Charmbracelet


Charmbracelet
Charmbracelet
A close-up of a blond woman, whose mouth is a little open and her right hand is partially visible on top of her head. At the bottom of the image, the words "MARIAH CAREY" and "Charmbracelet" are written in white letters.
Studio album by Mariah Carey
Released December 3, 2002 (2002-12-03)
Recorded 2002
Genre R&B, pop, hip hop
Length 63:12
Label Island, MonarC[1]
Producer Mariah Carey (also executive), Lyor Cohen (executive), Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Just Blaze, Randy Jackson, Jermaine Dupri, Damizza, Dre & Vidal
Mariah Carey chronology
Greatest Hits
(2001)
Charmbracelet
(2002)
The Remixes
(2003)
Singles from Charmbracelet
  1. "Through the Rain"
    Released: September 24, 2002
  2. "Boy (I Need You)"
    Released: November 26, 2002
  3. "Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
    Released: November 25, 2003

Charmbracelet is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, released on December 3, 2002 through Island Records and MonarC Entertainment. The album was her first release since facing a breakdown following the release of her film Glitter (2001) and its accompanying soundtrack album, both of which were critical and commercial disappointments. Described as one of her most personal records, following 1997's Butterfly,[2] Charmbracelet was designed to recoup with Carey's former audience. Throughout the project, Carey collaborated with many songwriters and producers which she had worked with in the past, including Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, as well as first-time musicians like 7 Aurelius and Dre & Vidal.

According to Carey, the songs in Charmbracelet combine introspective and personal themes, and also addresses celebratory and fun anecdotes, with love being the prevalent theme of the album.[3] Musically, the album continued Carey's calculated mixture of pop ballads and R&B beats, however incorporating other genres, such as in "My Saving Grace", where she fused gospel and soul, with the lyrics dealing with religious concepts. Charmbracelet primarily focused on delivering a more adult contemporary sound, especially when put in comparison with Glitter, which featured a variety of sampled melodies from the 1980s. A few artists also lent their vocals for the tracks, including Cam'ron, Jay-Z and Freeway.

Upon its release, Charmbracelet garnered mixed reviews from music critics. Many of them felt that although the songs were good, none of them stood out to make much of an impact. Additionally, some also pointed out that Carey's voice sounded thin, airy and damaged on the album. Charmbracelet debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 241,000 copies in its first week. Internationally, the album performed moderately on the charts, peaking within the top 40 in seven countries, including top ten entries in two—Japan and Switzerland.

Three singles were released to promote the album; the lead single, "Through the Rain" became the most successful among the three, reaching the top ten in Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy and the United Kingdom. In the US, it topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart, but stalled at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-ups, "Boy (I Need You)" and "Bringin' On the Heartbreak", failed to match the international peaks the lead single. Carey embarked on the Charmbracelet World Tour, which spanned over 69 shows in over eight months, to further promote the album. She also performed on various televised shows and promotional tours like the 30th annual American Music Awards, Today and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Contents

Background

"I had worked myself very very hard for many many years and I never took a break, and last year, I had just become very very exhausted and ended up just not really in a good place physically and emotionally. I learned a little more about how to work hard but also how to be healthy and take care of myself, and now, in general, in my life, I'm in a really good, happy place."

Prior to the release of Charmbracelet, Carey had experienced a year of critical, commercial, and personal troubles, following the poor reception to her debut film Glitter (2001), and her subsequent hospitalization.[5] After divorcing from her husband, record executive, and mentor Tommy Mottola, Carey took more creative control over her career, and according to some, released her "inner sex kitten" on Butterfly (1997), her first album commissioned following their separation.[6] With her next release, Rainbow (1999), Carey continued to infuse more R&B influences into her music, notably with "Heartbreaker", the lead single from the album, which features Carey's farthest reach into hip-hop territory to that point.[6] Carey began to scale back her voice throughout the 1990s, and according to a writer from The Sacramento Bee, attempted to sound more ghetto.[7] She discontinued working with longtime pop producers such as Babyface and Walter Afanasieff, in order to pursue a new sound and audience with writers such as Sean Combs and Jermaine Dupri.[7] Following the worldwide success she achieved with Rainbow, Carey and Columbia Records, at which Mottola was involved with, ended their partnership.[8] Controversy involving Mottola and executive Benny Medina took place during '99, as they used several productions Carey had written and been involved with on songs for Jennifer Lopez.[8] Carey decided to venture into film with her 2001 film, Glitter.[6][8] Critically, the film was panned by movie critics, and earned less than eight million dollars at the box office.[6][8] The soundtrack for the film, fared slightly better, spawning a top-five single in the United States, and selling over three million units globally.[9]

