The Emancipation of Mimi

The Emancipation of Mimi
Studio album by Mariah Carey
Released March 30, 2005 (2005-03-30)
Recorded 2004
Genre R&B, soul, hip hop, pop
Length 50:10
Label Island
Producer Mariah Carey (executive), Antonio "L.A." Reid (executive), Mark Sudack (executive), Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, Bryan-Michael Cox, Swizz Beatz, LRoc, James "Big Jim" Wright, The Neptunes, Kanye West, James Poyser, Rodney Jerkins
Mariah Carey chronology
  • The Emancipation of Mimi
  • (2005)
Singles from The Emancipation of Mimi
  1. "It's like That"
    Released: January 25, 2005
  2. "We Belong Together"
    Released: March 29, 2005
  3. "Shake It Off"
    Released: July 25, 2005
  4. "Get Your Number"
    Released: October 3, 2005
  5. "Don't Forget About Us"
    Released: December 12, 2005
  6. "Say Somethin'"
    Released: March 2006

The Emancipation of Mimi is the tenth studio album by American recording artist Mariah Carey, released in the United States on April 12, 2005, by Island Records. Following the relatively poor critical and commercial responses to her albums, Glitter (2001) and Charmbracelet (2002), The Emancipation of Mimi became Carey's highest-selling release in nearly a decade. Critics called The Emancipation of Mimi as Carey's "comeback" album. A number of artists are attributed with writing and production credits, including Jermaine Dupri, Snoop Dogg, Twista, Nelly, Pharrell Williams and James "Big Jim" Wright. Most of these artists also appear as featured guests on various tracks.

The album revealed a more intimate side of the singer, as seen in its declarative theme of emancipation from her personal and commercial setbacks. Although it shared similar vocal production with her previous works and an inclination towards her signature ballads, the album encompassed a variety of dance-oriented and uptempo styles that were in keeping with its celebratory aesthetics. Critics noted the album's pervading theme of independence and lack of restraint, and dubbed it a "party record". In contrast to the pop and adult contemporary music styles that framed her previous releases, the album showcased a wider range of genres, exploring hip-hop and a variety of R&B-related styles such as 1970s retro gospel and soul.

The Emancipation of Mimi received generally positive reception, as many critics called it Carey's best vocal performance in years. Several reviewers had questioned Carey's vocal abilities in Charmbracelet, in which they found her voice to be airy, thin, and damaged. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with opening week sales of 404,000 copies, the highest first-week sales of Carey's career at the time. It opened in the top five on the albums chart in Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, and Japan, as well as on the European chart. The Emancipation of Mimi finished as the best-selling album of 2005 in the United States, and the second-best seller around the world. As of April 2008, it had sold over 12 million copies worldwide.

Carey had international success with the first two singles commissioned from the album. "It's like That" became one of Carey's highest-charting songs in years, reaching the top twenty in several countries. "We Belong Together", the album's second single, topped the singles chart in the United States, where it accumulated 14 total weeks at number one, and was later named "song of the decade" by Billboard. Additionally, it reached number one in Australia and New Zealand, and achieved top-five places in several European countries. To promote the album, Carey performed at the 48th annual Grammy Awards, where she received the only standing ovation of the evening, and the 33rd American Music Awards. Throughout 2006, Carey embarked on her sixth concert tour, The Adventures of Mimi.

Contents

Background

Context

"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."[1]

Prior to the release of her ninth studio album, Charmbracelet, Carey had experienced a year of critical, commercial, and personal troubles, following the poor reception of her debut film Glitter (2001) and her subsequent hospitalization.[2] Glitter was panned by critics and earned less than eight million dollars at the box office.[3][4] The soundtrack for the film fared slightly better, spawning a top-two single in the United States, and has sold over two million units worldwide.[5] Carey made a controversial appearance on Total Request Live, in which she gave out ice cream to fans and demonstrated "erratic" behavior.[2][6] After posting a troubling letter on her official site, Carey checked into a hospital in Connecticut, citing an "emotional and physical breakdown".[6] Following the film and soundtrack's poor performance, Virgin Records bought out Carey's unprecedented $100-million recording contract. They paid her $50 million to part ways.[3] Carey flew to Capri, Italy, after her two-week hospitalization.[4] During her five-month stay, she began writing and producing material for a new studio album, using some of the experiences she had gone through in recent months as themes for the albums material.[6] After being signed by Island Records and starting her own imprint, MonarC Entertainment, Carey geared up for her intended "comeback" release, Charmbracelet.[4] 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 claimed she was no longer capable of the same degree of vocal prowess she had exhibited earlier in her career. Three years later, with the release of The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey's critical and commercial popularity surged again; critics called it her true comeback, as well as an emancipation from her two previous albums.[3]

