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Glitter Soundtrack album (Virgin, 2001)

The Glitter soundtrack album was technically American superstar Mariah Carey’s eighth studio album. It was released on September 11, 2001 and was the first album of Carey’s unprecedented $100 million five-album deal secured after Carey left Columbia Records, the label that turned her into the star she was. The album was a complete departure from any of Carey’s previous releases and focused heavily on recreating a 1980s disco feel by covering and heavily sampling numerous older tunes and songs. Criticism of the album included too many guest features and a failure to truly recapture a genuine 1980s feel. Both the film and the soundtrack were commercial and critical failures. So much so that Virgin cancelled Carey’s deal paying her $28 million to leave and dropped her from the label. The Glitter soundtrack debuted at an abysmal (for Carey) #7 and had the lowest first-week sales of any album Carey released. Internationally, the soundtrack peaked outside the top ten in many countries and has only sold 2 million copies worldwide, securing its place as Carey’s least successful album of all time.

Loverboy was the album’s lead single and initially sales were low. When the song stalled on American charts, Virgin dropped the price to 99 cents. The plan worked to spur sales and helped the single to peak at #2 on the pop chart. The second single, Never Too Far didn’t have the same help and peaked at #81. The other singles Don’t Stop and Reflections (Care Enough) failed to chart.

Carey continues to blame the September 11 terrorist attacks for the poor performance of both the film and the soundtrack as well as her poor personal health at the time. Blaming the terrorist attack is a poor excuse indeed and her personal health had slipped long before September. (In July 2001, Carey appeared on Total Request Live during which her behavior was described as bizarre and erratic. Shortly after that appearance she was hospitalized for “extreme exhaustion” and a “physical and emotional breakdown” and an unconfirmed suicide attempt which Carey continues to deny.) It was this hospitalization that led Virgin to delay the film and the soundtrack to September, from August 21 to September 11. However, also blaming the release delay is a poor excuse as well. A star of Carey’s proportion shouldn’t have needed a huge push to make her work commercially successful at that point in her career. By this time, Carey had had an 11-year musical career and was at the top of her field, having been named Billboard’s Artist of the Decade for the 1990s. The truth is the film and the music were terrible plain and simple. While the other stuff was definitely unfortunate and badly timed, none of it was to blame for the poor performances.

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