Eric's Angry Corner

It could be that I’m too old and I just don’t appreciate the zeitgeist of youth, but I find myself frustrated and even angry with much popular music has to offer. What better way to express my anger than through a nicely worded blog post. You have entered Eric’s Angry Corner!

Questions unanswered

What does it take to implode, be written off for a musical pariah and then reinvent your career?  This is a question I've often asked myself as I've failed in businesses and jobs.  Admittedly, I'd like to have any type of musical career right now, but just remembering all the times I was in a band that had fallen apart, makes me wonder what it would take to make the giant-leap...the awful transformation we musical purists (i.e. snobs) call "Selling Out."

It wasn't long ago that I was in a failing band.  We played gig after gig and never gained a following (except for Erica and CoCo - our groupies).  I remember playing killer sets, putting "my all" into the performance for the crowd, wearing my helmet and jumpsuit as a gimmicky shtick.  (Yes you read that right, I wore a red helmet and blue jumpsuit and on top of it all my bassist always had his shirt off.)  As much fun as it was, I still remember people in the crowd avoiding eye contact after the show, so they wouldn't have to talk to me.  It was at this point, as the band was about to breakup, that I thought to myself, "I would totally sell out right now for a shot at the big-time...I wonder if I can pose nude for anyone."

This weeks winner

This weeks angry corner goes to someone who is doing whatever it takes to stay in the spotlight, even though I think it may be time for her to fade away.  (Although remember your Rockology 101 courses when Neil Young told us that it's better to burnout than fade away.)  She sold out a long time ago, when she lost her voice and decided to sell sex instead of musical talent, but now it's just getting creepy the way she won't let go of her "youth."  Of course, as some have probably surmised, I am talking about Mariah Carey.

First, I'll provide the link to the NSFW version of the video.  

(In my ever-wise opinion I wouldn't recommend it though.  My job as a pseudo music journalist is to subject myself to all the nudie scenes so you don't need to....Oh I see, you're going to click on it anyway aren't you...just can't get enough semi-nudie music, huh?)

Don't click on the NSFW version

Mariah Carey - Youre Mine - SFW version

Okay, let's break down what has happened here.  Mariah Carey was a vocal prodigy back in the 90's, and at one point I actually had a teenage crush on her.  She had something like an 8 octave vocal range, and her voice sounded quite amazing.

Fast forward to now, and we have her most recent song that sounds more mundane than amazing; and listening to her sing the single notes in the verse actually makes me sad.  It sounds breathy and exhausted. So how has Mariah stayed Relevant you might ask?  First she added some sex-appeal, and then wrapped that up in a nice bow of sex-appeal, followed by some husky sex-appeal.  Singing be damned, she was going to stay in the spotlight.

First Verse

Let's break down the Verse and see what we can learn from this sleep inducing number.  The intro is merely a piano riff with white noise going through a filter.  Easy enough to start out...


sorry, I seemed to have fallen asleep while analyzing this song.  Let's try this again:

Simple Drum beat that starts the Verse and then fades out, with a piano synth, a regular synth and a few notch filter sweeps all over the place.  The sound behind the vocals is actually really cool.  It sounds simple, but there is a lot of production technique happening.

Chorus 0:47

Here the first chorus begins, and to be honest, the melody is really boring.  Not a lot is happening here....The background has some cool stuff happening with a cool synth keeping the 16th notes beat, and some really interesting changes in the programmed drums; also, don't forget the plethora of filter sweeps throughout the chorus.

Second Verse 1:25


well, I fell asleep again, and somehow my head keeps hitting the same keys. (that will never stop being funny)

Yes you guessed it, a nice notch filter sweep to start end the chorus.  Once again, the melody is killing me; it's so mundane I want to eat Rye bread or something.

Really nice glitchy drum effects and really nice piano and synth effects though...

Now, one really cool songwriting technique to steal here is the verse reversal effect (yes, I am fully aware I invent my own terms on the spot).  Within a verse there can be two halves that only sound slightly different from one another, these verse segments can be divided into Verse A and Verse B.  In the first verse (verse a) you'll notice she started with the simple melody with a very simplified background; this then gives way to verse b which is far more complicated and has a slightly different melody thereby providing a nice crescendo to the chorus.  In the second verse the producer completely swapped the two halves of the verse, so the second verse begins with verse b and ends with verse a.  It makes for a very interesting energy shift before the second chorus.  Kudos to whoever wrote that into the song, because it's a nice touch.

Second Chorus 2:16

Yes, we begin the chorus with another massive white noise filter sweep....but it works and sounds great, so who am I to complain?  Nothing in this chorus is significantly different from the first chorus, which in essence means I can take another nap.

Bridge 2:42

Why try something new when you've already written Verse B that can be used as a bridge? (that's exactly what the songwriter said, i'm sure of it)  The producers have taken Verse B and turned it into the bridge, the primary difference being an increased presence in the background instruments. The previous two times the Verse B was backed by simple drums and quiet synths, but this time they try to make it as loud and busy as the chorus.

Final Chorus 2:59

This is typically when you lay all your cards on the table to make the song memorable and this chorus is no different.  It's a crescendo that starts with Mariah singing a soulful lyric with some backing vocals, which then erupts into the main chorus that we already know and love..... 

It was during this chorus that I listened to the singing and thought to myself, "hey, she's actually rocking the voice..." but as I listened closer I noticed they mixed her vocals with some sort of synth/sampler that actually sounds like a breathy voice.  It's actually a cool idea for those of us who can't sing, since we don't really need to try we can merely supplement our voices with something else...I'll be exploring this idea as I record my own vocals.

What can we learn?

I like this songwriting style, and I will name this template the "Mariah switcharoo"

  • Verse A
  • Verse B

Verse 2
  • Verse B
  • Verse A

  • Just a modified Verse B
Final Chorus

  • Crescendo to the end

Notes on the NSFW video

Anyone who braved watching the "skin" video will be able to join in my overall "blah!" for this video.  This is Mariah's M.O. (be sexy cause sex sells) but for me, she just looks like a naked Muppet, I can't explain it, but she doesn't even look for her, double blah!


Iamtheswoop said...

Is it just me, or are fat people awesome?

Iamtheswoop said...

you can say you like to write music all you want, but I believe the author has a serious superiority complex

Art said...

Yes we are awesome, amazing even! Nice analysis!