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 Butterfly

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PostSubject: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:34 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:34 pm

Butterfly, the sixth studio album by American R&B singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, was released on September 16, 1997, by Columbia Records. It contained both hip-hop and R&B sounds, as well as some softer and more contemporary melodies. Throughout the project, Carey worked with Walter Afanasieff, with whom she had written and produced most of the material from her previous albums. She also worked with many famed hip-hop producers and rappers, such as Sean "Puffy" Combs, Kamaal Fareed, Missy Elliott and Jean Claude Oliver and Samuel Barnes from Trackmasters. With the latter acts producing most of the album, Butterfly deviated from the formula of Carey's older work, and was hailed as a defining album of the 1990s and of hip-hop and R&B music.

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:35 pm

Upon release, the album received positive reviews from music critics, who embraced Carey's musical transition. Reviewers complimented the album for its mature sound and production, and commended Carey's musical direction, calling the work a "transitional album, one that makes her a rarity of the 90s."[2] Butterfly was a life-altering album for Carey, continuing the transformation that began with her previous release, Daydream. The album pushed her music into a hip-hop and R&B sound, leading her away from her contemporary-pop background. Though released during Carey's conflict with Sony Music, the album became a commercial success, topping the charts in Australia, Japan and the Netherlands. On the US Billboard 200, it debuted at number one, spending one week atop the chart. Butterfly was nominated for three Grammy Awards, but did not win any. The album was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and received the Million Award in Japan.

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:35 pm

Five singles were released from the album. "Honey", the album's lead single, topped the charts in the US and Canada, and reached the top-five in New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. The album's fourth single, "My All", became a top-ten hit throughout Europe. When this single became her thirteenth number-one single in the US, Carey surpassed Madonna as the female with the most number-ones on the Hot 100. To support the album, Carey embarked on the "Butterfly World Tour", which visited Australia, Japan and Taiwan, with one show in the United States. According to the booklet from Carey's twelfth studio album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, she considered Butterfly her magnum opus and a serious turning point in both her life and career.

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:35 pm

Background

During Butterfly's development in mid-1997 Carey separated from her husband, music executive Tommy Mottola, who had guided her career since 1988; the couple later divorced. Press speculation on the break-up had been fueled as Carey began to take personal control of her career.[3] Throughout the project, Carey worked with a cast of various rappers and hip-hop producers, including Sean "Puffy" Combs, Kamaal Fareed, Jean Claude Oliver and Samuel Barnes from Trackmasters, Missy Elliott.[3] Critics claimed that Carey's new production team was her way of seeking revenge on Mottola and Sony Music.[3] In an interview with What's On magazine, Carey denied that the direction she was taking was radically new, and insisted that her new album's direction was of her own choosing. Her actions caused a commotion in Sony's headquarters, where there were fears that Carey was jeopardizing the success of their "best-selling act".[4] Carey expressed resentment that despite her successful career, Sony, at that time run by Mottola, did not allow her to make music she was passionate about.[4]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:35 pm

The pressure of facing life on her own, and becoming a constant "media fodder", began taking its toll on Carey. Due to stress and growing creative differences, Carey and Afanasieff fell out.[4] Reportedly, one night after a long recording session at the Hit Factory, they began a heated argument over the album's direction; their relationship was broken.[3] In addition to the problems arising from this fall-out, Carey found herself under media criticism for her "new crowd of rappers and producers".[3] Stories appeared in tabloids, linking Carey to several rappers and claiming her decisions had been made purely for sexual purposes.[3] In an interview with France Soir, Carey denied these allegations and said that the only man she had slept with was her husband.[5]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:35 pm

Writing and composition


"Honey"

As the lead single off Butterfly, "Honey" led Carey into a hip-hop and R&B influence, and became her twelfth number-one chart topper on the Hot 100.
"Butterfly"

