We Belong Together (Mariah Carey song)
|"We Belong Together"|
|The Emancipation of Mimi|
|Released||March 29, 2005|
|Format||CD single, digital download|
Right Track Studios|
(New York City)
|Writer(s)||Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, Johntá Austin, Kenneth Edmonds, Darnell Bristol, Bobby Womack, Patrick Moten, Sandra Sully|
|Producer||Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal|
|Mariah Carey singles chronology|
"We Belong Together" is a song from Mariah Carey's tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). The song was released on March 29, 2005, through Island Records as the second single from the album. "We Belong Together" was written by Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, and Johntá Austin, and produced by the former three. As the song samples lyrics from Bobby Womack's "If You Think You're Lonely Now" (1981) and The Deele's "Two Occasions" (1987), several other songwriters are credited. "We Belong Together" is built on a simple piano arrangement with an understated backbeat. According to Carey, this was done to highlight her vocals, instead of having them obscured by heavy instrumentation. The song's lyrics chronicle a woman's desperation for her former lover to return, following their separation and her loneliness and despair following his departure.
Following her decline in popularity between 2001 and 2005, critics dubbed the song her musical comeback, as many had considered her career over. They described it as Carey's "return to form" and referred to it as the "return of The Voice." "We Belong Together" broke several records in the United States and became Carey's sixteenth chart topper on the US Billboard Hot 100. After staying at number one for fourteen non-consecutive weeks, the song became tied for the second longest running number one song in US chart history, behind Carey's "One Sweet Day" (1995). Billboard listed it as the "song of the decade" and the ninth most popular song of all time. Additionally, it broke several airplay records, gathering both the largest one-day and one-week audiences in history. The song topped the charts in Australia and the Netherlands, and reached the top two positions in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Due to its continued success, Carey performed the song on several live award shows and television appearances around the world. Following stateside performances at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Macy's Fourth of July Parade, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, Carey performed it on several European events and programs such as the Live 8 charity concert in the United Kingdom, the Fashion Rocks in Monaco, and the German Bambi Awards. Most notably, Carey performed a medley of "We Belong Together" and "Fly Like a Bird," another single from the album, at the 48th annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006. The performance received rave reviews from critics, and induced the night's only standing ovation. Carey performed the song on both her Adventures of Mimi and Angels Advocate Tours. Critics described it as one of the concert's finest and impressive moments.
"We Belong Together" earned several music industry awards and nominations throughout 2005–06: two Grammy Awards, two Radio Music Awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, one Vibe Award, a World Music Award and a Teen Choice Award. The song's music video was filmed as a two-part story with "It's Like That," which features Carey at her bachelorette party. The video for "We Belong Together" is a continuation focusing on Carey's actual wedding to an older and powerful man. Furthering rumors of the video's connection to her 1993 marriage to Tommy Mottola, Carey donned her actual Vera Wang wedding dress for the shoot. The video ends with Carey escaping the wedding with her ex-lover, who appears at the main stairwell just as the pair are to be wed. Carey and her lover, (played by Wentworth Miller) run down the flowery walkway and get into his car, while Carey's 27-foot train flows behind them.
- 1 Background
- 2 Writing and recording
- 3 Music and structure
- 4 Reception
- 5 Awards and nominations
- 6 Remixes
- 7 Music video
- 8 Live performances
- 9 Formats and track listings
- 10 Credits and personnel
- 11 Charts and certifications
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Works cited
- 15 External links
In 2001, Carey suffered a physical and emotional breakdown, causing her to abandon promotion of her then-released studio album Glitter (2001), and its accompanying film. Since she was hospitalized for exhaustion, the film project received strongly negative critical feedback, with the album faring slightly better. Following Carey's absence from the public eye, as well as her abandonment of promotional appearances for the film and soundtrack, her unprecedented $100 million five-album record deal with Virgin Records (EMI Records) was bought out for $50 million. After recovering and completing her contractual agreement with Virgin Records, Carey began recording her intended "comeback" and follow-up album, Charmbracelet (2002). Although the album focused on incorporating several inspirational and adult contemporary ballads and re-capturing Carey's audience from throughout the 1990s, critics took notice of Carey's different vocals.
