Welcome to another edition of Rich Karski’s A SONG I HEARD TODAY: the only online music review column that is directly responsible for the struggles of the United States Postal Service.
We’ve all been dumped. Being dumped is not fun. It is another person telling you that you are too ugly, too annoying, too drunk, (or a perfect storm of all three) to keep doing it with them. Most people handle being dumped the same way: you eat and drink things that are bad for you, and you write shitty poetry about your hurt feelings, then you THROW THAT SHIT AWAY.
What happens when the dumped party DOESN’T throw their bad self-serving poetry away? What happens if instead they decided to put it to music? And what happens if after that, they sing it loudly at people over the radio? That is how you end up with breakup songs. An entire genre of music dedicated to someone being told to pack up their shit and get the hell out of somebody else’s place before they get home from work.
“Aren’t breakups and heartbreak what songs are supposed to be about?” you might ask stupidly. Because they are not. Songs are supposed to be about loving someone who doesn’t know it yet so you can fuck them IN THE FUTURE, or about taking care of business. There are too many songs about people the singer used to fuck and now is sad that they have to find somebody else to annoy with their probably acoustic guitar.
This is not to say that all breakup songs are bad. Some are pretty terrific, but it takes a very special type of artist to pull that off without sounding like an obnoxious moron with the self-awareness of a dog who puts on some sunglasses and all of a sudden thinks he’s people WE KNOW YOU’RE A DOG UNDER THERE SPARKY YOU WILL NEVER BE PEOPLE!
One such horrible attempt at a breakup song is the subject of this week’s column. So let’s take the time to explore the musical atrocity that is “Always Be My Baby.” by Mariah Carey.
Mariah Carey is a lady who could sing real good in the ’90s and has now gone completely insane. I think this song came around during her second or third resurgence but I don’t feel like looking it up. See, Mariah went through several career resurgences because she was a great singer who would annoy the fuck out of everybody. She would be on top of the world for a little while until everyone got real sick of her bullshit and sent her packing, then everyone would forget how annoying she was and she would have a few more hits and everyone would be like “wow why have we been ignoring her for so long?” and then they would remember how annoying she was and be like “OH FUCK THAT’S WHY! YOU GO AWAY NOW!!!” That basically sums up her career I think.
Upon first listen the song seems like any other catchy ’90s pop song about girl power or whatever. Girl power was huge in the ’90s because it was a way for corporations to make a lot of money off of young girls who they realized had all of the country’s spending power because nobody wanted to fucking listen to them yell about not getting what they wanted. This also involved sexualizing girls at a very young age because if their parents were too smart to buy them all the things they wanted, big business knows you can always rely on old perverts to get the job done. This song seems to be written from the perspective of a teen girl, because Mariah Carey is perpetually a sixteen year old who is either excited because she gets to take the car out this weekend or angry because she DOES NOT get to take the car out this weekend. It doesn’t turn any teens into Lolitas, but that seems almost preferable to what it is actually impressing on their young and almost certainly already crazy brains.
We were as one babe/For a moment in time
“Those 40 seconds where we banged in your dad’s Nissan were unforgettable.”
And it seemed everlasting/That you would always be mine
This is exactly how teenagers think. Forever for a teenager is exactly three months. Mariah was under the impression that this relationship would last until camp ended and everyone went back to school in the fall. This gentleman considered the prospects of spending three months with Mariah Carey, and wisely bolted in the other fucking direction.
Now you wanna be free/So I’m letting you fly/Cause I know in my heart babe/Our love will never die
Here we get our first whiff of crazy. “You’re only dumping me because I’m LETTING you. But I KNOW you’re going to love me forever. YOU CANNOT DENY THAT WHICH I KNOW IN MY HEART!”
You will always be a part of me/I’m part of you indefinitely
Okay. This is not the type of thing you say to somebody who just broke up with you. This is something you say to a person after you have just sewn a part of your body to their body. This song is the inspiration for The Human Centipede. Somebody heard this song and immediately assumed she was talking about sewing her ass part to his face part. The point is that even Germans read this lyric and think “wow that’s fucked up.”
Boy don’t you know you can’t escape me/Ooh darling cause you’ll always be my baby
I think this song was written in blood, and then wrapped around a brick and thrown through this guy’s window. Is she the T-1000? Something tells me this guy is fucked until he can find a way to melt her. She reiterates that this boy will never shake her. Anywhere he goes, she will be there. Being his baby. Forever. There is no quit to her. Not when she has a baby that is trying to not be her baby anymore. Obviously he is a stupid baby because he doesn’t know the rules. The rules of the heart.
I ain’t gonna cry no/And I won’t beg you to stay/If you’re determined to leave boy/I will not stand in your way
Finally, she’s starting to sound reasonable.
inevitably you’ll be back again/Cause I know in my heart babe/Our love will never end
This is the type of hyperbole that is ubiquitous in love songs, but I’m starting to believe that the only thing that is going to end this “love” is a murder suicide. That’s not the type of love you typically hear people bragging about. This is the type of love that ends up on the 10 o’clock news. This is the type of love that they make Jennifer Lopez thrillers out of. You just know Mariah is thinking about getting pregnant on purpose to trap this guy and then feeding the baby paperclips or some shit so she always has to take it to the hospital. This is the type of love that breeds Munchausen by Proxy.
I know that you’ll be back boy
“I stole your keys and hid them in my bedroom.”
When your days and your nights get a little bit colder
“I really hope nobody teaches him about blankets out there…”
I know that you’ll be right back/Baby believe me it’s only a matter of time
I like to imagine she’s saying this as she stands behind his door with a very large net. “I should have sewn his face to my ass when I had the chance.” she is probably thinking.