Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tonite...A DJ Saved My Life

Most Mariah fans will tell you that her 2001 effort, Glitter, was taken for granted in the midst of the film's poor publicity, and commercial failure. That's bullshit; Glitter sucked.

The album had four (four!) singles, and not a single one managed to catch anyone's attention...I seriously can't remember a single one, outside of the awful "Loverboy." Disregarding the wackness that is the song in general, the video is even more of a no 30-something woman should be prancing around a racetrack like a meth-influenced teenager...wearing a bandanna bra no less. "I want a sugar daddy...take me for a ride!" Gross.

But I don't mean to go hard on Mariah, as the fact that she was paid out of her Virgin contract after just one album is insult enough (really..consider the lack of faith that you have to have in an artist to decide that you'd rather spend money on dropping them, rather than take the chance of wasting money on keeping them). Instead, this post is in praise of MiMi's cover of the the 80's classic "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life."

Of Glitter's four singles, this was the last, and it's almost a shame that it wasn't given more attention. Mariah has been blending hip-hop with pop since the mid 90's, and I'll give her credit for taking a risk that most pop artists didn't take until well into the 2000's. That being said, Mariah eventually lost focus..and the authenticity of tracks like "Honey," "Breakdown" and the "Fantasy" remix were eventually compromised for shallow radio-eager fodder like "Heartbreaker" and "Crybaby." But where those tracks desperately sought to please TRL audiences, "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" was dance floor brilliance.

It's difficult to swallow a dance song from Mariah, considering she has the rhythm and stage presence of a hesitant stripper, but for some reason "DJ" works. It's one of the rare occasions where she manages to channel a little bit of funk, without sounding like a straight hood rat ("Speedial connected me to Ray Ray,'s Chante and Mae Mae!"). Instead "DJ" is the sort of dance track Janet would kill for, but couldn't handle nearly as well (that voice has hardly seen any little bit of challenge since Velvet Rope).

"DJ" isn't' about vocal delivery, as Mariah does a wonderful job of restraining her remarkable range in favor of a mellow, causal delivery, that suits the the material perfectly. Instead, the song smartly forgoes vocal acrobatics in favor of 80's superficiality.... barely audible, yet alluring delivery, with production catering exclusively to the cocaine haze of the era. But the song falls just short of becoming too old-school, thanks to a welcomed Fabolous feature. In the end, when Mariah sings "Last night a DJ saved my life from a broken heart," you can't help but to relate, given the feel good vibe radiating from the record.

Fuck "Migrate," "DJ" is Mariah at her club-ready best.

Here's the video for "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life," followed by the embarrassment that is "Loverboy"...cause I'm a Janet Stan..and can't give MiMi too much positive attention.

Mariah got a little bit of booty though...

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