As Glitter had been a mixture of 1980s covers and more dance-oriented material, Charmbracelet was void of up-tempo numbers, and harbored on slower, more contemporary melodies. In his review of the album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine harshly criticized the album's content, but also Carey's voice, which he described as "in tatters". He wrote "Whenever she sings, there's a raspy whistle behind her thin voice and she strains to make notes throughout the record. She cannot coo or softly croon, nor can she perform her trademark gravity-defying vocal runs. Her voice is damaged, and there's not a moment where it sounds strong or inviting." Though fueled by strong media attention regarding Carey's return to music, as well as her new deal with Island Records, the album failed to deliver the type of success she had been accustomed to throughout the 1990s, and only managed sales of five million copies globally. After the album's release, and its succeeding tour, Carey began conceptualizing and working on a new project, eventually titled The Emancipation of Mimi, her tenth studio effort. "We Belong Together" became a song that critics considered Carey's "return to form" and "the return of The Voice", after several questioned her vocal abilities following the release of Charmbracelet.
Writing and recording
By November 2004, Carey had already recorded several songs for her newly-titled tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi. Island Records head L.A. Reid suggested to Carey, however, that she compose a few more strong singles to ensure the project's commercial success. Noting that she had written some of her best work with Jermaine Dupri, Reid recommended that Carey meet with Dupri for a brief studio session. Carey took Reid's advice and headed to Atlanta to collaborate with Dupri. During this two-day trip, the duo wrote and produced "Shake It Off" and "Get Your Number", which were eventually released as the album's third and fourth singles. (Following this recording session, "Shake It Off" was briefly selected as the album's lead single, replacing the originally planned "Say Somethin'".) Carey returned to Atlanta for a second meeting with Dupri; during this trip, Carey and Dupri penned the last two songs to be included on the album, "We Belong Together" and "It's Like That". In an interview with Billboard, Carey described her sentiments regarding the song during the production stage:
I had the chills. I had a great feeling about it when we finished writing the song, and I was flying back from Atlanta at some crazy hour of the morning...But we were listening to it on the plane ride on the way home, and even from the demo version, I really felt something very special.
Carey and her management then decided to release "It's Like That", which Carey called "the right fire-starter", as the album's lead single. Carey later reminisced about her experience with Dupri: "I am so grateful I went to Atlanta," she said. "And I have to say, we wrote some of my favorite songs on the album. I'm so proud of Jermaine – he's so focused, and he knew what had to be done." In an interview with MTV, Carey described the album: "The album is not about making the older executives happy by making a bring-down-the-house, tearjerker ballad, or [something] steeped in the media dramas of my life. What I tried to do was keep the sessions very sparse, underproduced, like in '70s soul music..."
Music and structure
"We Belong Together" is an R&B ballad with strong pop and hip-hop influences. The song is propelled by a programmed Roland TR-808-styled kick and hi-hat, which is prominently utilized in hip hop music. Carey adopted a reserved, rap-flavored singing style, which garnered approval from the critics who admonished her ornate, melismatic singing style. Reviewer Jennifer Vineyard from MTV News commented that Carey's spare and understated singing approach gave the song more power, which would not have been achieved if she had belted. The song also incorporates 1980s retro-soul music by "cleverly" referencing Bobby Womack's "If You Think You're Lonely Now" (1981) and The Deele's "Two Occasions" (1987), with Babyface. In the second verse of "We Belong Together", Carey sings: "Bobby Womack's on the radio / Singing to me, 'If you think you're lonely now'." She then flips across a radio dial: "So I turn the dial, tryin’ to catch a break / And then I hear Babyface / 'I only think of you...'." The line "If you think you're lonely now" is from the song of the same name and "I only think of you" is from the chorus of "Two Occasions." In the remix she also says "I only think of you / On two occasions / That's day and night..." Due to the inclusion of the lyrics from both songs, the songwriters were given co-writing credits on the song. "We Belong Together" follows the common verse-chorus form and is structured into three distinct sections, with each section presenting the protagonist in different emotions. The first section chronicles the break-up of the couple, and a sorrowful tone is established as she laments her former mistakes. In the second section, the narrative switches to the present, and the protagonist becomes increasingly agitated and feels "all out of her element" when she attempts to distract herself by listening to the radio, but fails. "We Belong Together" does not have a bridge; instead, Carey transitions into the third section by raising the pitch an octave, which emphasizes the sheer frustration and desperation of the protagonist. Metro Times writer Johnny Loftus described the song's production, lyrics and vocals in detail:
