Ms Thang returns, liberated and sexed-up, but sadly not touting much of a tune...
This is Mariah free of the shackles. This is Mariah indulging her quick-to-soar voice around classic ’80s soul grooves (courtesy of Cameo). This is Mariah surrounding herself by rappers (Da Brat and Ludacris) in a mainstream rap/pop stylee. This is Mariah making the music – her copyrighted brand of pop/club/soul lite – that she didn’t revel in during her tenure her last label. The label her ex-husband was head of.
Which is all well and good. But you can’t escape the feeling that Ms Thang is really just trying to recapture the vibe and excitement that followed the release of ‘Fantasy’ when she not only altered international audience perception of her (singing over a groove remixed by Puff Daddy and featuring a rap by the Wu-Tang ‘s ODB), but also confirmed that good singers want more than just sales a artistic acclaim. They want street credibility too.
Unfortunately, ‘Loverboy’ is no ‘Fantasy’. On paper the idea of utilising the b-line driven ‘Candy’ seems on point. In practice, how ever, it’s a bit of a mess, as there are other keyboard and synth arrangements competing for your attention. And the voice? More than a little obscured, and likeD’Angelo, Mariah suffers from ‘no-everyone-can-understand-what-you’re-saying’-itis. When her pronunciation [I]is[/I] identifiable it reveals how much Mariah is playing up to the pin-up image – [I]”I want my sugar daddy/take me for a ride”[/I] – and you’ve just got to love her for it. She’s taking the piss out of the guys who are into this saccharine sex symbol image as much as herself for asserting it.
Just like playing with yourself after seeing the video (as most young male fans will), the song is over almost as quickly as it starts. Not memorable, but another step in Mariah‘s journey in becoming the opera-trained singer with street connotations who is also the highest paid female singer in the world. Which would sound like girl power to me.