Titling and development

After enduring three years of "carping" from critics, Carey planned out her return to music.[3] In a letter she posted on her official site on November 18, 2004, she revealed that the name of the album would be The Emancipation of Mimi, which is derived from her nickname, "Mimi".[7] She commented that although the album was intended to have a March 2005 release date, she wanted to explain the title because it had leaked out to the media earlier than anticipated.[7] While Carey was recording the album, Island Records executive L.A. Reid learned that people referred to the singer as "Mimi". He told Carey, "I feel your spirit on this record. You should use that name in the title, because that's the fun side of you that people don't get to see – the side that can laugh at the diva jokes, laugh at the breakdown jokes, laugh at whatever they want to say about you and just live life and enjoy it."[4] Carey explained that Mimi is a "very personal nickname" only used by those closest to her, and thus the title meant she was letting her guard down and inviting her fans to be that much closer to her.[4] It was "just one of those little things that I've kept for myself in an attempt to have some delineation between a public persona and a private life."[8] She later revealed how she thought it would be "obnoxious" to title her album The Emancipation of Mariah Carey.[4]

Jennifer Vineyard of MTV noted that The Emancipation of Mimi was intended to do what Charmbracelet did not: it would be her "post-breakdown, post-Glitter, comeback."[4] After initial reports that "Say Somethin'", featuring rapper Snoop Dogg, would be the album's lead single, television personality and radio host DJ Envy commented, "I think she's gonna do the same thing she did last year and go more hip-hop and less mainstream. She should keep it mainstream and just do a remix or something or this won't work."[9] According to Envy, while Carey has a solid core audience, "her relevance to the general public hinges on whether she makes music that has to be heard."[9] Critic Andre Meyer of CBS News thought the material was "stronger", and called the album a move in Carey's long-term plan for pop domination, while giving off the "jittery R&B vibe that made Destiny’s Child so potent."[3] He went on to say that "Mariah has returned to singing – while still pushing the limits of good taste with her barely there outfits."[3]

Writing and recording

By November 2004, Carey had already recorded several songs for the album.[10] Reid suggested that she compose a few more strong singles to ensure the project's commercial success.[10] On Reid's recommendation, Carey met with Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta for a brief studio session, as she had written some of her best work with him.[10] During this two-day trip, the duo wrote and produced "Shake It Off" and "Get Your Number", which were released as the album's third and fourth singles.[10] (Following this recording session, "Shake It Off" was briefly selected as the album's lead single, replacing the originally-planned "Say Somethin'".[10]) Carey later returned to Atlanta for a second meeting with Dupri; during this trip, Carey and Dupri penned the last two songs to be included on the album, "We Belong Together" and "It's like That".[10] In an interview with Billboard, Carey described her sentiments regarding "It's Like That" during the production stage:

I had the chills. I had a great feeling about it when we finished writing the song, and I was flying back from Atlanta at some crazy hour of the morning ... But we were listening to it on the plane ride on the way home, and even from the demo version, I really felt something very special.[11]

Carey and her management then decided to release "It's like That", which Carey called "the right fire-starter", as the album's lead single.[10] "I am so grateful I went to Atlanta," Carey later reminisced about her experience with Dupri. "And I have to say, we wrote some of my favorite songs on the album. I'm so proud of Jermaine – he's so focused, and he knew what had to be done."[10] In an interview with MTV, Carey said, "The album is not about making the older executives happy by making a bring-down-the-house, tearjerker ballad, or [something] steeped in the media dramas of my life. What I tried to do was keep the sessions very sparse, underproduced, like in '70s soul music ... "[12]

Composition

Structure and style

Carey described The Emancipation of Mimi as her most most expressive album to that point; in her words, it signified her creative freedom, as she was oppressed by the expectations of record executives in the past.[13] The album's motif of professional and cultural emancipation is demonstrated throughout various songs.[13] Many feature Carey's "lack of restraint", while incorporating several examples of musical diversity not featured on Charmbracelet.[14] The latter harbored on reviving Carey's popularity among the adult contemporary audience, following her decline with Glitter, which found the singer experimenting with sampled 1980s melodies.[15] While featuring a selection of ballads similar to those on Charmbracelet, they drew influence from R&B and hip-hop, and were composed at an elevated tempo.[16] According to Dimitri Ehrlich, an editor from Vibe, the album includes multiple musical facets:

Mimi pulls Carey in two opposite directions. Most of the tracks find her paired with the hottest hip-hop producers of the day; there, she exercises restraint and settles into a groove. But on the rest, she does what comes most naturally to her-belting to her heart's desire, perhaps to mollify those who don't care much for her detours into raunchier rap territory.[16]