It’s straightforward, heartfelt and classy. Mariah pleads with her departed lover – 'When you left I lost a part of me / It’s still so hard to believe' – and the song’s gentle R&B roll is perfectly understated, built from a few piano chords and a slowed-down So So Def rhythm. It has a homebody quality, almost like an autumn song would – you can imagine a split-up couple singing it quietly, separately, as the world goes on around them. She’s on a porch with tea; he’s stuck in traffic when he finds Mariah on the radio. It even cleverly references that feel, with Mariah finding the Bobby Womack and Babyface songs on her radio just too tough to hear. There’s no tired 'I tried to 2-way you” retorts, no trash-technology love affair 'I was at the grocery store and this guy had the same ring tone as you, and I cried.' No, there’s a classic sensibility to the lyrics and sound of 'We Belong Together' that makes for perfect – and perfectly universal – pop/R&B songwriting. In other words, it’s the jam. And there’s probably a happy ending, too: Mariah’s triumphant octave shift finale makes the song’s title an emphatic.
"We Belong Together" is a simple, understated musical arrangement set in C major and composed in 4/4 time. Similarly, within the song, Carey's voice spans from G3 to the high note of A5. Carey's vocal range is demonstrated with a greater emphasis in the ending chorus, where the chorus is raised an octave higher, lying from G4 to A5. As such, Carey ends with an anticipated coda, completing both the chorus and the song with a potent, belted note of C5 for approximately four semibreves (around 17 seconds). It follows the common verse-chorus form and is structured into three sections that portray the protagonist in a range of emotions; from doleful and resigned in the first section, to desperate and agitated in the second. In the last section the song climaxes with an octave raise, which not only emphasizes the protagonist's heightened desperation, but her determination to be with her lover.
Unlike most of Carey's recent singles at that time, "We Belong Together" received generally positive reviews from critics, most of whom hailed the song as her "return to form", following reviews for Charmbracelet (2002), that suggested Carey had lost her signature vocal range and power. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine wrote "the...diva [keeps] cool with breathy, rapid-fire verses until the final full strong-voiced climax that... proves that 'The Voice' has indeed returned." Additionally, he claimed that "The song is as 'innovative' as Mariah has been in years." Other critics commended Carey on her novel singing style which, according to Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times, gave the song its propulsion, writing "This style is part of the reason why she has been able to turn a ballad into a summer smash. 'We Belong Together' doesn't have a guest rapper, or a hard-hitting beat, but Ms. Carey's tricky vocal lines give the song more propulsion than you'd expect, with tightly coiled counter-rhythms that tug against the beat." Johnny Loftus from Metro Times called it a "summer hit" and wrote "We all know it’s the intangibles that make a summer single anyway, those untraceable currents that grab the heart and feet, and despite not being an anthem, 'We Belong Together' is that rousing."
Writing for Vibe, Michael Ehrlich claimed the song would "cut across generations", while Cinquemani felt it would revive "faith in Mariah the balladeer". Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic chose "We Belong Together" as a "top Pick" from the album, while Todd Burns from Stylus Magazine described it as "beautifully cadenced". Echoing Cinquemani's comments about the song and Carey's past as a balladeer, Jozen Cummings from PopMatters wrote "Carey makes the song her own, reminding fans of her 'Hero' days with full, throaty vocals and a crashing climax at the end. The dichotomy between 'The Emancipation of Mimi's' first two tracks is the album’s bread and butter." Since first hearing the song on the radio, Sherri Winston from South Florida Sun-Sentinel claimed she "knew it would be a smash", complimenting its understated beat and Carey's vocals. Billboard's Michael Paoletta described "We Belong Together" as one of the album's strongest cuts, claiming that it highlighted the strongest focal point on the song: Carey's voice. Slant Magazine ranked it 2nd on their best songs of 2005 list.
