May 05 2008

Mariah on the cover of VIBE

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"VIBE and Mariah do go back like babies and pacifiers. There was a Mariah cover in April 1996, around the time of Daydream. That excellent story was written by Elysa Gardner (now of USA Today). In 2003, around the time of Charmbracelet, Lola Ogunnaike (now of CNN’s American Morning) wrote another fantastic cover piece.

As for myself, in 1998, when I was editor-in-chief the first time, I flew to San Francisco (on Mariah time, you have to be ready to get up and go anywhere at a moment’s notice) and then rode north to hilly Sonoma County, in Northern California’s wine country. Carey and I drank red wine until late into the night. She’d just left her marriage. I think she was releasing a greatest hits package (#1’s). She was in a good, if tough, space. That space from which good art and new beauty is sometimes born. She was fun. And open. Soon after, she went through some well-documented rough times. But she’s been back for a while, and the new album is an homage to Einstein’s theory of relativity, first introduced in a 1905 paper called, “Does The Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” I thought you knew.

People forget, because Mariah is so pretty and so about hair and boobs and antics, that she is a songwriter who will go down in history as one of the best, one of the most prolific, and one of the most successful. The sales and radio records she’s breaking are mammoth, and crucial too—because with every one she topples, it’s clearer that Miss Carey is the true People’s Choice. She writes and sings music that people sing to themselves, music that we move our bodies to. She is redefining—in these complicated cultural times, times in which niches are nich-ier than ever, times in which even the sale of creative content is in question—what it is to be popular (believed, embraced, or perpetuated by ordinary people). She’s buttah fly, for sure.

As ever,
Danyel Smith"

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