The Emancipation of Mimi included a variety of tempos and genres not found on her previous release; Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune felt the album effectively combined "elements of hip-hop and rhythm and blues into pop songs that appeal to a broad cross-section of listeners." [17] The Houston Chronicle's Joey Guerra noted the album's pervading formula; a mixture of "flirty club jams and sing-along ballads. A dash of kitsch. A sprinkling of guest rappers."[18] Aside from the album's ballads and uptempo numbers, The Emancipation of Mimi incorporated elements of soul and 1970s inspired genres, evident on the gospel-tinged closing track.[19] While most tracks deduce their instrumentation from live bands and musical instruments, some of the uptempo songs featured computerized arrangements and synthesizers.[20] Stylistically, critics considered the album Carey's most diverse record in years, one that highlighted a range of different production choices and techniques.[21]

Songs and lyrics

The Emancipation of Mimi's first song, "It's Like That", was written and produced by Carey and Jermaine Dupri. The song features hand claps, whistles, ad-libs and verses from Dupri and Fat Man Scoop. A strong bassline and chord progression are aligned with piano and string notes.[22] Its lyrics chronicle Carey's celebration of her emancipation: "I came to have a party / Open off that Bacardi ... Purple taking me higher / I'm lifted and I like it."[22] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised the song's lyrics and strong beat, saying the song prepares listeners for the album's "party theme".[23] "We Belong Together", the album's second track and second single, was also composed by Carey and Dupri. The song, a "broken-hearted lament for love",[16] features finger-snaps, kick drums, and a strong piano-driven melody.[16] Carey composed the jazz-influenced gospel ballad "Fly Like a Bird" with James Wright.[24][25] The lyrics are in the form of a prayer that conveys a message of unconditional love from God.[25][26] The song features a recording of Carey's deceased pastor, Clarence Keaton, reading two Bible verses,[23] along with a full range of gospel background vocalists during the song's climax.[22] Throughout the song's gospel-influenced crescendo, Carey's vocals enters the whistle register.[22] Carey also wrote the song "Say Somethin'", which features rap verses from Snoop Dogg and production by The Neptunes. Ehrlich described the song as "a musical oddity" featuring "strange instrumentation, weird melodic shifts, hectic drum patterns and a bed of synths."[16] In the song, the protagonist comes on to a love interest with the line "If it's worth your while, do something good to me." In Snoop Dogg's verse, the man invites his love interest to "get buckwild" in a restroom.[16] According to Jozen Cummings of PopMatters, the song's lyrics describe "a shy woman who doesn't need to say anything at all to get a man's attention."[22]

Carey wrote "Mine Again" alongside producer James Poyser. The ballad features electronic keyboard notes and a rhythmic vinyl sound while incorporating melodies from gospel and R&B genres.[16] "Stay the Night" features production from Carey and Kanye West, and samples a piano loop from Ramsey Lewis's "Betcha by Golly, Wow" (1971).[22] Lyrically, it features the protagonist facing the dilemma of spending the night with an ex-flame who now belongs to someone else.[22] "Get Your Number" was written and produced by Carey and Dupri, and features the latter as a musical guest on the track. The song samples the hook from British band Imagination's "Just an Illusion" (1982),[27] and derives its production from "'80s-esque synthesizers" and several computerized musical instruments.[22][28] Lawrence Ferber from the Windy City Times described "Shake It Off" as a "playful approach to bitterness—and, more specifically, a cheatin' bad apple", with lyrics like 'I gotta shake you off / Just like a Calgon commercial'.[25] In an interview with Ferber, Carey described the song as her favorite from The Emancipation of Mimi: "Shake it off can apply to anything. Whatever personal dramas we go through, put that song on and you lose the anxiety or intensity of the moment. I'll listen to that song when I've just come out of an annoying meeting. I gotta shake this off."[25] Editor Jon Pareles from The New York Times felt that the album followed a formula that was obvious on "Shake It Off": "On this album, the verses stay in a narrow range, the choruses glide higher, and at the ends of some songs, Ms. Carey gives herself a few of her old sky-high notes as a background flourish."[29]

Release

The Emancipation of Mimi was released in Mexico on March 30, 2005.[30] Available in digital download and physical CD format, it was shipped through The Island Def Jam Music Group.[30] On April 4, 2005, the album was released to the public in Australia[31] and New Zealand[32] and throughout most European countries. In the United Kingdom, The Emancipation of Mimi was released through Mercury Records.[33] The following day, thew album was transported to record vendors in Canada through the Universal Music Group.[34] On April 12, 2005, it became available in France,[35] Japan[36] and the United States,[37] and was released on May 11, 2005 in China.[38] On British and Japanese versions of the album, "Sprung" and "Secretlove" were included as "bonus tracks", not available in any other country.[39]