However, following the film and soundtrack's weak performance, Carey's unprecedented $100 million dollar recording contract was bought out by Virgin Records, who paid her $28 million to part ways.[6] Prior to the project's weak commercial success, Carey checked into a hospital in Connecticut, following a controversial appearance on Total Request Live, in which she gave out ice cream to fans and demonstrated what was considered by the media as "erratic behavior".[5][10] After leaving troubling messages on her website, Carey checked into the hospital, citing an "emotional and physical breakdown."[10] Carey subsequently flew to Capri, Italy after her two week hospitalization, staying there for five months in which she began writing and producing material for a new studio album, stemming from the experiences she had gone through in the recent months.[10] After being signed by Island Records, and starting her own imprint, MonarC Entertainment, Carey geared up for her intended "comeback" release, Charmbracelet.[8] Critics deemed the album a strong improvement over Glitter, but not something that would re-capture audiences around the world and re-establish her popularity throughout the 1990s. Many took notice of Carey's more airy and light vocals, and criticized her of not being capable of the same degree of vocal prowess she had been known for during the first part of her career. However, three years later with the release of The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey's critical and commercial popularity surged again, with critics calling it her true comeback, as well as her emancipation from her previous two albums.[6]

Development and recording

"The experience of recording this album is almost like the experience of my life – going through it dealing with things and trying to be hopeful. It's not an album filled with woe and misery. There are some songs that will give you that melancholy feeling, but I try to always go to the uplifting even in a situation that seems that it could break you. I try to always turn to the positive rather than drown in the negative."

—Carey on the album's sound to Radio and Records[11]

Carey started writing songs for then untitled Charmbracelet in 2002,[11] before she signed the record deal.[12] She decided to concentrate on "getting some much-needed rest"[13] and traveled to Capri and moved into the studio, which she had reserved to record the album.[14] While at Capri, Carey could focus on her writing and recording, without being subjected to any stress or pressure.[11] According to her, she would write the songs in her apartment upstairs, and would record them at the studio downstairs, at night.[15] Thus, most of the album was recorded in Capri although she traveled to Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia to record a few tracks.[16] The result was that Charmbracelet was her "most personal album" she had ever made.[15] She regrouped with longtime collaborators like Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Randy Jackson[12] while bringing in new songwriters and producers like 7 Aurelius, Just Blaze, Damizza and Dre & Vidal.[12][17] The opening track and the first track to be written for the album,[16] "Through the Rain", was penned by Carey alongside Lionel Cole.[18] The song, which was inspired by the real-life struggles Carey had gone through that year,[19] was co-produced by Jam and Lewis.[18] "I've always tried to insert positivity into my songs wherever I can, to inspire other people who go through stuff. I mean the stuff they talked about in tabloids and the things that were so overly exaggerated, that's one aspect. I also went through a lot of personal stuff, a lot of family stuff this year. [...] It's brought me to another place. People are going to read into it as, 'This is Mariah and her struggle,'" Carey said of the song.[19] Another track that Jam, Lewis and Carey worked on together is "Yours", which Jam said contains "probably one of the best hooks [ever]." He also likened it to one of trio's previous collaborations, "Thank God I Found You" (2000).[19] Initially, the song was recorded as duet with pop singer Justin Timberlake; Carey's part was recorded first and Timberlake's during a different session.[20] However, due to contractual complications, it was never released and the version featured on the album is a solo one by Carey.[21] Jam and Lewis also produced two more songs, "Wedding Song" and "Satisfy", which features background vocals from Michael Jackson; these failed to make the final cut.[21][22]

Carey decided to work with Just Blaze after she heard the song "Oh Boy" he had produced for Cam'ron.[15] Together they produced "Boy (I Need You)", a remake of "Oh Boy", and "You Got Me".[15] Carey described the former as one of her favorites on the album. "It's definitely one of my favorites, 'cause I love the original. It was cool to have him out there doing his thing in such a random environment," she said. The latter, which features rap verses from Jay-Z and Freeway, was noted by Carey as a "signature Just Blaze track".[15] At the time the song was recorded, Jay-Z was at Capri on a vacation, and went to the studio to hear the song. After hearing it, he expressed that he wanted to contribute to the song and added rap verses of his own to it.[15] Dupri produced "The One" and "You Had Your Chance". He said that they wanted to stick to the "same familiar sound" from his previous collaborations with Carey.[23] "The One" was described as a "personal song" by Carey and was inspired about the time when one feels "hurt in relationships in the past, and maybe you meet somebody and you want to get involved but you're unsure whether you should or not."[15] Apart from these, Carey decided to experiment with a live band for the album.[24] In April 2002, she met 7 Aurelius and asked him if he could produce songs for the album. They flew to Nassau, Bahamas and recorded a mixture of mid-tempo and up-tempo tracks and ballads accompanied by a live band. 7 Aurelius said that Carey was "an amazing writer" and described the process of recording:

We did three or four songs in three or four days. The way we was doing it, I had [a horn section] down there along with me. We had the whole room set up with candles, some nice wine — [it was] a very good vibe. It was completely stripped down, like 'Mariah Carey Unplugged'. She stripped herself down to her talent. She was really trusting of me and my vision, and I was trusting of who she was.[24]

"Charm bracelets have always had a personal and sentimental significance for me. Charms are like pieces of yourself that you pass on to other people, items that tell your story and that can be shared, like a song. The bracelet represents the foundation of this album, a body of work that encompasses many feelings."

