In her 1997 album Butterfly, Mariah Carey expresses her independence from abusive boss and husband Tommy Mottola as well as ignoring dismissive rock criticism. Prior to this album, Mariah Carey found success through her mainstream sound that offered inoffensive lyrics and showcased her five-octave vocal range. Carey’s ability to soar in mainstream pop and Adult Contemporary charts were due to Mottola who dictated what she would record, what songs she wrote, her appearance, and who she collaborated with. He even controlled her as a wife and suppressed her personal freedoms.
Despite Carey’s significant successes, music critics dismissed her as a songwriter and artist; calling her lyrics banal and her personality vapid. They disliked her extreme vocals, love-centric lyrics and uninteresting artistry. After she divorced Mottola and released Butterfly, Carey was viewed as a different artist. Her collaboration with rappers like Sean “Puffy” Combs, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, and Missy Elliott shifted her musical genre from mainstream pop to R&B and Hip-Hop. Her public image after the divorce did not express her usual demeanor, a child-like innocence under the twinkling of the stars, but instead portrayed a young woman’s coming of age, sexual desire and security in her own bi-racial identity. In this paper I will argue that Butterfly reflects the dissolution of Carey’s marriage, her image and change in musical identity.
|Commitee:||Doyle, Alicia M., Lindau, Elizabeth|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Bob Cole Conservatory of Music|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Butterfly, Metamorphosis, Carey, Mariah|
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