Ultra Platinum Edition

A new edition of The Emancipation of Mimi, called the Ultra Platinum Edition, was released on November 15, 2005, to accompany the premiere of Carey's new single, "Don't Forget About Us".[40] The album was released in two versions. The first was a CD with four bonus tracks: "Don't Forget About Us" (co-written and co-produced by Carey with Jermaine Dupri), the album's only single; "Makin' It Last All Night (What It Do)", featuring Dupri; the "We Belong Together" remix, featuring American rappers Styles P and Jadakiss; and a new version of the 2006 single "So Lonely" by American rapper Twista (which originally featured Carey), in which Carey sings an additional verse.[40] The second version of the album was a limited-edition set of the CD plus a DVD of music videos. The DVD included the videos from The Emancipation of Mimi that had so far been released ("It's Like That", "We Belong Together", "Shake It Off", and "Get Your Number"), along with the then-recently shot video for "Don't Forget About Us".[40] The album marked the first domestic release of the video for "Get Your Number", which had previously been released only in Europe.[40]

Singles

Carey performing "Fly Like a Bird" on Good Morning America

"It's Like That" was released as the album's lead single on January 7, 2005. The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics; Ehrlich described it as "catchy and infectious"—a song that would re-ignite Carey's popularity among MTV viewers.[16][20] It became her highest-charting song in years, peaking at number sixteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.[41] "It's Like That" debuted and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart, and reached the top ten in Australia, Italy, and Switzerland, and the top twenty in France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark.[42][43] "We Belong Together", the album's second single, became one of the biggest hits of Carey's career. Critics acclaimed the song's strong vocals towards the climax;[44][45][46] Cinquemani wrote "The Voice has indeed returned."[47] It became Carey's sixteenth chart topper in the United States, spending fourteen weeks atop the Hot 100, the longest stay of the 2000s and her second longest after "One Sweet Day" (1996), which spent a record sixteen weeks atop the chart.[47] As well as breaking various Nielsen BDS records, the song was name the "most successful song of the 2000s decade" by Billboard.[48][49] "We Belong Together" topped the chart in Australia and the Netherlands, and attained a top five peak in Denmark, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.[50][51]

"Shake It Off" was the third single released from The Emancipation of Mimi. The song peaked at number two on the Hot 100, being barred from the top spot by Carey's previous single, "We Belong Together".[52] It became the first time in Billboard history that a female artist occupied the top two spots on the Hot 100.[52] It was released as a double A-side with "Get Your Number" in the UK and Australia, where it reached the top ten.[53] "Don't Forget About Us" was the album's fourth official release, the first from the album's re-release, the Ultra Platinum Edition.[54] The song became Carey's seventeenth chart topper in the United States, tying her with Elvis Presley for the most number one singles by a solo artist (a record she surpassed in 2008 with "Touch My Body").[54] "Say Somethin'" was released as the album's fifth single in the US, at the same time as "Fly Like a Bird" was released as a promotional single.[24] It peaked outside the top forty on the Hot 100 and reached the top forty in Australia and the United Kingdom.[41] "Fly Like a Bird" was released as the album's sixth and final single. It was released to US urban and urban adult contemporary radio stations, while "Say Somethin'" was released to pop and rhythmic radio stations.[24] "Fly Like a Bird" did not chart on the main Billboard chart, but it reached number four on Billboards Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which represents the twenty-five songs above the Hot 100's number 100 position.[55] It peaked at number nineteen on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and topped the Hot Adult R&B Airplay.[24][56]

Other charting songs

"Mine Again" was not released as a single in the US in 2005, but peaked at number 73 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart due to high sales and limited airplay.[57] Similarly, "So Lonely" was never officially released, but reached number 65 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart due to limited airplay on certain R&B stations.[58]

