Now that 2014 is in full swing, Mariah Carey is trying to find her way to the top of the charts following the success of “#Beautiful,” which was meant to erase the distant memory of “Triumphant (Get ’Em),” which nearly erased all the good faith “Touch My Body” and “Obsessed” earned the singer when she finally landed back on top of the charts thanks to “We Belong Together.” If you’re noticing a pattern, it’s that nearly every single has been a hit-or-miss attempt to get back to the heyday of Carey’s pre-Glitter days. With “You’re Mine (Eternal)” up to bat, we wanted to look back on all of the ’comeback’ singles that came before it.
“Through The Rain” (2002)
The first of the many “comeback” singles was a color-by-numbers version of a Mariah Carey ballad. Fans responded to the tepid step in kind. It was her first real attempt at the pre-breakdown Carey and it just felt lukewarm. The song peaked at 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 before disappearing all together.
“Boy (I Need You)” (2003)
The second single from Charmbracelet didn’t fair much better than the first. Carey tried to extend the success of Cam’ron’s 2002 hit, “Oh Boy.” However, the song ended up feeling like a lazy attempt for some radio love. Boy, I need you to give us something more original.
“It’s Like That” (2005)
The first single off of The Emancipation of Mimi introduced a restrained Carey proving less is more. The song was a bit of a generic R&B mid-tempo jam but allowed Carey to shine after a couple of stumbles out of her post-Glitter shame. Fans were definitely interested in hearing more. The song was her first top 20 hit in four years.
“We Belong Together” (2005)
After the failure of her previous ballads (“Through The Rain,” “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”) it was surprising Carey would offer up one after the warm response to “It’s Like That.” However, the song proved to be just what fans wanted. Her first number 1 hit in five years, “We Belong Together” shined thanks to a retro R&B feel and Carey letting melody do the work. Carey was back! The remaining singles (“Don’t Forget About Us,” “Shake It Off”) raised to the top of the charts.
“Touch My Body” (2008)
Despite the success of The Emancipation of Mimi, it took three years before a follow up album came together. Trying to maintain the success of her previous singles, “Touch My Body” played it safe. While slightly forgettable, it climbed to number 1.
For her next album’s lead single, Carey reunited with the songwriters behind “Touch My Body.” The song tried to emulate the sound and success of T.I. and Rihanna’s “Life Your Life.” And while it landed in the top ten, it hardly felt longstanding hit. The song did it’s only job: score a quick hit for Carey.
“On Santa!” (2010)
Sixteen years after Carey released the now-classic holiday album, Merry Christmas, the singer produced a sequel. However, Merry Christmas II wasn’t quite as cheery. The lead Christmas single lacked the classic R&B and holiday sound that made “All I Want For Christmas” a hit.
“Triumphant (Get ’Em)” (2012)
In between albums, Carey teamed up with Rick Ross and Meek Mill for this disaster of a single. Carey played second string to the rappers, for which she sang the hook. While it was written in honor of Whitney Houston and her husband Nick Cannon, who was in the hospital for kidney failure, it felt lost. The song lacked any real chorus or connection with fans.
An early contender for song of the summer, “#Beautiful” was warmly received by fans. It was a solid, radio-friendly jam that worked on several levels. Miguel helped Carey sound current while the song channeled a neo soul sound. It’s a shame the single was never backed by an album because it would have been great to know what else Carey was working on at that time.
“The Art of Letting Go” (2013)
Pegged as the second single of her forthcoming, soon-to-be released but always pushed back album, “The Art of Letting Go” was released with little fanfare. However, the song was a surprising return to Carey’s early days. The song distinctly recalls “Vision of Love” without feeling too much like a carbon copy. While it failed to generate much radio play, it did go to assure critics (and hardcore fans) that she’s still got it.
“You’re Mine (Eternal)” (2014)
In an effort to extend the love shown for “#Beautiful” and “The Art of Letting Go,” Carey released another single from often-delayed album, The Art of Letting Go. The mid-tempo single played it safe. It attempted to channel “We Belong Together” but didn’t have nearly the same spark.