Between 2001 and 2004, Carey's popularity had substantially declined and many had considered her career over. However, after being released by MSN on March 23, 2005, and to North American radio on March 29, 2005, "We Belong Together" became the most popular song for Carey's post-2000 career. The song spent fourteen non-consecutive weeks at number one on both the US Billboard Hot 100—after making its debut at number 81—and on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It had major cross-over success, becoming the first song to simultaneously occupy the number one position on nine Billboard charts on the week ending August 6, 2005: the Hot 100, Billboard Hot 100 Airplay, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, Pop 100 Airplay, Top 40 Mainstream, Rhythmic Airplay Chart, Hot Dance Club Songs, and the Hot Ringtones charts. Spending fourteen weeks atop the Hot 100, "We Belong Together" became the second longest running number one song in US chart history, behind only Carey's 1995 collaboration with Boyz II Men, "One Sweet Day", which spent sixteen weeks at number one. Aside from its chart success, the song broke several airplay records, and according to Mediabase and Nielsen BDS, gathered both the largest one-day and one-week audiences in BDS history, reaching 32.8 million and 223 million impressions respectively. This record was held until it was broken by Robin Thicke's lead-single on his Blurred Lines album Blurred Lines in 2013, eight years later, with 234.65 million listeners on July 28th. To date, "We Belong Together" has been listened to more than 8 billion times in the United States alone. During the week of September 25, 2005, Carey set another record, becoming the first female to occupy the first two spots atop the Hot 100, as "We Belong Together" remained at number one, and her next single, "Shake It Off" held the number two spot. Additionally, the song held the top position on the official Hot 100 Airplay chart for sixteen weeks, tying for the second all time spot with No Doubt's "Don't Speak" (1996). "We Belong Together" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of a million copies throughout the United States. On the Billboard Hot 100 Year-end Chart of 2005, the song was declared the number one song, a career first for Carey. Billboard listed "We Belong Together" ninth on The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs and second on Top Billboard Hot 100 R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song was also declared the most popular song of the 2000s decade by Billboard, which makes Carey the first artist to have more than one song being the most popular of a decade, as "One Sweet Day" was the most popular song of the 1990s.
Besides its success in the United States, "We Belong Together" achieved strong charting throughout Europe and Australasia. On the ARIA Charts, the song debuted atop the singles chart in Australia during the week dated July 3, 2005. The following week, it held the number one spot for a second week, and stayed on the chart for a total of eleven weeks. To date, "We Belong Together" was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of 70,000 units. The song finished at number seventeen on the 2005 Australian Year-End Chart. In both Flemish and Wallonian territories in Belgium, "We Belong Together" peaked at numbers twelve and twenty-four, spending a total of fifteen and fourteen weeks fluctuating in the singles chart, respectively. The song finished at number forty-seven on the Flemish Year-End Chart of 2005. "We Belong Together" made its debut at number fifteen on the Danish Tracklisten chart during the week of August 7, 2005, eventually peaking at number three. In France, the song peaked at number twelve, and spent nineteen weeks fluctuating within the French singles chart. On the Dutch Top 40 chart, "We Belong Together" reached number one in its fourth week, and spent a total of sixteen weeks in the chart, four of which were at the number two position. The song finished at number forty-one on the Dutch Year-End Chart of 2005. In New Zealand, the song spend three weeks at number two on the singles chart, and a total of twelve before making its exit on October 3, 2005. At the end of 2005, "We Belong Together" finished at number thirty-six, and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), denoting shipments of over 15,000 units. In both Norway and Spain, the song peaked at number nine and three, and spent nine and seven weeks within the charts. In Switzerland, the song peaked at number four on the official singles chart, and charted for thirteen weeks. During mid-week predictions in the United Kingdom, "We Belong Together" was positioned to become Carey's third UK number one single. However, it wound up debuting at number two on the UK Singles Chart, selling 39,436 copies, only 392 copies behind Tupac Shakur's "Ghetto Gospel". In its second week, the song dropped to number three, before re-surfacing to number two in its third week, this time blocked by James Blunt's "You're Beautiful". The song spent a total of eighteen weeks within the singles chart, and has estimated sales of over 240,000 units in the United Kingdom.