Promotion

Carey performing "We Belong Together" live on Good Morning America

Following the release of "It's Like That", Carey embarked on several stateside, European, and Asian promotional tours in support of The Emancipation of Mimi and its accompanying singles. Promotion for the song began at the 2005 Echo Awards, where Carey opened the ceremony with a live rendition of the song.[59] Two days later, she performed the song on the German game show Wetten, dass..?.[60] In the United Kingdom, Carey filmed a two-part appearance on the British music program Top of the Pops, performing "It's like That", "We Belong Together", and "Shake It Off".[60] Additional European and Asia appearances included an interview on the French talk show Le Grand Journal, and a performance of "We Belong Together" on Music Station in Japan.[60] Carey launched the stateside release of the album on Good Morning America with an interview and a five-piece outdoor concert.[61] The concert, taking place in Times Square and attracting the largest crowd to the plaza since the 2004 New Year's Eve celebration, featured the first three singles from the album in addition to "Fly Like a Bird" and "Make It Happen" (1991).[62][63] The following week, she performed "We Belong Together" at the 2005 BET Awards, with an additional appearance at the annual VH1 Save the Music special, filmed live on April 17 at the Beacon Theatre.[64][65] In front of a live audience of over 3,000, she began a three-piece set with a performance of "It's Like That", featuring special guests Jermaine Dupri and Fat Man Scoop.[66] Next, Carey and R&B singer John Legend sang the 1979 duet "With You I'm Born Again",[63] before she closed the live broadcast with a cover of The Jackson 5 classic, "I'll Be There" with Trey Lorenz.[63] Throughout the month of May, Carey performed "We Belong Together" on the Late Show with David Letterman (May 5), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (May 11), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (May 13), which also included a performance of "It's Like That".[64][67] Carey made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show (May 24) which featured a live rendition of "We Belong Together".[64][67] On June 4 she performed at the annual Macy's Fourth of July Parade, singing "America the Beautiful" and the albums first two singles.[68][69] The following week, Carey made a live appearance at the 2005 annual MTV Movie Awards.[70][71] The recital aired on television in black and white format, with Carey—appearing in color—as she performed "We Belong Together" on a white runway-styled stage.[72][73]

On July 2, 2005, Carey took part of the Live 8 benefit concert held in Hyde Park, London.[74] The televised event was watched by over 9.6 million British citizens, as well as a live audience of over 200,000.[74][75] Carey performed a three song set-list, opening with "We Belong Together" and "Make It Happen", and followed by "Hero", which featured a live choir of African children.[74][75] On August 3, USA Today announced that Carey would be added to the roster of performers at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.[76] The ceremony was held at the American Airlines Arena on August 28 in downtown Miami Beach, Florida, with Carey's performance taking place at the National Hotel in South Beach.[77] Carey, accompanied by Dupri, performed "Shake It Off" and the official remix version of "We Belong Together".[78] Carey was featured as a headlining performer at the 2005 Fashion Rocks, held in Monaco.[79] Following her introduction by Donatella Versace, Carey performed the Peter Rauhofer Remix for "We Belong Together".[80][81] On November 15, 2005, Carey performed "Shake It Off", as well as her newly-released single from the album's re-release, "Don't Forget About Us" during half-time of the Thanksgiving game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons.[82][83] On November 22, 2005, Carey opened the 33rd annual American Music Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, with a performance of "Don't Forget About Us".[84] Dave West from Digital Spy described it as a "blistering performance", and claimed Carey "wowed" the crowd with her live rendition of the song.[85] Two months later, she celebrated the new year on television, placing as the featured performer at the Times Square Ball drop on New Year's Eve in New York.[86] The special, titled Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, aired on ABC at 10 pm on December 31; Carey performed a selection of the album's singles.[87][88] Carey was nominated for eight Grammys in 2006—the most nominations she had ever received in one year.[89] At the 48th Grammy Awards, held on February 8, 2006, Carey returned to the Grammy stage for the first time since 1996.[90] Her performance opened with a pre-taped video in which she discussed the importance of God and religion in her life.[91] Carey then came to the stage, and sang a shortened version of "We Belong Together". Next, Carey's pastor, Clarence Keaton, read a passage from the Bible to open Carey's performance of "Fly Like a Bird", as he did in the studio recording of the song.[92] Midway through the song, a large choir joined Carey for the song's gospel climax.[93] The performance earned the night's only standing ovation,[94] and earned praise from critics.[95][96][97]

Tour

During the tour, Carey focused on providing a balance between songs from her existing catalog and introducing her newer songs and 'Mimi' persona. The photo shows a stage prop with the word 'MIMI' on it, the logo used throughout the tour.[98]

In support of the album, Carey embarked on her first headlining tour in three years, named The Adventures of Mimi: The Voice, The Hits, The Tour after a "Carey-centric fan's" music diary.[98][99][100][101] The tour spanned forty stops, with thirty-two in the United States and Canada, two in Africa, and six in Japan.[102][103][104] Tickets for the tour went on sale on June 2, 2006, with prices ranging from $95 to $150 USD. The tour featured Carey's long-time friend Randy Jackson as musical director.[105][106] Carey's performances consisted of songs from her catalog and her newest singles.[107] In an interview with the Associated Press, Carey described the tour's direction, as well as the music she would perform:

With this tour, I'm going to be working on some different arrangements for some of the older songs, to ... give it a little more life to them. That's not to say they're going to sound totally different and to freak anybody out ... I love re-singing songs to different music. I genuinely want to tour with these new songs, as well as older hits. These new songs mean so much to me, this time of my life has been so wonderful for me, and I want to experience that with my fans.[98]

