Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2005

We Belong Together by Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey outdoes all her past performances with this hip written, styled, and phrased song of romantic regret. 

Song: We Belong Together
Artist: Mariah Carey
Album: The Emancipation of Mimi
Songwriter: Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal and Johnta Austin
Producer: Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal and Johnta Austin
B0007GAERG

Concept

The singer pleads to get back with her lover.

 

Lyric
An emotional self confessional lyric of regret begging one’s lover for another chance

I didn’t mean it when I said I didn’t love you so

I should have held on tight, I should have never let you go

I didn’t know nothing. I was stupid, I was foolish

I was lyin’ to myself

I could not have fathomed I would ever be without your love

I never imagined I’d be sitting here beside myself

Cause I didn’t know you, I didn’t know me, thought I knew everything

I never felt

Groove
A laid back full 16th feel with syncopated 32nds overlaid in the synth drums and in the vocal phrasing.

Melody
A repetitive catchy riffy melody that contrasts the conversational verse with the slower paced chorus with its button hook.

Harmony
A four chord loop that mixes two seventh chords and two triads with a classic Philly-soul sound that never resolves to the I chord.

IV maj7 V iii7 IV

Structure
Sig A B A B A B Tag

Signature Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Tag

Signature
Instrumental riff followed by the 4-chord loop.

Production
Simple repetitive groove showcases the incredible vocal. The background vocals are sweet and subtle as well.

Performance
Carey begs and pleads with amazing directness and sincerity. Her phrasing is innovative and sophisticated. The jam at the end shows her excellent interpretive skills.

Predicted Longevity
An excellent R&B-pop classic that stood out in 2004 and should remain a popular recording for a long time afterwards.

Album Cover: The Emancipation of Mimi

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