Awards and nominations
"We Belong Together" was awarded several prestigious music industry awards throughout 2005 and 2006. At the 2005 Billboard Music Awards ceremony, Carey won five awards, with the song receiving awards in the "Rhythmic Top 40 Title of the Year", "Hot 100 song of the Year" and "Hot 100 Airplay of the Year" categories. On November 6, 2005, Carey earned two awards for "We Belong Together" at the Radio Music Awards ceremony, in the "Song of the Year/Mainstream Hit Radio" and "Song of the Year/Urban and Rhythmic Radio" categories. Similarly, "We Belong Together" won the "Best R&B/Soul Single" and "Best R&B/Soul Single, Female" awards at the 20th annual Soul Train Music Awards, "Choice Love Song" at the Teen Choice Awards, "Best R&B Song" at the Vibe Awards, and "World's Most-Played Single" at the 2005 World Music Awards.
At the 48th annual Grammy Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 8, 2006, Carey was nominated for eight awards, the most she had received in one night throughout her career. "We Belong Together" was nominated for all three top categories; however, it won two awards: "Best R&B Song" and "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance". The song was named "Song of the Year" at the ASCAP Awards, and "Song of the Year", "Most Performed Song" and "Number-one Billboard Song" at the BMI Awards. Towards the summer of 2006, Carey took home "Song of the Year", "Best Pop Female Song Performance" and "Best R&B/Soul Female Song Performance" at the GrooveVolt Music & Fashion Awards.
Carey recorded an official remix version for "We Belong Together", which she produced with DJ Clue. The remix features vocals from rappers Jadakiss and Styles P, two-thirds of the hip-hop trio The LOX. The remix is fundamentally different from the original, described as having a "a faster, springier backbeat" by Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times. Lyrically, the song is similar to the album version of the song, in which both rappers' verses contemplate on past memories. Styles P raps "Past is the past, just let it be bygones / Matter of fact I know a fly song that we could vibe on", which Sanneh writes "Cheerfully out of place, he sounds like a man who has wandered into the wrong summertime party, but so what? He figures he might as well stick around and enjoy it." In two separate reviews of The Emancipation of Mimi, Sanneh referred to the song as both "great" and "excellent", in regards to the remix.
Aside from the album version's main remix, several others were commissioned and released, although none contained new vocals from Carey. Peter Rauhofer created the "Reconstruction Mix/Atlantic Soul Vocal Mix" and "Atlantic Soul Vocal Mix", which both feature a synthetic bass line, a piano and guitar line, and distinctive hi-hats that produce a more up-tempo, hard-hitting beat.
The song's music video premiered worldwide on April 11, 2005, although MSN offered an exclusive look at the music video on April 9. Carey's "We Belong Together" is Yahoo! Music's most watched video of 2005 with 7.5 million streamed performances. The video was shot by film director Brett Ratner in Los Angeles alongside the video for Carey's previous single, "It's Like That". Carey had collaborated with Ratner several times in the past, having worked on the video for "Heartbreaker", which became one of the most expensive of all time, costing an estimated $2.5 million. The video was filmed through February 9 to February 10, 2005, in conjunction with "It's Like That" and serves as the second half to the two-part story. The music video for "It's Like That" features Carey at her bachelorette party set to wed an older and powerful man, played by Eric Roberts. Towards the end of the video, her ex-lover and past flame, played by Wentworth Miller, arrives at the event, and the video concludes with them staring into each other's eyes as Carey's soon-to-be husband watches from a balcony. The video for "We Belong Together" finishes their tale of love, and features Carey on her wedding day. For the scenes of Carey's wedding to the older man, she wore her Vera Wang gown she originally wore during her nuptials to Tommy Mottola in 1993. In an interview with MSNBC, when asked if there was a connection to the use of the dress in the video and reality, Carey responded:
The wedding dress was a Vera Wang original dress from a while ago that I actually wore on a certain occasion and had it in storage and when we came up with the concept for the video that had the element of a wedding in it, I said, ‘well, I do have my old wedding dress,’. 'It’s still worth [sic] for me ’cause I can’t believe I was ever married but whatever, end of story. And I knew that we wouldn’t be able to get a fabulous dress like in two days so I just took that dress out of the storage – it has a 27-foot train and it was just all hand-beaded and stuff and so I figured we might as well get a use out of it.'