The tour received a warm critical reaction from music critics and concert goers, many of whom celebrated the quality of Carey's live vocals, as well as the show as a whole.[108][109] However, critics felt the show's excesses, such as Carey's frequent costume changes and pre-filmed clips, were unnecessary distractions.[108] The tours largest audiences were in Tunis, where Carey played to over 60,000 fans during the span of two shows.[104]

Midway through the tour, Carey booked a two-night concert engagement in Hong Kong, which was scheduled to take place following her Japanese shows.[110] The shows were cancelled, however, after tickets went on sale. According to Carey's then-manager Benny Medina, the cancellation was due to the concert promoter's refusal to pay Carey her agreed-upon compensation.[110] The promoter blamed poor ticket sales (allegedly, only 4,000 tickets had sold) and "Carey's outrageous demands".[111][112] Medina later disputed the promoter's ticket sales figure, saying that 8,000 tickets had sold. He said Carey would have performed as long as she was compensated, regardless of attendance.[111] Carey ultimately sued the promoter, claiming $1 million in damages for the concert's abrupt cancellation.[112]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (64/100)[113]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[114]
Billboard (Favorable)[46]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[26]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[115]
Los Angeles Times 2/4 stars[116]
The New York Times (Favorable)[29]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[117]
Stylus Magazine (B-)[28]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[23]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[118]

Reviews

The Emancipation of Mimi was Carey's best-received album in years. It received a 64/100 (indicating "generally positive reviews") on the website Metacritic, which averages professional reviews into a numerical score.[113] Stephen Thomas Erlewine, senior editor of Allmusic, called the album a "highly crafted piece of dance-pop" and a "relative comeback" for Carey, despite its not being as smooth as it should be.[114] Aside from the praise, Erlewine voiced a common criticism of the album: Carey's voice seems "damaged" in comparison with her "glory years" in the 1990s.[114] He commented that in the strong and belted songs such as "Fly Like a Bird" and "I Wish You Knew", Carey's voice sounded "as airy, thin, and damaged as it did on Charmbracelet".[114] Michael Paoletta from Billboard was less critical of her vocals, writing "while her voice has lost some of the power through the years, Mim deftly showcases her still-considerable pipes with strong lyrics and slick production."[46] Paoletta called The Emancipation of Mimi Carey's best album since Butterfly (1997).[46] Michael Dougall Bell from the Calgary Sun complimented Carey's voice, calling it "very impressive".[119] Bell concluded the review, writing "While Emancipation may not send Carey's stock or star back up to where it once was and where that voice deserves to be, at least she's not plummeting – she's merely levelled off."[119] Tom Sinclair, editor of Entertainment Weekly, praised her vocals, pointing out how nearly every song "showcases Carey's undeniable vocal strengths".[26] After reviewing "Fly Like a Bird", Sinclair concluded the review with "It's so moving that we'll resist the temptation to be crass and interpret the song as a plea for heightened record sales. Help from above is always welcome, but Emancipation sounds like it just might do fine all on its own."[26]

According to Jenson Macey from BBC News, The Emancipation of Mimi was Carey's strongest effort from the 2000s; he maintained that the album "took her straight back to the top of the A-List."[120] Caroline Sullivan from The Guardian gave the album four out of five stars, calling it "cool, focused and urban."[115] Editor of The New York Times, Jon Pareles, gave The Emancipation of Mimi a favorable review, complimenting the fact that Carey wrote all of the album's material. He felt the record's new sound was fresh and innovative. He continued, "on The Emancipation of Mimi, she disciplines herself into coherence, using fewer tricks and sounding more believable. She also finds what lesser singers can take for granted: a certain lightness that eases her constant sense of control."[29] Jozen Cummings from PopMatters gave the album seven out of ten stars, claiming it to be Carey's redemption from the manacles of her previous two releases.[22] He complimented the album's singles, but called some of its production "corny" and "unnecessarily overproduced".[22] Todd Burns from Stylus Magazine gave the album a B-, complimenting its assortment of beats and tempos.[28] Burns, however, was very critical of some of The Neptunes and Dupri's production, calling it "ill-advised".[28] He also criticized some of Carey's vocals, calling them "strained, thin and airy". While claiming it an obvious improvement over her previous releases of the decade, he finished with "It’s easily the strongest album that she’s made in this millennium, but suffers from the fact that her vocals have deteriorated—a simple fact of the ravages that her voice has undergone in the past fifteen years."[28] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine gave The Emancipation of Mimi three and a half out of five stars, calling it "redemption". He complimented its array of beats and its production.[23] While giving the album a positive review, Cinquemani was critical of Carey's voice, calling it scratchy. "Where once Mariah's trademark high notes used to serve some purpose, they now seem random, existing just to convince us that The Voice is still there—and it is ... kind of. As gratifying as that is on the surface, there's still the nagging feeling that Mariah has damaged her voice beyond repair."[23]

Awards and nominations

Carey was nominated for ten Grammy Awards throughout 2006–07.

