It’s been a big year for local R&B lovers. Stars such as Brian McKnight, Tony Braxton, Baby Face and most recently Mary J Blige made their way to our shores to remind us of the ’90s when soul music was arguably at it’s very best.
For many of us, it was the soundtrack of our lives. We would play tracks like McKnight’s Back At One and Braxton’s Breath Again for hours while we springcleaned the house on a Saturday morning. We knew all the words because everyone had a song book with handwritten lyrics and magazine cutouts of our favourite musicians.
Mariah Carey was one of the biggest artists of the ’90s and I’m a huge fan of her music, so when Big Concerts announced she would be coming to the country in 2016 for her Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour, I should have been excited, but I wasn’t. As an avid concert goer, I’ve learnt that one of two things can happen when a “throwback” artist comes to perform in SA.
They can either give you the best show of your life (like Blige did at the BET Experience Africa Festival last weekend) or they can destroy every fond memory you had attached to their music (like Maxwell did at the same event).
At this stage of her career, Carey could do the latter. The 45-year-old icon has been struggling to get back to the top of her game for years after she split from her former manager and producer Jermaine Dupri. Her recent Las Vegas residency, which is scheduled to run for the next two years, has been getting negative reviews (and that’s putting it kindly).
Vegas residencies have a reputation for being a retirement home for singers who still want to make some money from their dwindling careers. Earlier this year, a reviewer from complex.com wrote of the show: “Her superhuman ability to crack the sound barrier with amazing vocal registers and pitch was gone – her trademark voice reduced to a rasp. She would overcompensate for this many times during the night by bleating out “woo woo” or “no no” in different ranges.”
To make matters worse for the singer, her hit All I Want For Christmas is no longer the most played holiday song in the US. According Play Network, a company which work with 400 brands to compile their Christmas playlists for their stores All I Want For Christmas was the most requested song around Christmas time for twenty years but has been dethroned by The Shins’ Wonderful Christmastime.
As a Mariah Carey fan, I’m hoping that she’ll come to the country and prove the sceptic in me wrong, but I’m not willing to bet my hard-earned cash on it.