—Carey on the title of the album, Charmbracelet.[25]

Randy Jackson contributed to four tracks on the album. He commented that the album was "the most real and honest record she's made. She didn't care what anyone thought of the lyrics. They were only important to her."[26] One of the tracks is a cover of Def Leppard song "Bringin' On the Heartbreak". During the photoshoot for Charmbracelet at Capri, Carey came across a copy of Def Leppard's album Vault (1995), which contains the song, and decided to cover it for the album.[27] In an interview with Billboard, Carey said that the song is "an example of her musical diversity". She said, "I love going from showing my Minnie Riperton influences to hip-hop to rock. It's all me. For Heartbreak, it was fun to go back to a song that I loved singing when I was in school. I think we bring some fresh elements to it."[12] Another song they worked on together is "My Saving Grace", which Carey described: "[...] actually the writing process and working on this album has been something to immerse myself in, because I realized how that has always been my saving grace. There's a song on the album called 'My Saving Grace.' But it actually is [my saving grace], just to go into that process and really live the process of writing, recording, the whole thing, up to the main inception to the mastering of the record."[19] While working on the album in Capri, Carey's father, with whom she was very close with,[28] became ill and she returned to New York to spend some time with him.[29] He had been diagnosed with Cancer and could tolerate only sunflowers due to the allergies he had developed;[30] he died soon after.[31] In his memory, Carey wrote and produced the song "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy".[30] Carey said that the song represents "his side of the family and is kind of hard to talk about. We went through a really difficult time period, because it was just, like, an instant, kind of shocking thing that happened."[32] The song proved to be "very emotional" for Carey, and she sang the song only once in the studio.[12] DJ Quik also produced songs for the album, but none of them made the final cut.[18][33]

Music and lyrics

Following the poor reception to her previous studio album, Glitter, as well as her physical and emotional breakdown, Carey attempted to make her musical comeback with Charmbracelet.[34] While she continually ventured further into Contemporary R&B and hip-hop throughout the late 1990s, the album's focused on bringing Carey back to her adult contemporary roots, in an attempt to re-capture her audience.[34] While critics both praised and criticized the condition of Carey's voice throughout the album, many called the songs "average", and felt that most lacked a sufficient hook.[34] Serving as the album's lead single, and Carey's boldest attempt at re-creating the ballads from the early years of her career, was "Through the Rain".[34] The song, written and produced by Carey, was described as a "self-help" and "inspirational" ballad, lyrically describing how an individual must not let life's hardships stop them from fulfilling their dreams.[35] While Carey paved a lot of the album with slower and autobiographical ballads, she also attempted at making an album with a mixture of several different genres. According to Jon Pareles of The New York Times, the album showed off Carey's musical and vocal versatility, especially when viewing the differences in the record's first and second singles, "Ms. Carey is known for her voice, of course: she can hit high notes that barely sound human, and few singers leap around the octaves as gracefully as she does. But as she tries to regain her audience, her greatest weapon may be her versatility: Ms. Carey also knows how to make a hip-hop hit by holding back and letting the beat shine."[35] He referenced the project's second release, "Boy (I Need You)", a hip-hop and R&B track featuring Cam'ron, and complimented it on its differences with most of the content on Charmbracelet.[35]

The third single released from Charmbracelet was Carey's cover of the 1981 Def Leppard song, "Bringin' On the Heartbreak". The song as with most of the album, features live instrumentation.[35] Beginning as a "piano-driven slow jam", followed by a "dramatic chord progression" after the second chorus, Carey's "precise and fluttery voice reaches incredible heights" as it "turns the power ballad into something more delicate."[35] On the Carey and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis composed "Yours", Pareles felt her voice sounded like a "delectable combination of breathy vocals and playful rhythms."[35] On the track, Carey recorded her lead vocals, then blending additional coos and impromptu belted notes in order to provide a double voice.[36] When describing Carey's usage of the double voice, Barry Walters from Rolling Stone wrote "Carey's lead vocals blend into choruses of overdubbed Mariah's cooing overlapping phrases. Circling these are choirs of more Mariahs singing harmonies and countermelodies. Topping it off are generous sprinklings of the singer's patented birdcalls, wails, sighs and whispers."[36] An additional version of the song featuring vocals from Justin Timberlake was recorded, but never commissioned for release.[37]

"Her carefully assembled new album resembles a computer preset in its soulless precision. But there's a reason. This tin Charmbracelet is a throwback to the soft and fuzzy Mariah the masses succumbed to in the 1990s before she began competing with DMX for street credibility. To bring in the customers, Carey delivers her parts here in the familiar high-pitched coo, sort of Minnie Riperton without soul, backed by just-press-play synth-strings and soft, sparkly keyboards."