Apart from its critical and commercial success, The Emancipation of Mimi received a number of awards and award nominations. The album earned ten Grammy Award nominations in 2006–07: eight in 2006 for the original release (the most received by Carey in a single year),[121] and two in 2007 for the Ultra Platinum Edition. In 2006 Carey won "Best Contemporary R&B Album" for The Emancipation of Mimi, as well as "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" and "Best R&B Song" for "We Belong Together".[121] Carey was nominated for, but did not win, "Album of the Year" (The Emancipation of Mimi), "Record of the Year" ("We Belong Together"), "Song of the Year" ("We Belong Together"), "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" ("It's Like That"), and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("Mine Again").[121] In 2007 "Don't Forget About Us" was nominated for "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" and "Best R&B Song", winning neither.[122]

The Emancipation of Mimi won the 2005 Soul Train Awards for "Best R&B/Soul Album" and "Best Female R&B/Soul Album", and the 2005 Vibe Award for "Album of the Year".[123][124] Rolling Stone ranked the album number 43 on its 2005 list of the year's best albums,[125] and Entertainment Weekly ranked it 21 on their list of the "Top 100 Best Albums of the past 25 years".[126] The song "We Belong Together" won a Teen Choice Award,[127] a World Music Award,[128] two Billboard Music Awards,[129][130] two Radio Music Awards,[131] and three Bambi Awards.[132] "Shake It Off" and "Don't Forget About Us" won two additional Bambis.[132] After Carey received the Bambi in recognition of over 100,000 units of The Emancipation of Mimi in Germany, there was heavy media attention when the award was stolen from Carey's dressing room.[131]

Commercial performance

The Emancipation of Mimi became Carey's most commercially successful album of the 2000s. In its first week of release in the United States, it debuted atop the Billboard 200 with over 404,000 copies sold, the highest first-week sales in Carey's career, until E=MC², which opened with 463,000 in 2008.[133] It became her fifth number-one album in the country and her third album to debut at number one.[134] It remained inside the top ten for for several months before dropping to number eleven on September 28, 2005.[135] The album remained in the top twenty for thirty-one consecutive weeks. It returned to the top five after the release of the Ultra Platinum Edition, which helped the album rebound to number four, with sales of 185,000 units.[136] The Emancipation of Mimi was the best-selling album in the United States in 2005, with nearly five million units sold. In the last full week of the year, the album outsold 50 Cent's The Massacre, which had been released over six weeks earlier.[137] It was the first album by a solo female artist to become the year's best-selling album since Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill in 1996.[138] It became Carey's highest-selling album in the United States since Daydream (1995), which shipped ten million copies and received a diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[139] Ten months after its release, the album was certified six-times platinum by the RIAA, denoting shipments of over six million copies. As of August 2010, stateside sales of the album are estimated at over 5,941,000.[140]