The second single from the album. "Butterfly" was described by Carey as "her best work, and most heartfelt ballad."
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Butterfly proved to be Carey's most expressive and mature album at that point. With a new musical direction and a slew of different writers and producers, the album was "set to be a hit".[4] Carey and Combs co-wrote the lead single, "Honey". Combs was very confident with the song, calling it "slammin'", but because of its heavy hip-hip influence, he felt only cautiously optimistic about the song's commercial success.[4] The remix for "Honey" featured rap leads from Da Brat and Mase, with some verses rapped by Combs himself. The track was very different than anything Carey had ever recorded, and was described as "street Hip-Hop music, with a booming bass."[6] The song's melody was driven by Q-Tip's drum programming and Stevie J's keyboard notes. Combs's production gave the song a "light and airy" effect, further distancing it from Carey's contemporary sound.[6] "Honey" featured musical samples from Treacherous Three's "The Body Rock", and "Hey DJ" from the World's Famous Supreme Team.[6] The track united hip-hop and R&B with traces of pop music and was described as a "[song with a] catchy chorus, combining hip-hop and pop into something that simply wasn't going to be denied by anyone, and offering a powerful start to a record."[6]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:36 pm

The album's second single, "Butterfly", was one of the ballads Carey wrote with Afanasieff.[6] Carey described the song as the "favorite ballad she had ever written", one that was different and more personal than anything she had produced in the past.[7] Afanasieff, who composed the music with Dan Shea, handled the song's instrumentals, and added a few personal R&B touches. Another ballad Carey wrote with Afanasieff was "My All", one written as a contrast to the album's general hip-hop flavor.[7] Carey described the song as having "a lush sound and intense styling".[7] "My All" featured guitar arpeggios, which were synthetically created with the clever use of sampling and playing keyboard notes.[6] "The Roof", the album's European release, enhanced the album's palette. The song incorporated fragments from Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones (Part II)" into its sound, and was produced by Carey, Poke & Tone and Cory Rooney.[7]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:36 pm

"Fourth of July", one of the album's slower ballads, was also written solely by Carey and Afanasieff.[7] Though not a single, the song received notice for its jazzy sound. It was compared to some of Carey's older work such as "Vanishing" and "The Wind", but was said to be "less straight-forward, with more of a swing and even a touch of class."[7] The next two tracks on the album, "Breakdown" and "Babydoll", were described as "the album's backbone, its real declaration of independence".[7] "Breakdown" was written by Carey and Puffy and included rap verses from Wish and Krayzie Bone from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.[8] Author Chris Nickson wrote that "'Breakdown' showed Mariah treading forcefully into territory that was new for her and making it her own."[8] For "Babydoll", Carey teamed up with Elliott. The track was recorded in Atlanta, where Elliott resided, and included background vocals from Carey's long-time friend, Trey Lorenz. "Babydoll" was described as "a vocally driven piece", with some "inventive drum programming" provided by Rooney.[8] Other songs which incorporated R&B influence into exquisite balladry were "Whenever You Call" and "Close My Eyes", which were personally important to Carey. While both were standard ballads in comparison to what Carey had done in the past, Nickson had the following to say regarding them.[8]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:36 pm

"While up to to the standard of anything Mariah had ever done before, [they] suffered in comparison. But even here you could hear the new Mariah in the spareness of the arrangements and the way it was her voice, rather than any instrument, that controlled the song. She'd grown to the point where having less behind her really proved to be more, for the song and for her. It was notable, too, that like the other ballads on the record, these two leaned very much towards R&B."[8]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:36 pm

Carey wrote the song "Fly Away (Butterfly reprise)" with famed house music producer David Morales.[9] When Carey wrote the concept for "Butterfly", she intended it to be a house record, but after writing the lyrics and making the record with Morales, she preferred to make it a ballad. Carey expressed a desire to feature her concept both on the house record, alongside the ballad that would become "Butterfly".[9] Morales took Carey's lyrics, concept and melody and added a "thumping house beat, propelling some inventive keyboard and vocal work, showing yet another new facet of Mariah."[9] For the album, Carey recorded a version of Prince's "The Beautiful Ones", featuring Dru Hill's lead singer Sisqó. The song was one of the last recorded tracks and was the only non-original song on the album.[9] The album came to a close with "Outside", a ballad that was written by Carey, Afanasieff and Rooney.[9]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:36 pm

