Years ago, the notion that one of today’s most gifted, preeminent artists could release an album that could potentially ‘flop’ would have been laughable – absurd. However, as R&B/pop diva Mariah Carey continually prolonged her long-awaited follow-up to the underperforming, oddly titled Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, one has to wonder if the album even has a shot. That’s not throwing shade towards Carey or diminishing her immense musical gifts, but several factors make a once surefire bet a potential big-time underdog.
Delayed albums have a history of underwhelming sales. Honestly, this notion shouldn’t be that unreasonable or shocking. If an album continues to be pushed back or several singles have been released with none catching on, it is a good indication or at least the perception that the product is struggling. Sure, the respective artist is still releasing their next studio album, but the grandeur and excitement about the product falls-off with failed promotional opportunities. 50 Cent certainly didn’t benefit from the delays with Before I Self Destruct, which featured numerous delays beginning in 2007 (saw the light of day in 2009) and was barely gold-hit for the multiplatinum rapper. R. Kelly also didn’t benefit from scrapping 12 Play: 4th Quarter in 2008. The resulting album Untitled arrived with little fanfare and definitely began the waning of Kelly’s album sales in general. With so many singles released with lukewarm reception, the questions certainly arise about the success of Carey’s upcoming Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse.
The release date for Me has been set for May 27, 2014, according to a recent Billboard article. The problem with a release date so soon (despite delays) is there is no hit single to promote the album, which is a problem. “#Beautiful” does appear on the album, but its promotional power has long ceased. “The Art of Letting Go” was right up my alley, but the deluxe edition track wasn’t potent enough to be the game changer that a forty something Carey needs at this point. The performance of “You’re Mine (Eternal)” is horrific by Carey standards, making this journalist wonder if Mimi is about to be extremely devastated when her album sales numbers come out. I wish her the best – she deserves that given her prodigious talent – but I fear for my girl.