The Emancipation of Mimi entered the Australian Albums Chart on April 17, 2005, at number thirteen.[141] The following week, it peaked at number six, where it spent one week. The album spent a total of forty-six weeks on the chart.[141] It was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), and finished number twenty-seven on the End of Year Chart.[142][143] In Canada The Emancipation of Mimi debuted and peaked at number two on the Canadian Albums Chart, with first-week sales of 11,000 units.[134][144] The album was certified triple platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), denoting shipments of over 300,000 units.[145][146] The Emancipation of Mimi debuted at number seven on the UK Albums Chart dated April 6, 2005.[147] On July 23, fourteen weeks after its debut, the album once again reached its peak position of number seven.[148] After one re-entry, the album spent a combined forty-three weeks in the albums chart, being certified double-platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The album has sales of over 621,352 copies as of early 2008.[149][150] In France the album debuted at its peak position of number four on April 9, 2005.[151] The record spent a total of fifty-one weeks in the chart, and was certified gold by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP).[152] Eight months after its release in Europe, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) certified The Emancipation of Mimi platinum, denoting shipments of over one million units throughout the continent.[153] In Hong Kong it was awarded a Gold Disc Award, which is issued to the top ten best-selling foreign albums each year.[154] It debuted at number two on the Japanese Albums Chart, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ).[155][156] At the end of 2005, the IFPI reported that The Emancipation of Mimi had sold more than 7.7 million copies globally, and was the second best-selling album of the year, after Coldplay's X&Y. It was the best-selling album worldwide by a solo and female artist.[157][158] As of April 2008, The Emancipation of Mimi has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.[159]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "It's Like That"   Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, Johnta Austin Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal 3:23
2. "We Belong Together"   Carey, Dupri, Seal, Austin, Darnell Bristol, Kenneth Edmonds, Sidney DeWayne, Bryan-Michael Cox, Bobby Womack, Patrick Moten, Sandra Sully Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal 3:21
3. "Shake It Off"   Carey, Dupri, Cox, Austin Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox 3:52
4. "Mine Again"   Carey, James Poyser Mariah Carey, James Poyser 4:01
5. "Say Somethin'" (featuring Snoop Dogg) Carey, Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, Calvin Broadus The Neptunes 3:44
6. "Stay the Night"   Carey, Kanye West, Thom Bell, Linda Creed Mariah Carey, Kanye West 3:57
7. "Get Your Number" (featuring Jermaine Dupri) Carey, Dupri, James Phillips, Cox, Austin, Leslie John, Ashley Ingram, Steve Jolley, Tony Swain Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, LRoc 3:15
8. "One and Only" (featuring Twista) Carey, Samuel Lindley, Carl Mitchell Mariah Carey, The Legendary Traxster 3:14
9. "Circles"   Carey, James Wright Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright 3:30
10. "Your Girl"   Carey, Mark Shemer Mariah Carey, Scram Jones 2:46
11. "I Wish You Knew"   Carey, Wright Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright 3:34
12. "To the Floor" (featuring Nelly) Carey, Williams, Hugo, Cornell Haynes The Neptunes 3:27
13. "Joy Ride"   Carey, Jeffery Grier, Eric Cire Mariah Carey, Young Genius 4:03
14. "Fly Like a Bird"   Carey, Wright Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright 3:52

Credits and personnel

Credits for The Emancipation of Mimi are adapted from the album's liner notes.[162]

Charts and certifications

Album charts (main entry)
Chart Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[141] 6
Austrian Albums Chart[163] 19
Belgian Flandres Albums Chart[164] 31
Belgian Wallonia Albums Chart[164] 26
Canadian Albums Chart[165] 2
Danish Albums Chart[166] 2
Dutch Albums Chart[167] 8
European Albums Chart[168] 4
French Albums Chart[151] 4
German Albums Chart[169] 14
Greek International Albums Chart[170] 2
Irish Albums Chart[171] 18
Italian Albums Chart[172] 15
Japanese Albums Chart[155] 2
New Zealand Albums Chart[173] 12
Polish Albums Chart[174] 22
Portuguese Albums Chart[175] 25
Spanish Albums Chart[176] 15
Swedish Albums Chart[177] 32
Swiss Albums Chart[178] 9
UK Albums Chart[147] 7
US Billboard 200[165] 1
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[165] 1
Album charts (end of year)
End of year chart (2005) Position
Australian Albums Chart[179] 27
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[180] 94
Dutch Albums Chart[181] 47
French Albums Chart[182] 48
German Albums Chart[183] 77
Japanese Albums Chart[184] 61
New Zealand Albums Chart[185] 42
Swiss Albums Chart[186] 78
UK Albums Chart[187] 31
US Billboard 200[188] 4
Worldwide Charts[157] 2
Album charts (end-of-decade)
End of decade chart (2000–2009) Position
US Billboard 200[189] 27
Album certifications
Country (Provider) Certification
(sales thresholds)
Australia (ARIA) Platinum[142]
Brazil (ABPD) Gold[190]
Canada (CRIA) 3× Platinum[145][146]
Europe (IFPI) Platinum[153]
France (SNEP) Gold[152]
Hong Kong (IFPI) Gold[154]
Japan (RIAJ) Platinum[191]
Netherlands (NVPI) Gold[192]
New Zealand (RIANZ) Platinum[193]
United Kingdom (BPI) 2× Platinum[150]
United States (RIAA) 6× Platinum[139]
Singles charts
Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
US
[194]
US R&B
[195]
AUS
[196]
CAN
[197]
FRA
[198]
GER
[169]
NL
[199]
NZ
[200]
SWI
[201]
UK
[147]
2005 "It's Like That" 16 17 9 16 14 26 21 10 4
"We Belong Together" 1 1 1 12 11 2 1 4 2
"Shake It Off" 2 2 6 5 9
"Get Your Number" (featuring Jermaine Dupri) 19 7 10 34 14 9
"Don't Forget About Us" 1 1 12 41 32 12 19 11
2006 "Say Somethin'" (featuring Snoop Dogg) 79 26 63 55 27
"—" denotes a title that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also

  • Best-selling albums by year in the United States

References

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Bibliography

  • Scapolo, Dean (2006), The Complete New Zealand Music Charts 1966–2006, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 187744300X 

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