Critical reception

[hide] Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Robert Christgau [10]
Entertainment Weekly (B-)[11]
Rolling Stone [12]
Slant [13]
TopTenReviews [14]
The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised Carey's musical transformation and direction.[2] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic complimented it for its mature sound as well as its powerful and well-crafted balladry, writing that "Carey's vocals are sultrier and more controlled than ever, and that helps 'Butterfly', 'Break Down', 'Babydoll', and the Prince cover, 'The Beautiful Ones', rank among her best; also, the ballads do have a stronger urban feel than before."[2] Erlewine went on to proclaim Butterfly as one of Carey's best records and said that "Carey is continuing to improve and refine her music, which makes her a rarity among her '90s peers."[2] Nathan Brackett, senior editor of Rolling Stone, praised Butterfly, complimenting the album's producers and Carey's "more controlled" vocals.[12] While recognizing the album's positive facets, Brackett noticed a connection between much of Carey's lyrics and her separation from Mottola.[12] Rich Juzwiak from Slant awarded the album a score of four and a half out of five stars, calling it "elegant" and praising Carey's mature vocals.[13] Juzwiak particularly praised "Breakdown", which he called one of the album's best tracks. Regarding Carey's breathy vocals, he wrote, "The relatively high and thin register that she sings in when not belting (and that's often) could be the most important of Butterfly's changes, as it marks the first time that Mariah the vocalist seems consistently real. She's utterly soulful."[13]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm

David Browne from Entertainment Weekly gave Butterfly a B- in his review.[11] Browne commented on Carey's vocals: "In Breakdown, she demonstrates she can match the staccato, lite-reggae phrasing of her guests, two members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony."[11] However, Browne commented negatively on Carey's outlook on a "more mature" sound, writing, "Oddly, Carey's attempt at musical maturity ends up backfiring. The very-slow-jam grooves have an intimacy lacking in her previous work. But the arrangements – especially the oozing vocal harmonies on many tracks – mute the impact of her lyrics. How are we supposed to connect with Carey's renewal when we can barely understand what she's singing? The softer Carey sings, the less singular her phrasing becomes – it's as if she's so accustomed to power singing that she has to relearn nuance. Butterfly is undeniably pleasant, with little of the all-conquering bombast usually associated with Carey. But it's also the last thing anyone would have expected from her: blandly self-effacing."[11] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "dud" rating,[10] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought".[15]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm

Chart performance



Carey performing "Butterfly" in Germany, during her Adventures of Mimi Tour promo-tour
Butterfly entered the Billboard 200 at number one, with 236,000 copies sold in its first week.[16] The album remained atop the chart for one week, in the top twenty for twenty-one weeks and on the chart for fifty-five weeks (making one re-entry).[17] The album sold more in both its fourteenth and fifteenth week of release than in its opening week, selling over 283,000 copies in the fifteenth week (when it was at number eight). It also peaked at number three on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[17] In the United States, Butterfly was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of over five million copies. Nielsen SoundScan estimates the album's sales at over 3,719,000 copies in the US.[18] In Canada, the album debuted at number one and was certified double-platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), denoting shipments of over 200,000 copies of the album.[17][19] In Australia, the album debuted at number one on the charts and received a double-platinum certification from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[20]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm

In Europe, the album experienced moderate success, peaking within the top-five in most European countries.[21] It received a platinum certification by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), denoting shipments of over one million copies throughout Europe.[22] In the United Kingdom, Butterfly peaked at number two, and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), denoting shipments of over 150,000 copies.[23] In France, the album peaked at number six, where it was certified double-gold by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP), denoting shipments of over 300,000 copies. Sales of the album in France are estimated at 292,000.[24]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm

