Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Mariah Carey single review: "Almost Home"
Mariah Carey was recruited to write and sing the soundtrack for the upcoming Disney movie, "Oz the Great and Powerful" which comes out in March. The result is the track "Almost Home," a modern pop ballad with a deep message and meaningful lyrics.
As expected, social media was abuzz with comments from fans and music blog sites alike. I sent out several tweets myself (@hot_ken on Twitter) the minute I finished listening to the song. The one that got retweeted the most was this post: "What do Mariah and Oz have in common? They are both great and powerful!"
"Almost Home" is the type of song that only Mariah, diva extraordinaire and all, can sing. As she would say as judge on "American Idol," she "was born to do this, to sing." I have nothing against rappers on some of her more recent songs, but I am personally happy she dropped the I-am-the-thug-diva act and focused on the vocals instead.
"The background vocals are actually at the backburner so that her lead voice is uncluttered. The music (instrumentals) leaves enough space for all her vocal acrobatics to be heard and none of her vocals put to waste," Cifra said.
Cifra got technical: "The song is filled with electronic percussive beats and bass syths, and a regular interval of ghost notes (drums). But stripped off of the electronics, there are actually strings in the songs and a piano (or keyboard at the least) to fill in the gaps of the production. It actually sounds full without sounding heavy. It's so dynamic, yet agile.
"During the 2:26 - 2:31, that high note is a solid super head tone at D6 on top of a harmonized D5 and Bb4 vocal belt. On the 2:31-2:33, she sings almost 20 notes in two seconds. The freaky background vocals and 3:17 - 3:19) were awesome. She runs runs another 20+ notes in 2 seconds ((3:09 - 3:11) and hits a harmonized F#5 and runs down another 20-something notes smoothly (3:17 - 3:19)," he continued.
But the highlight, of course, was during the second half of the song. On Twitter, I posted something that was retweeted and favorited heavily as well. I said: "The second half of #AlmostHome is so powerful it needs to be classified as category 5 hurricane!"
Apparently, Mariah hit the following notes, as per Cifra: Back to back E5s and Eb5s (3:14 - 3:17); Sustained E5s with Vibrato (3:10 and 3:20-3:21); C#5- Eb5 -C#5 - B4 15-second vocal run (3:22 - 3:37); B4- C#5- E5 -Eb5 (3:37-3:40). Those are for you, technical-obsessed lambies of the land!
All in all, "Almost Home" is a feel-good song that is Disney yet still very Mariah. It is current and modern but not over-the-top. Her '90s technique, said Cifra, is back, with her belting out with proper head resonance, sometimes with vibrato.
"Her voice sounds pure, solid, and strong. She actually sings in her mid-belting range, no airy whisper register. Her choice of runs are very musical and spontaneous. She shifts from falsetto to chest notes as only she can. She swoops down to lower notes quite confidently," he said.
We couldn't agree more. "Almost Home" without doubt has brought it home. Thank you for showing you have the right to judge aspiring singers; that you can still sing circles around everybody else in the market today. Thank you, Mariah, for delivering another classic! :)
*** Download "Almost Home" on iTunesPH for only $0.69 or roughly P28. Follow @MCareyPH and @hot_ken on Twitter for more info. "Oz the Great and Powerful" comes out March 7 in the Philippines. Watch out for announcement of a viewing party! Enjoy! :) ***
RELATED BLOG POSTS:
- Mariah, the diva
- Top 12 most underrated Mariah songs ever
- Top 12 most underrated Mariah songs ever (Part 2)