The Art Of Releasing A Non-Single: In Defense of Mariah Carey’s “The Art Of Letting Go”


I’m making a statement of my own opinion…

Mariah Carey‘s new single, “The Art Of Letting Go,” is actually good — it’s just not a single. Like, at all.

When I first heard the song earlier this week, I wrote it off as exceedingly boring. I mean, there isn’t even a clearly defined chorus! The production is so…dull. The song’s structure is sort of confusing and meandering. Where’s the cream filling? But then, I kept listening. And listening. And I found myself wanting to keep listening on repeat. Why? Because “The Art Of Letting Go” is the epitome of an album listen. The song’s better moments reveal themselves in time (aside from the instant soaring excellence of the ending).

In short — it’s a total grower.

The Art Of Consulting A Dictionary

For one thing, “The Art Of Letting Go” is chock full o’ Mimi-approved big girl vocabulary — “exceedingly hurtful,” “reverberating in my ears,” “your audacity” — all of which are perfect additions to the Mimi glossary. Also, “trifling” is always a win.

The Art Of Staying Relevant Without Staying Relevant

“The Art Of Letting Go” doesn’t even try to pretend it’s heard any EDM on the radio in 2013 — which is impressive (and refreshing), considering it’s produced by the ever-trendy Darkchild. The song’s completely nostalgic (vinyl crinkle and all!), full of Motown-lite influences and swelling orchestral production. Of course, lots of pop music this year was rooted in throwback ’90’s sound — but Mariah’s the one who actually shaped that sound. So, she’s got a right to return to her roots. Besides, she’s always got those lyrics to keep her operating within the 21st century: “Your audacity is too much to be believed, so go to MiMi on your contacts…press delete.” Hashtag loves it.

The Art Of Letting Them Have It

With Ariana Grande creeping up the stairs, it’s tough staying relevant in this awful Internet world of Tumblr trolls and forum goblins ready to pounce and declare someone the new Queen Bee. “The Art Of Letting Go” supplies us with the diva’s best, most melodic vocals in a while — way more than the breathy “#Beautiful” or the just plain bad “Triumphant.” The song’s final few seconds are absolutely GOLDEN, as Mimi lets those iconic vocals loose and totally belts her face off: “Somebody ya USED to know is flinging your world around / ANDYAKNOWWHAT? / They watch as you’re falling, as you’re falling…DOWN!” Yas, Mimi. Yasss.

Again, “The Art Of Letting Go” is absolutely not a traditional single — not even close! — but if I stumbled on this one buried somewhere deep on the album, chances are it’d be a stand-out. Besides, it’s “real music,” and a nice breather from all the pummeling synthesizers and cookie-cutter dance productions in 2013.

That being said, let’s hope she’s got a “H.A.T.E.U.” lined up for early 2014.

“The Art Of Letting Go” was released on November 12. (iTunes)

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