As with many of Carey's previous records, Butterfly became a large success in Asia. In Japan, the album debuted at number one on the album charts, with first week sales of 408,970 copies, and remained in the top-100 for twenty-six weeks.[25] The album was certified the Million Award by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), denoting shipments of over one million copies.[26] In Hong Kong, Butterfly finished as one of the twenty best-selling foreign albums of 1997, receiving a platinum certification by IFPI.[27]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm

Singles


"My All"

Carey's thirteenth number one single on the Hot 100, as well as her highest charting single in Europe off the Butterfly album.
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Five singles were released from Butterfly; some featured as airplay-only singles, while others were released only in certain territories. "Honey" was released as the album's first single on August 26, 1997. The song became Carey's twelfth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, while reaching the top-five in Canada, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.[21] It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of over one million units in the United States, and received a gold certification in Australia.[20][28] "Honey" was well-received, with critics complimenting its catchy sound and clever fusion of pop and R&B sounds.[2] "Butterfly" served as the album's second single, but it was released as an "airplay-only" single due to Carey's conflict with Sony.[2] Though not being released commercially by Sony Music, "Butterfly" reached number seven on the Hot 100 Airplay, as well as the top-twenty in New Zealand.[21]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm

"Breakdown" was the third single released from the album. The song received a limited release throughout certain countries, such as the United States, where it peaked at number four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[17] Aside from the US, "Breakdown" achieved a steady peak of number four on the New Zealand singles chart, in addition to entering the top-forty in Australia.[21] While not one of Carey's best-known hits, "Breakdown" remains one her most praised songs, receiving acclaim for assisting Carey's transition into the R&B market.[13] In a review for the album, Slant magazine wrote the following.
"The song of Carey's career, where the lyrical strokes are as broad and obvious as they are naked. Mariah the chanter flawlessly adapts to their singsong style, largely boxing her multi-octave range into a sly, hypnotic melody so that when she really wails at the end, you really feel it. Carey lunges toward musical maturity by embracing, not shunning hip-hop. This is the height of her elegance and maybe hip-hop-soul's, too."[13]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:38 pm

While "Breakdown" served as the album's third single in the United States, New Zealand and Australia, "The Roof" was released in Europe.[6] It performed weakly on the charts, peaking at number 96 in the United Kingdom, and faring only slightly better in the Netherlands, where it peaked at number 63.[21] While not commercially released in the US, the song's music video received heavy rotation on MTV and Vh1, due to the album's popularity.[6] "My All" was chosen as the album's fifth and final single. The song was the most commercially successful song on Butterfly, becoming Carey's thirteenth chart topper in the US, and reaching the top-ten throughout Europe.[21] In France, "My All" peaked at number six, and was certified silver by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP).[29] In the United States, the song finished at number seventeen, on the Billboard Year-End chart, remaining Carey's highest charting single of 1998.[30]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:38 pm

Promotion

Main article: Butterfly World Tour
In order to promote Butterfly, Carey made a slew of live television and award show appearances.[6] On November 12, 1997, Carey visited The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she was interviewed regarding her split from Mottola. Aside from the interview, Carey sang a live rendition of "Butterfly", including her classic hit, "Hero".[6] Additionally, Carey was featured as a musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live, where she performed "Butterfly" for a second time, as well as the Spanish-inspired "My All".[6] Carey performed "My All" at the 1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, as well as The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Carey visited the latter show twice and during her second visit, she performed "Close My Eyes" live for the first time.[31] Aside from the Blockbuster Awards, Carey performed "Honey" at the 1998 World Music Awards.[31] In Europe, Carey made several television appearances to promote the album. In the United Kingdom, Carey performed "My All" on the Des O'Connor Show and Top of the Pops, alongside "Honey". In Germany, she sang "Butterfly" on Wetten, dass..? and she performed on Japanese television.[31]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:38 pm

