Chart Watch: Mariah…The Disappointed Chanteuse
It's a given that most albums don't "open" like they used to, but some do. Just last week, Coldplay's Ghost Stories sold 383K copies in its first week. In 2013, albums by seven varied artists each sold more than 500K copies in their first weeks. (Those artists were Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Luke Bryan, Drake, Eminem, One Direction and Beyonce). So it can still happen.
So what's the problem? Here are six possible reasons that Carey's album is having a disappointing launch.
1. The album has yet to spawn a top 10 single. Carey has struggled to land a hit single in recent years. Just two of her last five singles have cracked Billboard's Hot 100. Two 2012 releases, "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" (featuring Rick Ross and Meek Mill) and "Almost Home," failed to hit chart (and were left off the album). "#Beautiful," a (very good) collabo with rising R&B star Miguel, reached #15 in June 2013. (It's on the album.) "The Art Of Letting Go" failed to chart. (It's a bonus track on some editions of the album.) "You're Mine (Eternal)" reached #88 in February. (It's on the album.) Me… seems destined to become Carey's second non-holiday studio album to fail to produce a top 10 hit. The first was 2002's Charmbracelet. That album's biggest hit, "Through The Rain," stalled at #81.
2. Carey is by now a veteran artist. Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse is Carey's 11th regular studio album (excluding two Christmas albums and the Glitter soundtrack). It's natural for sales to taper off over time, for even the biggest superstars. (By comparison, Coldplay in on its sixth studio album. Of the seven artists named above, only Jay Z has had as many studio albums as Carey. Magna Carta Holy Grail was his 12th solo studio album.)
3. Fresh competition has come along. In the nearly five years since Carey's last studio album, many artists have debuted (Ariana Grande) or broken through to superstardom (Adele). Grande, whose 2013 hit "The Way" (featuring Mac Miller) sounded a lot like Carey, is a rising star. Her current hit, "Problem," is the #2 song in the country. (Grande is 20, the same age that Carey was when she hit #1 with her debut single, "Vision Of Love.")
4. The album has a bad title. The title of the new album, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, is pretentious, clunky and off-putting. The album, in effect, has three titles. Carey should have settled on one and kept it simple. Incidentally, this is Carey's third album out of her past four regular studio releases with a self-referential title. It follows The Emancipation Of Mimi and Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel.
5. Carey may have stayed away too long. The nearly five year gap between studio albums is Carey's longest. Her previous longest hiatus was three years and one month.