—A writer from Los Angeles Daily News describing the album's production and vocals as a whole.[34]

Critics considered "Subtle Invitation" one of the album's strongest songs, due to its "well executed" jazz influence. The song begins with the sounds of people dining, then introducing the strong bassline and drum notes. Towards the end of the song, Carey belts out the climax, with Sarah Rodman from The Boston Herald describing it as "fascinating" and "it sounds as though Carey is singing in falsetto while still in her chest voice."[38] "Clown" drew strong media attention following the album's release, mostly due to its lyrical content. Critics speculated that Carey aimed at rapper Eminem in the song, as he had publicly referenced to a relationship he claimed to have shared with her. Clown's lyrics were described as "languidly sinister" by Rodman, and read "I should've left it at 'I like your music too'...You should never have intimated we were lovers / when you know very well we never even touched each other."[38] Aside from the song's lyrics, critics praised the song, with Entertainment Weeklys Tom Sinclair calling it a "moody number graced with mournful acoustic guitar and a gorgeously nuanced vocal."[39] On "I Only Wanted", comparisons were made to Carey's "My All", in terms of its instrumentation and structure of verse, chorus and guitar solo. According to Cinquemani, in verses such as "Wish I'd stayed beneath my veil", Carey makes vague allusions to her ex-husband Tommy Mottola.[37] Aside from its Latin-inspired guitar instrumentation, the song makes usage of wind sounds as an additional backbone to the melody, as well as dripping water as its percussion.[18] One of the album's most lyrically personal songs is "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy", named after Carey's father, in which she makes direct reference to him, and a moment they shared at his death bed.[35][39] The song's instrumentation features a simple piano accompaniment, while Carey retells of a visit she shared with her father in his hospital room, "Strange to feel that proud, strong man/Grip tightly to my hand."[35][39]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 43/100[40]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[18]
Billboard (Favorable)[41]
Entertainment Weekly (C)[39]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[1]
The New York Times (Favorable)[35]
New York (Unfavorable)[42]
NME (Unfavorable)[43]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[36]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[37]
Yahoo! Music UK 4/10 stars[44]

At the time of its release, reviews for Charmbracelet were an improvement over Glitter, albeit mixed at best. The album's main criticism laid within its content; many music reviewers felt that although the songs were good, none stood out enough to make much of an impact on radio or the market. Additionally, some critics were concerned with the condition of Carey's voice, which many felt became thin, airy and damaged when compared to her vocals throughout the early 1990s. On the website Metacritic, which averages professional reviews into a numerical score, the album received a 43/100, indicating "generally mixed or average reviews."[40] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic rated the album two out of five stars, mainly criticizing its production, as well as the condition of Carey's voice.[18] He described her voice as "shot" and wrote "Whenever she sings, there's a raspy whistle behind her thin voice and she strains to make notes throughout the record. She cannot coo or softly croon, nor can she perform her trademark gravity-defying vocal runs. Her voice is damaged, and there's not a moment where it sounds strong or inviting."[18] Billboard editor Michael Paoletta was less critical on Charmbracelet, praising Carey's return to her adult contemporary beginnings.[41] He felt that although Carey might have alienated her hip-hop followers from her previous three albums, her older fans from the 1990s would be more receptive to the material, as well as her new image.[41] Unlike Erlewine's criticism of Carey's voice, Tom Sinclair from Entertainment Weekly described her as "in fine voice."[39] He agreed, however, with the album's common critique; its content. Sinclair felt the similar and lack-luster ballads made the album "grow tiresome" and wrote "too much of 'Charmbracelet' is mired in middle-of-the-road muck.[39]

Following a favorable review of the album, in which he praised Carey's voice as "invariably astonishing", as well as the album's production and content, Jon Pareles from The New York Times wrote "So is Mariah Carey more herself than ever? It certainly sounds like it, although her comeback is still far from a sure thing."[35] Ethan Browne from New York called the album's production of whimsical chimes and tinkling keyboards "bad", and wrote "Was Charmbracelet recorded in a Casio shop? This instrument needs to be stopped."[42] Rating Charmbracelet two out of five stars, Barry Walters from Rolling Stone wrote that none of the songs were bold, and called them "muddy." He felt that the lack of hooks made the album weak, and wrote "Carey needs bold songs that help her use the power and range for which she is famous. Charmbracelet is like a stream of watercolors that bleed into a puddle of brown."[36] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine was less critical of Charmbracelet, complimenting Carey's mixture of pop and hip-hop melodies. Following comparisons to her older work, Cinquemani concluded "Though there's nothing as immediate as "Fantasy" or "My All" here, Charmbracelet is significantly less contrived than 1999's Rainbow and almost as creatively liberating as Butterfly.[37] British columnist Angus Batey, writing for Yahoo! Music UK called the songs on Charmbracelet "forgetful", and wrote "She used to take risks, but 'Charmbracelet' is conservative, unadventurous and uninspiring; and, while it's understandable that simply to make another record marks a triumph of sorts, it's impossible to admire Mariah to the degree that her talent ought to merit."[44] While reviewing the album, John Mulvey from NME criticized its content, writing "Nominally, 'Charmbracelet' is R&B, much like Tony Blair is nominally a socialist. [...] Tragedies, all told, have been worse."[43] At the 17th Japan Gold Disc Award in 2003, the album was nominated in the category of Rock and Pop Album of the Year (International).[45]

Commercial reception

A blond woman singing, wearing a white top and short skirt. She is flanked by four boys, who pretends to be taking her picture with camera.
Carey and her dancers performing "Heartbreaker" on the Charmbracelet Tour in 2003

