Top 40 single reviews

Boy (I Need You)
Album: Charmbracelet
Year: 2003

In a video that’s part camp, part futuristic and equal parts incoherent, Mariah, with an afro, races against a model on a racetrack. She wins, of course, and kisses off the ticked off supermodel. In that moment in the video Mariah is goofing off and being playful. If only she would let loose in her music.

Since 1999’s Rainbow, Mariah has been in a rut. Charmbracelet, her 2002 effort, was supposed to make her relevant again. Except, it only emphasizes how irrelevant she has become by using her familiar formula. Find a popular hip hop hook, turn it into a song, and have a guest rapper. “Boy (I Need You)” is one of three songs which features rappers.

“Boy” borrows heavily from Cam’ron’s hit of the same name, enough so that he says in his rap. “Sing my hook/help me sell a couple mil.” While this formula may have worked in the past, she has used it too much. Now, it leaves her sounding unoriginal and desperate.

Mariah’s vocals are also at her worst. She is reduced to whispering. When she does attempt to belt, it’s rough and forced. Every sung note seems like to work. Once upon a time in 1990, her voice was something to be envied. Now, it’s something that’s difficult to hear without cringing.

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