Every day begins the same. I wake up in the morning, do my daily affirmations—as Oprah instructed—and then go, with a heavy heart, to carve another tally into my bedroom wall, marking yet another day that has passed with no new album from Mariah Carey.
July 23 was supposed to be Christmas in July, finally, the release of a new Mariah Carey album. Yet as you can probably tell by the general pall that has fallen over the earth, that album is not here. It was just shy of a month ago that Mimi alerted her Little Lambs that she was pushing back the release of The Art of Letting Go indefinitely in order to do the album “justice.” So it’s been, according to my bedroom wall, 1,393 days since Mariah Carey’s last album. And I’m not letting it go.
It’s not that Carey has been away locked away in some bedazzled bunker the past few interminable years. She was stunning in Precious. She gave birth to twins. She recorded a duet version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” with Justin Bieber that was at once horrifying and absolutely delightful. Weight Watchers enlisted her as a spokeswoman as she shed her baby weight, after which America looked at her results and collectively joined Weight Watchers immediately.
Then she joined American Idol as a judge—a brief consolation. There was still no new album, but at least Mariah Carey would be on TV twice a week. Of course, she was ridiculous and fantastic. She couldn’t give standing ovations because her dress was too tight. She threw glitter at contestants. Her critiques were glorious, meandering nonsensical monologues choreographed with hand gestures so vigorous she probably burned 900 calories an episode by just talking (her Weight Watchers secret?).
We all were going to have to resign ourselves to using our remaining vacation time to lock ourselves in our rooms with cases of Asti Spumante and listen to the album on constant repeat.
Here’s one such critique transcribed in full: “Yes. Unpredictable? Smart. As always. Song choice. Genius. GENIUS! Nobody can. DO. What you do? With a massive hit? That’s feel good. Putting that [twinkles her hand in the air] Candice on it? Ay-may-zing.” No, Mariah, you are ay-may-zing.
The most important development of this long hiatus came when she released, “#Beautiful,” a duet with Miguel. It was #great. She sounded #fantastic. It was #flirty and #fun and #sunny and #sounded #like #summer. The song was as addicting as its title was insufferable. If it was any indication of what was to come when more new music came July 23, then we all were going to have to resign ourselves to using our remaining vacation time to lock ourselves in our rooms with cases of Asti Spumante and listen to the album on constant repeat for the next week.
But it wasn’t just the new music that gave us reason to be so excited. It was a new album and the requisite promotional tour at a time when Mariah Carey had been acting so Mariah Careyish that it was as if she was doing a parody of Mariah Carey. She shut down Disney World to renew her wedding vows. She’d perform “#Beautiful” on TV and do such a poor job lip-syncing it was almost like she was daring us to call her out on not singing live, as if we really needed proof that she could sing. After dislocating her shoulder recently, she exited the hospital in a floor-length gown. During a performance with the New York Philharmonic, she did not just change outfits, she changed arm slings: first, a bedazzled silver number; then a feathered black one.
When she took to Twitter to announce the delay of The Art of Letting Go—a day hereby known as The Darkest Day—she said she became “so immersed in the creative process” that she’d “rather not exclude meaningful songs” and she wants to “give you this album as it’s meant to be heard.” As excited as we were for more new material after being teased with “#Beautiful,” Mimi just wants her album to be #perfect, and, really, that’s #admirable.
And so another day is marked, yet another with no new Mariah album. It’s a tragic chore, and a painful one. But soon enough, one must believe, the reward will come. And it will be sweet. I’ll never let go, Mimi. I’ll never let go.