Charmbracelet was initially slated for release on December 10, 2002, in the United States.[46] However, the date was pushed forward to December 3, 2002, and was released through Island Records and Carey's label MonarC Entertainment.[1][18] A highly anticipated release,[47][48] it debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 241,000 copies.[49] The figure was an improvement over the first-week sales of the critically panned Glitter soundtrack,[50] yet lower than 1999's Rainbow, which opened with 323,000 units sold.[51] It stayed on the chart for 22 weeks,[52] and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million units throughout the country.[53] As of December 2010, the estimated sales of the album in the US (compiled by Nielsen Soundscan) stand at 1,157,000 copies.[54] In Canada, the album debuted on the Canadian Albums Chart outside the top 20, in contrast to Glitter, which debuted at number four on the chart.[55] It was certified Gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipments of 50,000 copies.[56] On the week dated December 15, 2002, Chamrbracelet entered the Australian Albums Chart at its peak position of number 42.[57] It exited the chart the next week, becoming one of Carey's lowest charting albums in the country.[58] In Austria, the album peaked at number 34 and stayed on the charts for seven weeks.[59]

Charmbracelet had a top twenty placement in France, when it entered the French Albums Chart at number 20, the week dated December 7, 2002.[60] The album spent 30 weeks fluctuating on the chart,[60] and was certified Gold by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP), denoting shipments of 150,000 units.[61][62] Overseas, in Japan, Charmbracelet saw its second highest peak when it debuted at number four on the Oricon Albums Chart, due to first week sales of 63,365 units.[63] The album spent another week on the same position, this time due to sales of 71,206 units.[64] It stayed on the charts for a total of 15 weeks and according to Oricon, has sold 240,440 copies.[65][66] The Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) certified Charmbracelet platinum for shipments of 250,000 copies.[67] In Switzerland, the album peaked at number nine on the Swiss Albums Chart and stayed on the charts for ten weeks;[68] it was certified Gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).[69] In the United Kingdom, the album peaked outside the top 50, at number 52 and has sold 122,010 copies as of April 2008.[70] In February 2003, it was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales/shipments of 100,000 copies in the country.[71] In the Netherlands, the album debuted at number 48, the issue dated December 14, 2002. The following week, it ascended to its peak of number 30; the album stayed on the charts for 19 weeks, and made two re-entries, one in June 2003 and other in August 2003.[72] Charmbracelet also charted and peaked at number 32 in Germany[73] and number 50 in Sweden.[74] It also charted and peaked at number 48 in the Flemish region of Belgium and number 28 in the Walloon region.[75][76] Charmbracelet was certified Gold in both Brazil and Hong Kong by Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos (ABPD) and IFPI Hong Kong respectively.[77][78]

Singles

Three singles were released from the album; "Through the Rain" was released as the first single on September 24, 2002.[79] It received mixed reviews from critics, with some noting it as too similar to her older ballads such as "Hero" and "Outside",[80][81] while others praised Carey's vocals in the song.[39][82][83] The single became one of Carey's lowest singles, reaching number 81 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, it topped the Hot Dance Club Play charts and cracked the top twenty of the Adult Contemporary chart.[84] Outside the United States, the single performed moderately, peaking within the top ten in Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy and the United Kingdom,[85] and within the top 20 in Ireland, Australia, Norway and Denmark.[85] The music video of "Through the Rain" directed by Daver Meyers is based on the courtship and eloping of Carey's parents. Carey is seen singing in the street when rain starts to fall while being juxtaposed with the story of a bi-racial couple who run away from their families who opposes their relationship.[86]

"Boy (I Need You)", which was released as the second single on November 26, 2002[87] received negative reviews from critics.[18][39] The single failed to make much impact on the charts around the world; it reached number 68 on the US Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs chart and number 57 on the US Hot Singles Sales chart.[84] Elsewhere, the song reached number 17 in the United Kingdom, while peaking within the top 40 in Australia,[88] the Netherlands, Ireland and New Zealand.[89] The music video for "Boy (I Need You)", was directed by Joseph Kahn and was filmed at Shibuya and Los Angeles. Initially, "The One" was scheduled to be released as the second single and the music video was shot for the song.[90] However, halfway through the filming, the track was changed to "Boy (I Need You)".[91] Described as "Speed Racer meets Hello Kitty meets me and Cam'ron" by Carey,[92] the video incorporates elements of Japanese culture and features Carey's alter-ego Bianca.[91]

The cover version of "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" became the third single to be released from the album; it was released on November 25, 2003.[93] Though it gained mostly positive reviews,[94][95][96] like its predecessor, it failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but reached number five on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.[84] Outside the States, the song saw its highest peak in Switzerland, reaching number 28 and staying on the charts for eight weeks.[97] It also charted in Austria and the Wallonia region of Belgium.[97] The music video for the song was directed by Saana Hamri.[98] Another cut from the album, "Irresistible (Westside Connection)", charted at number 81 on the US Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs.[84]

Promotion

A blond woman singing, while wearing a white gown. Behind her, brightly-lit stairs are visible, and twinkling lights on the ceiling
Carey performing "Hero" live during her Charmbracelet World Tour (2003–04)