The video features Carey readying for her wedding, and follows her to the altar, as well as her escape from the reception. Many of the actors featured in Carey's "It's Like That" video were in that of "We Belong Together", which was shot as a continuation from the "It's Like That" video. It begins with a scene of a large mansion, apparently owned by the older man who she is to marry. Carey is seen walking barefoot in a room, shedding a black sheer robe and laying down on a bed draped with white linens. Dressed in lingerie, Carey's face is shown close-up, as scenes of her tossing in the bed are shown. As the song begins, Carey is seen sitting in front of a large mirror, preparing for her wedding by putting on earrings and shoes, and staring at the ring on her finger. Additional scenes of Carey sitting on a small blue sofa, wearing a purple dress, and Carey staring at the camera during a shower moment are interspersed. The wedding is then shown, with Miller approaching the reception through a stairwell in the back. Small children as seen throwing flowers on the white carpet, followed by Roberts and Carey walking down the aisle.
As Carey, now dry and clothed, is shown in another scenario following the dressing scene, a still of Carey and Miller in the video for "It's like That" is shown, during the lyrics "I can't sleep at night / When you are on my mind". After several other scenes of Carey dressed in the purple gown and white shirt are interspersed, the altar is displayed, where before being ordained by the minister, Carey looks into her ex-lover's eyes once more. She turns to Roberts, and begins running towards Miller, leaving the reception. As the song's climax is reached, Carey and Miller are shown running from the reception, as the guests stand up in awe, and watch the pair leave. Carey, dressed in the white shirt, is shown with growing anticipation, crying to the camera and moving her hands and hair. Back at the wedding scene, Carey and her lover get into his vehicle, and drive away as her 27-foot train hangs behind the car. The video was nominated for "Best R&B Video" and "Best Female Video" at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.
Due to its continued chart success, Carey performed "We Belong Together" on several live televised performances and included it on the set-lists of all of her tours following its release. In the United Kingdom, Carey filmed a two-part appearance on the British music program Top of the Pops, performing "It's Like That", "We Belong Together", and "Shake It Off". Additional European and Asian appearances included an interview on the French talk show Le Grand Journal, and a performance of "We Belong Together" on both Music Station and Riponggi Hills in Japan. After returning to the United States for a string of televised performances, Carey launched the release of the album on Good Morning America, in the form of a five-piece outdoor concert. The concert, taking place in Times Square and featuring the largest crowd in the plaza since the 2004 New Year's Eve celebration, featured the first three singles from the album, as well as "Fly Like a Bird" and "Make It Happen" (1991). The following week, she performed "We Belong Together" at the 2005 BET Awards, with an additional appearance at the annual VH1 Save the Music special, filmed live on April 17 from the Beacon Theatre. Throughout May, Carey appeared on several US television programs, performing "We Belong Together" on the Late Show with David Letterman (May 5), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (May 11), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (May 13), which included a performance of "It's Like That". As June approached, Carey made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show (May 24), featuring a live rendition of "We Belong Together". She appeared on stage wearing a long blue evening gown, and featured a four piece band, as well as three background vocalists. Eleven days later on June 4, she performed at the annual Macy's Fourth of July Parade, singing "America the Beautiful" and "We Belong Together".
