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Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Breakdown"

Mariah Carey - Breakdown (1997)

Mariah Carey's prophetic hip-ballad.



OK, let's get this out of the way. The looped bird sounds through the entire song? Ruin it. It's hard to focus on anything else. It's like walking through a Disney rain forest exhibit in the 80s. Her vocal choices in the song obviously owe a lot to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony; two members of which are featured on this track. In fact, it's odd that they are not mentioned in the top. Most songs with this much collaboration would make use of the "featuring" credit. But this one does not. Or at least, the book doesn't think so. The internet seems to think the featuring credit is due. Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone, nice job.

High hat drum machine, really simple piano part (played on a synth, but on the piano setting as far as I can hear) and occasionally a bass comes through. Mostly the song is about the vocals of the three performers. Oh, and the damned bird sounds. Mariah Carey has an amazing voice on the straight sung parts, and she admirably handles the blended rap sung parts. The two members of Bone Thugs handle the short rap portion of the song keeping it tight. The producer chose to use all three of their voices throughout the sound as their own background singers and it works.

The song is about the trouble one goes through when your lover decides it's over. Mariah Carey always claimed it wasn't autobiographical. It's a darkly beautiful lyric and a great song. But I will never listen to it again until I can find a remix without the bird calls.

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