Following the release of "Through the Rain", Carey embarked on several stateside, European and Asian promotional tours in support of Charmbracelet, as well as its accompanying singles. Promotion for the former song began at the 2002 NRJ Awards, where Carey appeared on stage sporting a long wavy style and wearing a long black skirt and denim blazer.[99] Three days prior to the album's stateside release, a one hour special titled Mariah Carey: Shining Through the Rain aired on MTV, in which Carey was interviewed and sang several songs from Charmbracelet and of her catalog.[100] During the interview, Carey addressed rumors of her breakdown and its cause, as well as of the album and its inspiration, followed by a question and answer with fans.[100] During the album's month of release, Carey appeared on several television talk shows, launching her promotional tour on Today, where she performed a four song set-list at Mall of America for a crowd of over 10,000.[101] On December 2, Carey traveled to Brazil for South American promotion of Charmbracelet, appearing on the popular Brazilian program, Fantástico. She sang "My All", and reprised performances of "Through the Rain" and "I Only Wanted" wearing a long pink gown.[102] Consequently, on December 3, 2002, Carey appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she performed "Through the Rain" and "My Saving Grace", and covered a highly publicized interview regarding Carey's hospitalization.[103] Additionally, Carey's interview with Matt Lauer on Dateline NBC aired that same evening, further adding to the album's roster of promotional efforts.[103] Two weeks later on December 17, Carey performed "I Only Wanted" on The View, and was interviewed by Barbara Walters and the other co-hosts on the program.[103]

Ironically, Carey was booked to give Walters a private interview following Glitter's release, which was later cancelled following Carey's breakdown.[103] Instead of giving Walters the full-coverage interview following Carey's return to the public eye, Island felt Oprah was more appropriate, and changed the appearance.[103] One month later, Carey was featured as one of the headlining performers at the 30th annual American Music Awards, held on January 13, 2003.[104] Introduced by Sharon Osbourne, Carey performed "Through the Rain" alongside a complete live gospel choir, and wore a long black evening gown.[105] During the recital, images of newspaper headlines describing Carey's breakdown were projected on a large curtain behind her, with one reading "When you fall down, you get back up."[105] Following the song's completion, Carey received a standing ovation.[106] In mid-February, Carey was named the headlining performed at the NBA all-star game, notable for it being Michael Jordan's last game.[107] She wore a long purple skin-tight Washington Wizard's dress, and performed "Boy (I Need You)", "My Saving Grace" and "Hero", which induced a standing ovation, and brought Jordan to tears.[108][109] On March 1, 2003, Carey performed at the 2003 Soul Train Music Awards, sporting a retro-curled hairstyle and wearing a burgundy evening gown.[110] She performed "My Saving Grace", and featured a similarly sequenced performance as on the American Music Awards, where newspaper pages and inspirational photos were projected on a large screen.[110] Following the performance, Carey won a life-time achievement award for her contribution to music.[110] Towards the end of March, Charmbracelet saw release throughout Europe, prompting Carey to appear on several programs in promotion of the album.[111] She first performed the album's leading two singles on the British music chart show, Top of the Pops, followed by a similar set on The Graham Norton Show and Fame Academy.[111][112][113] On the latter program, Carey was joined on stage by the show's finalists, as they all sang the climax on "Through the Rain" alongside her.[113]

Tour

A blond woman sits atop a piano and sings. A long, white cloth hangs around her while a silhouette behind the woman shows two male figures as if holding the white cloth.
Carey performing "Subtle Invitation", seated on top of a piano, on the Charmbracelet Tour (2003–04)

In an attempt to "relaunch" her career following the poor reception to Glitter, as well as her breakdown, Carey announced a world tour in April 2003.[114] Lasting over eight months, the Charmbracelet World Tour: An Intimate Evening with Mariah Carey, became her most extensive tour to date, spanning sixty-nine shows around the world.[115] Prior to tickets going on sale in the United States, venues were switched from arena shows, to small and more intimate theater stops. According to Carey, the change was made in order to give fans a more intimate show, and something more Broadway-influenced, "It's much more intimate so you'll feel like you had an experience. You experience a night with me."[114] However, while smaller productions were booked throughout the tour's stateside leg, Carey performed at stadiums and arenas in Asia and Europe, performing for a crowd of over 35,000 in Manila, 50,000 in Malaysia, and to over 70,000 people in China.[116] In the United Kingdom, it became Carey's first tour to feature shows outside of London, booking arena stops in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester.[117]

Charmbracelet World Tour: An Intimate Evening with Mariah Carey garnered generally positive reviews from music critics and concert goers; many complimented the quality of Carey's live vocals, as well as the production as a whole. Additionally, fans were given the opportunity to request different songs from Carey's catalog, further adding to its positive reception.[115] At her concert in Manila, Rito P. Asilo from Philippine Daily Inquirer praised Carey's vocals, "I didn't expect her voice to be that crystal clear!".[118] Concluding his review on a positive note, Asilo wrote "After 15 songs, we couldn't seem to get enough of Mariah – and we became a believer!".[118]