The following week, Carey made a live appearance at the 2005 annual MTV Movie Awards. The recital aired on television in black and white format, with Carey wearing a red Armani Privé and sporting a retro curled hairstyle, appearing in color. She performed "We Belong Together" on a white runway-styled stage with four male and female dancers. Following the stateside promotion of the album, Carey traveled to the United Kingdom on July 2, 2005 for a benefit concert held in Hyde Park, London titled Live 8. The televised event was watched by over 9.6 million British citizens and held a live audience of over 200,000. Carey performed a three song set-list, opening with "We Belong Together" and "Make It Happen", and followed by "Hero", which featured a live choir of African children. On August 3, USA Today announced that Carey would be added to the roster of performers at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, held on the 28th of the month. The ceremony was held at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami Beach Florida, with Carey's performance taking place at the National Hotel in South Beach. Apart from The Killers, she was the only performer to tape their appearance from an undisclosed location in Miami. After being introduced by Eva Longoria, Carey appeared on a long stage in the hotel's courtyard, with Dupri opening the song in a nearby cabana. After performing "Shake It Off" and the official remix version of "We Belong Together", Carey made her way into the shallow pool, followed by Dupri and the back-up dancers. Following the awards ceremony, Carey once again took to Europe, being featured as a head-lining performer at the 2005 Fashion Rocks, held in Monaco. Following her introduction by Donatella Versace, Carey performed the Peter Rauhofer Remix for "We Belong Together" on a suspended rafter, while wearing a metallic Versace gown. Carey played a similarly-choreographed performance of the song's Peter Rauhofer Remix at the German Bambi Awards, held in October 2005. Two months later, she celebrated the new year on television, placing as the featured performer at the Times Square Ball drop on New Year's Eve in New York. The special, titled Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, aired on ABC at 10 pm on December 31, and featured Carey on stage wearing a short sparkling dress, and performing a selection of the album's singles.
At the 48th Grammy Awards, held on February 8, 2006, Carey was nominated for eight awards—the most she had ever received in one night. That night, Carey returned to the Grammy stage for the first time since 1996. Her performance opened with a pre-taped video in which she discussed the importance of God and religion in her life. Carey then came to the stage, dressed in a white Chanel gown, and sang a shortened version of "We Belong Together". Next, Carey's pastor Clarence Keaton read a Bible passage to open Carey's performance of "Fly Like a Bird", as he did in the studio recording of the song. Midway through the song, a black temporary wall was removed, revealing a large choir who joined Carey for the song's gospel climax. The performance earned the night's only standing ovation, prompting Teri Hatcher, who was presenting the next award, to exclaim, "It's like we've all just been saved!" Carey's performance earned rave reviews from critics. Gary Susman from Entertainment Weekly called Carey the "comeback queen", noting that her voice "soar[ed] into the rafters like only Carey's can." Carey included "We Belong Together" on both succeeding tours following its release, the Adventures of Mimi and Angels Advocate Tours. On the former, the song was featured as the encore number, with Carey re-entering the arenas in a form fitting beige evening gown. Backed by three background vocalists, Trey Lorenz, Sherry Tatum, and MaryAnn Tatum, Carey began the song as confetti dropped the arena rafters. According to Jennifer Vineyard from MTV News, the performance was "a major accomplishment", and the highlight of the show, and found Carey re-connect with the audience in ways that she was unable throughout most of the show. Similarly, during her Angel's Advocate Tour, the song was placed as one of the final numbers on the set-list. Dressed in a black Herve Leger gown, Carey introduced the song as the Billboard's "song of the decade", and thanked the audience for making it her 16th number-one single in the United States. Following the song's completion, Carey exited the arena for a few moments, before returning to perform "Hero" as the encore.
Formats and track listings
Australian CD Single
Danish maxi-single (Promo)
European CD single
Japanese CD single
UK CD Single
UK CD maxi-single
US CD Single (Promo)
Credits and personnel
Credits for The Emancipation of Mimi adapted from the album's liner notes.
- Mariah Carey – songwriting, producer, vocals, background vocals
- Jermaine Dupri – songwriting, producer
- Manuel Seal – songwriting, producer
- Johntá Austin – songwriting
- Bobby Womack – songwriting
- Patrick Moten – songwriting
- Kenneth Edmonds – songwriting
- Darnell Bristol – songwriting
- Sandra Sully – songwriting
- Brian Frye – engineer
- Herb Power – mastering
Charts and certifications
- List of best-selling singles
- List of number-one singles in Australia in 2005
- List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 2005 (U.S.)
- List of number-one R&B singles of 2005 (U.S.)
- List of number-one dance singles of 2005 (U.S.)
- List of number-one dance airplay hits of 2005 (U.S.)