July 29, 2007

Say what you will about record executives...

At least they had enough sense to keep a lid on Mariah Carey's slutty and overly percussive tendencies. Remember when she cast aside her earlier manager and crew, and proceeded to go full-out skank for 1997's Butterfly, her music being sucked into the hip-hop vortex? The first CD I ever bought was her 1993 Music Box, when I was in seventh grade, and MTV used to play the video for "Dreamlover" every 20 minutes. If you ask me, she looks physically more attractive there than in the video for "Honey" (not that she looks bad here) -- her skin is tighter, even if you can't see quite as much of it, and her eyes are more glowing. Also, her demeanor is more charming and feminine than calculating and aggressive.

Age may account for some of the discrepancy: she was 23 in "Dreamlover" and 27 in "Honey." That may sound unfair -- "hey, she wasn't even 30, let alone 40 or 50!" -- but the early 20s and the late 20s really do have a different feel. Guys begin their 20s as complete losers and end that decade having at least secured a good foothold in their career, while girls start off as you see in the "Dreamlover" video but eventually jettison what remaining dignity they have, as they sense the imminent arrival of their "best taste by" date. (I know, but the alternative phrases like "best used by" sound worse.)

So think what you want about slick record execs who bully around their stars rather than give them free rein -- sometimes they know what they're doing.

Related: This reminds me of what happened to Shakira, although in her case she didn't slut it up nearly as much, but still comes off as much more cynical than before. For a pleasant reminder of what she was like at her peak, see the video for "Moscas en la casa" from her MTV Unplugged appearance in early 2000.


  1. IMHO, she looked better in Honey than in in Dreamlover. The latter, she looks more mature and female, and thus, more sexual which is a good thing. If you have taste leans toward young, cute looking girls without a hint of sexuality, then, the skankification Mariah Carey is probably the worst thing that ever happened.

  2. I resist the idea that skankification = maturity and sexuality. Skanks represent either immaturity (if young) or the refusal to mature (if older).

    And Mariah Carey looks plenty sexual in "Dreamlover," but also charming.


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