Re-release

While preparing for the Asian leg of the Charmbracelet World Tour, Carey announced that Charmbraclet would be re-released with four additional tracks.[119] The album would be released on July 26, 2003, the same day Carey North American leg of the tour would begin.[120] The first song Carey included was her duet with Busta Rhymes, which was released as a single from his album, It Ain't Safe No More (2002).[121] The song was Carey's highest charting song internationally since prior to Glitter (2001), reaching top five peaks in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom.[122][123][124] When discussing the re-release in an interview with Carson Daly, Carey explained: "The Busta Rhymes duet, I Know What You Want, has become so successful and we always said I would put it on my album as well. So that was really the catalyst. And then I have the other songs left, and we thought we would re-release it [with those tracks included] because the fans were requesting it. So that's the whole reason behind that."[119] The other three songs included on the re-release, "There Goes My Heart", "Got a Thing 4 You" featuring Da Brat and Elephant Man, and "The One (So So Def Remix)" featuring Bone Crusher, were recorded in The Bahamas.[125] Charmbracelet re-release charted for three weeks on the album chart and peaked at number 96.[126] According to Oricon, it has sold 4,936 copies.[66]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Through the Rain"   Mariah Carey, Lionel Cole Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, James "Big Jim" Wright 4:48
2. "Boy (I Need You)" (featuring Cam'ron) Mariah Carey, Justin Smith, Norman Whitfield Mariah Carey, Justin Smith 5:14
3. "The One"   Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox 4:08
4. "Yours"   Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, James "Big Jim" Wright Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, James "Big Jim" Wright 5:06
5. "You Got Me" (featuring Jay-Z & Freeway) Mariah Carey, Shawn Carter, Justin Smith, Leslie Pridgen Mariah Carey, Justin Smith 4:22
6. "I Only Wanted"   Mariah Carey, Lionel Cole Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson 3:38
7. "Clown"   Mariah Carey, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis Mariah Carey, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis 3:17
8. "My Saving Grace"   Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Kenneth Crouch, Trevor Lawrence Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson 4:09
9. "You Had Your Chance"   Mariah Carey, Bryan-Michael Cox, J. Dupri, Leon Haywood Mariah Carey, Bryan-Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri 4:22
10. "Lullaby"   Mariah Carey, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis Mariah Carey, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis 4:56
11. "Irresistible (West Side Connection)" (featuring Westside Connection) Mariah Carey, O'Shea Jackson, Quincy Jones III, Theodore Life, Dexter Wansel, Damion Young Mariah Carey, Damion Young 5:04
12. "Subtle Invitation"   Mariah Carey, Marcus Vest, Randy Jackson, Kenneth Crouch, Lloyd Smith, Rob Bacon Mariah Carey, Marcus Vest 4:27
13. "Bringin' on the Heartbreak"   Pete Willis, Steve Clark, Joe Elliott Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson 4:34
14. "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy"   Mariah Carey, Lionel Cole Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson 2:59
15. "Through the Rain (Remix)" (featuring Kelly Price and Joe) Mariah Carey, Kenneth Crouch, Randy Jackson Mariah Carey, Justin Smith 3:32

Credits and personnel

Credits for Charmbracelet are adapted from the album's liner notes.[131]