Originally, Carey had not planned to tour, as she had received a mixed response in the US with her Music Box Tour, and prior to that, she had already successfully toured through Europe and Asia with the Daydream World Tour. However, after the album's release, many fans asked Carey to tour, especially in Asia and Australia.[31] Accordingly, Carey embarked on the Butterfly World Tour, her third head-lining tour. The tour dated eleven shows, four in Japan's largest stadium, Tokyo Dome, one in Taiwan, five in Australia and one in the United States.[32] The tickets for her shows in Japan sold out, with all 200,000 tickets being sold in under one hour.[32] The rest of the tour was also very successful, selling out each of its eleven dates.[32] As part of her most extensive tour until that point, Carey performed a sold out show at the 50,000-capacity Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, where she filmed her concert video, Around the World. The video was a one tour-compilation DVD which included parts of Carey's shows in Japan, Australia and Hawaii.[32] The tour became a critical and commercial success, with fans and critics alike raving about the tour's quality and Carey's vocals.[33]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:38 pm

Awards and accolades

Butterfly was declared "one of Carey's best records to date", and received many prestigious awards throughout the industry. At the Billboard Music Awards, Carey received an honorary award, recognizing her achievement of earning "The Most Number-one Singles Ever by a Female Solo Artist in History". "Honey" was nominated at the 1998 Grammy Awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song, while "Butterfly" was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[34] The album won a Japan Gold Disc Award in the "International Pop Album of the Year" category. For Butterfly, Carey won the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist in 1998. Additionally, the album won the BMI Pop Awards for "Songwriter of the Year" and the "Songwriter" awards for "Honey", "Butterfly" and "My All".[34] At the Soul Train Music Awards in 1998, Carey won the awards for "Entertainer of the Year" and "Soul Train Lady of Soul", which were presented to her by Aretha Franklin.[34]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:38 pm

Butterfly was nominated at the 1998 NAACP Image Awards, in the "Outstanding Female Artist" category.[31] At the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Carey was named the "Song-writer of the Year", and received the "Song of the Year" award. At the 1998 World Music Awards, Carey won two of night's top awards; the "World's Best-selling R&B Artist" and the "World's Best-selling Recording Artist of the 90s".[34] Carey expressed resentment towards the Grammys, having been shut out again from any wins. However, during this period, Carey was in the midst of her tour, something she claimed helped her cope with the loss. According to author Marc Shapiro, "she was on tour, her fans loved her, and at least she didn't have to sit through the whole awards ceremony and then come away empty-handed. No amount of awards could replace the popular acceptance of Butterfly and the feeling she was now free to live her own life – creatively and personally."[33] In a recent list voted in by various rock critics, Butterfly was selected as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[35]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:39 pm

Reaction to "Honey" video
The lead single from the album, "Honey", gained worldwide attention for pushing Carey farther into hip-hop and R&B than ever before.[36] Aside from the attention surrounding the song, the music video garnered much speculation. For the first time in her career, Carey was featured provocatively dressed, giving viewers a "taste of the freer Mariah".[36]
"It was a grueling process; I'm not going to say it was easy. I got up at 3 A.M. every day, and worked until 9 in the morning the next day – for four hours in a row, swimming in my Gucci pumps! I can't say that I really jumped off the roof, but [I did] dive into the pool. But I did wear and swim in those pumps, and I was not happy"
—Carey, on her exhausting experience on the set of "Honey."[36]
The Puerto Rico-filmed video's concept was created by Carey with Paul Hunter filling in as the director.[36] Serving a James Bond theme, Carey was cast as "the very sexy agent M", a woman who escapes a large mansion in which she has been held captive.[36] Carey said of the video that "I don't really think the video is overtly sexual, but for me-I mean people used to think I was the nineties version of Mary Poppins!"[6]

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PostSubject: Re: Butterfly   Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:39 pm

During the time of the video's release, Carey and Mottola were in the midst of their divorce and this led to many speculation on the video's message. Tabloids and critics were linking the video's theme to Carey's marriage, writing how Mottola would lock Carey in their mansion.[36] While Carey denied the allegations, many found it to be very obvious. Carey's writing partner of six years, Afanasieff, felt the video was undeniably about Mottola.[36] While speculation about the video grew, Carey continued to deny any intention of portraying her marriage in the video.[36] In an interview, Carey said that "Tommy loves the video, he says it's my best video yet."[36]

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