Mariah Carey – Glitter

As far as hashtags go, there have been few more unfortunately named than #JusticeForGlitter. Only Susan Boyle’s album launch hashtag #susanalbumparty could compare.

This was a campaign put together by Lambs (the collective name for Carey’s fans) to make her soundtrack album Glitter the hit album they felt it should have been on its first release. It was Carey’s eighth and least successful album, but she has always maintained it was merely an accompanying soundtrack to her movie and not an official album release. Check out the streaming sights; you’ll find everything else Mariah has released, except for Glitter. Neither the album or the film were a success, either critically or commercially. So it was probably with mixed feelings for Ms. Carey when the fans tried to bring the album back to life and make it a hit.

So as a fully signed up member of the Lambily, I am bound to be more than a little bit biased. But I enjoyed the movie Glitter. There, I said it. Come on movie snobs, give me your best shots. With an average score of 2.2on IMDB, it’s clearly the film that people love to hate. But part of me feels that the world wanted Mariah to fail in her movie debut. With the diva antics and ‘whistle’ style vocals, she’s obviously not everyone’s cup of tea. But I’m not going to go into the merits of the film. I loved it. The rest of the world hated it. I have no problem with that. It was never going to win an Oscar; something that both myself and no doubt Mariah are over.

But there’s a reason why the Lambily wanted Glitter to have a aecondcrack of the whip. Everyone was too busy slagging the movie off to even remember that there was an album that accompanied it. There were a number of factors that stood in the way of the album and soundtrack being bigger than they were. What the #JusticeForGlitter campaign did was to give Mariah’s Glitter album its own moment in the sun. Of course the haterz are still gon hate. Let’s leave them to it and celebrate Glitter and its merits.

Glitter as an album of course drew musical influences from the movie’s eighties setting. Mariah is no stranger to using those vibes to form part of her music. She’d previously used samples from the era to form the lead singles from both her Daydream and Rainbow albums, so it didn’t feel like too much of a huge shift. Glitter features both covers and samples, amongst others on Loverboy, the first single to be released from the album. The track is built around a sample from Cameo’s Candy, although this was said to be a last minute change. It was initially meant to use a sample from Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Firecracker. Not familiar with the original song? No, me neither. But if you listen to it, it will sound familiar, as it’s used in Jennifer Lopez’s hit I’m Real. Lopez was at the time working with Carey’s ex husband Tommy Mattola. The song was released using the Cameo sample instead and peaked just outside the top ten.

The cover versions work well. If you liked InDeep’s disco hit Last night a DJ saved my life, but it doesn’t have enough Bustah Rhymes shouting over it, then you’re in luck. Carey’s version features Rhymes, along with Fabolous and produced by DJ Clue (who of course, also likes to shout his name a lot). It adds a hip-hop sound to the song whilst still keeping the original feel to the song. Another classic disco hit covered (and is one if the album’s highlights) is Cherrelle’s Didnt mean to turn you on, which sticks more closely to the original style.

There are a few well placed ballads thrown into the mix, including the single Never too far. Mimi is known for her big ballads (minds out if the gutter please) and this single from the album is up there with her best. The emotionally charged video features a performance from the movie and shows us the main reason we loved it. She may not be the greatest actress, but she is one of the greatest musical artists of her time (or ever).

I doubt anyone, Mimi included could have ever predicted that such a long forgotten album could re-emerge in such a triumphant way. Seventeen years after Glitter was condemned to be a pop disaster, it reappeared to make it to the iTunes number one spot. Her latest release Caution was ready for release at the time of the campaign, sono doubt she was more focused on that. It’s testament not only to the timeless quality of her music, but of the love and dedication she has in her fans. What was once considered a joke is now looked upon as a firm fan favourite. If anything we love this album even more because of the struggle it went through to become a hit.

It was a tough time for Mimi. Not only were the movie and soundtrack not initially a success, it also led to her being let go by her label. Then not to mention the personal struggles she went through at the time of the release, meaning a delay in the release of both. Maybe it wasn’t particularly a time in her life she wanted bringing back from the dead, but us Lambs weren’t willing to let it go.

I was at one of her Christmas shows when it all happened. It was clear the joy she felt when talking about the campaign and how it showed the dedication her Lambs had for her. And that’s something she’ll always have; a dedicated team of followers, who’ll defend her every move. If anything, Glitter only proved that even more.

All we need now is for it to filter on to the streaming sights. After all, wouldn’t we all love a bit of Loverboy on our Best of Maria playlists? I know I would.

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