  • Mariah Careysongwriter, producer, executive producer, composer, vocals, background vocals
  • Asif Ali – engineer
  • Florian Ammon – digital editing, audio mixing, vocal engineer
  • Giulio Antognini – assistant engineer
  • Bobby Ross Avila – guitar
  • Rob Bacon – composer, guitar, electric guitar
  • Karen Elaine Bakunin – viola
  • Charlie Bisharat – string quartet, strings
  • Printz Board – trumpet
  • Oswald "Wiz" Bowe – assistant engineer
  • Denyse Buffum – viola
  • Eve Butler – string quartet, strings
  • Cam'ronrap
  • David Campbell – string arrangements
  • Darius Campo – string quartet, strings
  • Shawn Carter – composer
  • Dana Jon Chappelle – engineer, vocal engineer
  • Susan Chatman – string quartet, strings
  • Andrew Chavez – assistant engineer
  • Steve Clark – composer
  • Lionel Cole – composer, piano, synthesizer bass
  • Larry Corbett – cello
  • Bryan-Michael Cox – composer, producer
  • Kenneth Crouch – bass, composer, fender rhodes, keyboard
  • Damizza – producer
  • Melonie Daniels – background vocals
  • Vidal Davis – Composer, Mixing
  • Mario Diaz de Leon – string quartet, strings
  • Joel Derouin – string quartet, strings
  • Vincent Dilorenzo – assistant engineer
  • DJ Vice – programming
  • Karen Dreyfus – viola
  • Jermaine Dupri – composer, mixing, producer
  • Elizabeth Dyson – cello
  • Joe Elliott – composer
  • Brian Frye – engineer
  • Matt Funes – viola
  • Kevin G. – engineer
  • Armen Garabedian – string quartet, strings
  • Paul Gregory – assistant engineer, engineer
  • Kevin Guarnieri – digital editing, engineer
  • Matt Gunes – viola
  • Mick Guzauski – mixing
  • Reggie Hamilton – bass
  • Dawn Hannay – viola
  • Andre Harris – composer, mixing
  • David Ryan Harris – guitar
  • James Harris – composer
  • Leon Haywood – composer
  • Steve Hodge – engineer, mixing
  • John Horesco IV – assistant
  • O'Shea Jackson – composer
  • Randy Jackson – bass, bass guitar, percussion, producer
  • Jimmy Jam – guitar, instrumentation, producer
  • Eric Johnson – acoustic guitar
  • Just Blaze – instrumentation, producer
  • Suzie Katayama – cello, string contractor
  • Gimel "Young Guru" Katon – mixing
  • Steve Kempster – string mixing, track engineer
  • Peter Kent – string quartet, strings
  • Kevin G. – engineer
  • Ann Kim – violin
  • Lisa Kim – violin
  • Myung Hi Kim – violin
  • Melissa Kleinbart – violin
  • Soohyun Kwon – violin
  • Trevor Lawrence – composer, drum programming
  • Jeanne LeBlanc – cello
  • John Lemkuhi – percussion, sound Design
  • Ken Lewis – mixing
  • Terry Lewis – composer, guitar, instrumentation, producer
  • Theodore Life – composer
  • Liza Lim – violin
  • Trey Lorenz – background vocals
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Mario Deleon – strings
  • Rob Mathes – conductor, string arrangements
  • Jeremy McCoy – bass
  • Melanie Daniels – background vocals
  • Colin Miller – engineer
  • Ann Mincieli – assistant engineer
  • Tadd Mingo – assistant engineer
  • John D. Mitchell – drum programming
  • Bill Molina – engineer
  • Billy Odum – guitar
  • William Odum – guitar
  • Tim Olmstead – assistant engineer
  • Suzanne Ornstein – violin
  • Alyssa Park – string quartet, strings
  • Sara Parkins – string quartet, strings
  • John Patitucci – bass
  • Kelly Price – singing, background vocals
  • Michelle Richards – string quartet, strings
  • Steve Richards – cello, strings
  • Alexander Richbourg – drum programming, vocal programming
  • Robert Rinehart – viola
  • Tom Rosenthal – viola
  • Jeff Rothschild – assistant engineer
  • Laura Seaton – violin
  • 7 Aurelius – composer, producer, programming
  • Andrew Sherman – piano
  • Jaime Sickora – assistant engineer
  • Dexter Simmons – mixing
  • Fiona Simon – violin
  • Carl "Butch" Small – percussion
  • John Smeltz – engineer, mixing
  • Dan Smith – cello, strings
  • Daniel Smith – cello
  • Justin Smith – composer
  • Lloyd Smith – composer
  • Xavier Smith – assistant, assistant engineer
  • Jay Spears – assistant engineer, digital editing
  • Brian Springer – engineer
  • Brian Sumner – assistant engineer
  • Phil Tan – engineer, mixing
  • Mary Ann Tatum – background vocals
  • Lesa Terry – string quartet, strings
  • Michael Thompson – guitar, classical guitar, steel guitar
  • Jeremy Turner – cello
  • German Villacorta – assistant engineer
  • Seth Waldman – assistant engineer
  • Dexter Wansel – composer
  • Norman Whitfield – composer
  • Pete Willis – composer
  • Evan Wilson – viola
  • John Wittenberg – string quartet, strings
  • Mary Wooten – cello
  • Jason Wormer – assistant engineer
  • James "Big Jim" Wright – composer, producer
  • Sharon Yamada – violin
  • Jung Sun Yoo – violin
  • Bradley Yost – assistant engineer
  • Damion Young – composer
  • Antony Zeller – assistant engineer

Recording locations

Recording locations are adapted from Charmbracelet liner notes.[131]

  • Capri Digital Studios (Capri, Italy)
  • Capro Studio (Capri, Italy)
  • Compass Point Studios (Nassau, Bahamas)
  • Enterprise 2 Studios (Los Angeles, California)
  • Flyte Tyme Studio (Edina, Minnesota)
  • Henson Studio (Los Angeles, California)
  • Quad Recording (New York, New York)
  • Right Track Studios (New York, New York)
  • SouthSide Studios (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Studio Atlantis (Los Angeles, California)
  • The Record Plant (Los Angeles, California)
  • The Studio (Philadelphia, Philadelphia)
  • The Village Recorder (Los Angeles, California)
  • The Womb (Los Angeles, California)
  • Westlake Audio (Los Angeles, California)
  • Zac Recording (Atlanta, Georgia)

Charts and certifications

Charts

Chart (2002–04) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[57] 42
Austrian Albums Chart[59] 34
Belgian Flanders Albums Chart[75] 48
Belgian Walloon Albums Chart[76] 28
Canadian Albums Chart[55] 30
Dutch Albums Chart[72] 30
French Albums Chart[60] 12
German Albums Chart[73] 32
Japanese Albums Chart[65] 4
Swedish Albums Chart[74] 50
Swiss Albums Chart[68] 9
UK Albums Chart[70] 52
US Billboard 200 [52] 3
US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums [52] 2

Year-end charts

Chart (2003) Position
French Albums Chart[132] 121
US Billboard 200[133] 61

Certifications

Country Provider Certification
Brazil ABDP Gold [77]
Canada CRIA Gold [56]
France SNEP Gold[61]
Hong Kong IFPI Gold[78]
Japan RIAJ Platinum[67]
Switzerland IFPI Gold[69]
United Kingdom BPI Gold[71]
United States RIAA Platinum[53]

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Works cited

  • Halstead, Craig; Cadman, Chris (2003), Michael Jackson the Solo Years, United Kingdom: Authors On Line Ltd, ISBN 0755200918 

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