). I don’t follow the Oscars that closely, but I know Oscar bait when I see it and goodness knows this has award season in mind.

“The Butler” is a sort-of-biopic, loosely based on the life of real-life White House butler Eugene Allen. I guess his life – interesting as it was – needed a bit of Hollywooding, so instead it tells the life story of Cecil Gaines. Cecil (Forest Whitaker) served as a butler in the White House from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan, and gets a behind the scenes look at the civil rights movement from the top down. One of this sons gets involved in the movement from the bottom up, and repeatedly clashes with his father.

I’m not really sure what to make of it. My history isn’t great, but I’m trying to pick it up where I can. I’m just not sure that this sort of ‘greatest hits’ method of historical storytelling really serves that purpose though, there’s just too much to pack in. The White House side almost turns into a spot-the-star sketch show as presidents come and go (Robin Williams, James Marsden, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman). The supporting cast have similar notoriety, with Cecil’s wife Gloria distractingly played by billionaireness Oprah Winfrey. She’s still a bit of a mythical figure in the UK, so while she did a great job, it was hard not to watch her and hang on every Oprah word. Continue reading

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Single: Mariah Carey ft Miguel – “#Beautiful” (2013)

Mimi’s back. It’s been longer than I thought, you have to go back to 2009 before you get to her last normal studio album “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” (though she had a Christmas album a year later). Since then she’s had twins so has taken some well-deserved time out from her career.

But this year she’s on the move again, after a season of American Idol and a few buzz singles that didn’t amount to much, it feels like the push towards another album has begun with a collaboration with one of the biggest new artists in the USA at the moment,  Miguel.

I won’t pretend to know anything about him, frankly he seems like the sort of artist I wouldn’t normally be that interested in anyway, let alone with the acclaim heaped upon him. But I can at least acknowledge that this is a significant duet. Continue reading


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Album: Mariah Carey – “Merry Christmas II You” (2010)

It took 16 years for Mariah to make her 2nd festive album, perhaps a surprise given how much she seems to like Christmas, and how huge the first album was! But how would it measure up?

I’ve made a Christmas playlist of all sort of seasonal treats, but it just feels too early still… it’s less than 3 weeks away though, I haven’t even done any shopping yet! I’m being pressganged into the winter mentality by enduring the first of the snow today. Only a little bit hazardous though as it was only a thin layer, but it’s still there. I’m not looking forward to going out in it tomorrow when it’s semi-thawed and re-frozen though!

09 Santa Claus is comin to town / Oh Santa – A lovely intro again, I do love “Santa Claus is coming…”, and into … !?! Well she’s at least trying to make lightning strike twice with a fun original song. It doesn’t really come close to THE song, but it’s still a lot of fun. I think it falls down because it’s quite difficult to sing along to, the tempo is a little too frantic. Still, it topped the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart, and there is NO GREATER ACCOLADE.

06 O little town of Bethlehem / Little drummer boy – Another MASHUP, and while I could never take Little Drummer Boy too seriously, this seems like a decent match-up. The first verse of O Little Town doesn’t really merge particularly well, it’s more like switching the station between songs, but before you know it, the BA RUM PA PUM PUMs are mixing in nicely. It’s a bit of a mess but it’s alright. I THINK I NEED A BETTER DRUMMAAAAAAHHHH

07 Christmas Time is in the air again – Another newie, and while I’m sure many people like this rather sedate Sinatra-esque schmaltz fests, I’m on the fence a bit. I have to be in the right mood for it, though sadly I’m not quite in that mood yet. Pleasant though, if a little dated.

06 The First Noel / Born is the king – I do like this as a song, but this isn’t having a lot of impact on me really. It’s ALRIGHT but I’m struggling to find anything to say about it. Never mind, eh? At least it’s better than the comatose interlude straight after, which sounds like it could just be off any generic SLOW JAMZ CUT.

06 When Christmas comes – I have to admit I’m zoning out a bit here, I need some more uptempo numbers already. Oh Santa was a great start, but everything after this has been quite safe and unadventurous. I think we are veering into Vonda Shepard territory once again.

08 Here comes Santa Claus / Housetop Celebration – Ha! This is more like it, a bit of a modern twist on a relatively modern track. I’m not sure if Santa is getting up to any “mixing and blitzing” (?) but it sounds like he’s making a decent go of it. Threatens to stray into rent-a-rapper territory but that doesn’t encroach too much on a fun little track. Oh maybe she’s singing about Vixen and Blitzen… oops.

08 Charlie Brown Christmas – WTF? I do have this weird warm feeling about the Peanuts gang and that Christmas special that I vaguely remember but haven’t seen for about 20 years (I’m so old…). The song itself is a bit drippy and doesn’t fit the intro much at all. But her voice is really gorgeous, so it gets a thumbs up from me. I would give this a 7.5 but IT’S CHRISTMAS.

07 Oh come all ye faithful / Hallelujah – Back to the grind though, a rather overly acrobatic and overbaked version of another classic. Sorry guys, not really doing a lot for me. It’s sentimental enough to make me feel a TWINGE of festivity, and that rather unexpected operatic moment does improve matters. I do like Mariah SCREECHING that poor diva down to size, how disrespectful! *whistle note*

10 O Holy Night (Live) – Now THIS is the shit right here. I already appreciated this on the other album but this live version really deserved inclusion. The audience clapping at rather straightforward notes evidently didn’t expect just HOW epic her vox were going to be. When was this made? I really hope she can still hit those heights these days. Anyway not much more to say, great song, fantastic performance.

07 One Child – Poor song, sandwiched between two EPICS. I’m not really getting into this one, it’s quite reminiscent of MJ now I think about it. It has a nice-ish climax towards the end but I’m not really feeling this.

10 All I want for Christmas is you (Extra Festive) – Well I can’t say they’ve done a LOT to this, but still, you can’t argue this this TITAN. The extra intro is lovely, but it’s just window dressing. The song, as I have said already is STILL AMAZING.

09 Auld Lang’s Syne (The New Year’s Anthem) – Oh!! … well it’s always nice to have a little forward planning, New Year is only a week away of course. I wasn’t quite expecting such a gaytastic cheesy dance version to come from the rather subdued intro. It’s a great version though, I love it. I think craptacular is the word though! Does anybody really know the words??

Well that’s that! While I wasn’t QUITE into some of the content, I think that’s more a personal taste thing than a judgement on Mariah’s handling of the material. Her ventures into original Christmas material are hit and miss, but when she hits it, MY GOD DOES SHE HIT IT.

Please just take a moment to enjoy the incredible production values on this video though!!

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