May 6, 2013

Song Review: Mariah Carey's "#Beautiful" (feat. Miguel)

BeyoncĂ© may have modern dance pop cornered, but AwkwardSound has never been one to discount Mariah Carey as the long reigning queen of the crybaby jam. “We Belong 2gether”? Yes, please. The problem in the year 2013 with Carey is that, unlike BeyoncĂ©, who has mastered the art of working the press and social media with both her brand and contagious personality, Carey relies on her legacy of #1s to cast her shadow of relevance on today’s young demo. That just ain’t going to cut it with today’s millennials. AS hates to have to break it to you, Mimi, but you’re not so much the biggest diva in the world right now as much you are the wife of Nick Cannon, the dude 16-year-old girls oggle at in promos in between episodes of Degrassi. You’re the other (and mean) lady who sits opposite Nicki Minaj on arguably the worst season ever of American Idol and throws a side-eye assault into their favorite space age hip-hopper’s general direction.

Last summer, Carey’s comeback single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" (featuring Rick Ross and produced by the not-so-in-demand Jermaine Dupri) bombed upon its release without even so much cracking the Billboard Hot 100. At the age of 43, the diva’s image is in need of a cosmetic makeover for the sake of the kids, and predictably, she's retooled plans for her next album by enlisting an “it” list of trendsetters to collaborate with. Enter Miguel, the red-hot R&B singer and producer whose 2012 breakthrough Kaleidoscope Dream was adored by both pop listeners and a coveted indie crossover, who oxygenates life back into Mariah’s music with her new single “#Beautiful.” What's funny is that Miguel ends up doing a bulk of the heavy lifting on the effort by crooning more than the first half of the xx-ified doo-wop number's vocals, taking the liberty to insert dangerous and sexy cuss words while Mariah breathes and huffs in the background. When Mimi finally arrives fashionably late, her part leaves you wondering who exactly deserves primary credit here and who is actually the "featured" guest. This has radio fodder written all over it regardless thanks to Miguel's marriage of retro pop and minimalist glitter. Yet, as shameless of a social media plug the title is, this track at least shows that Carey is getting back with the times even if it means hitching her worn out wagon onto a much brighter shining star.

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