Can't Let Go (Mariah Carey song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Can't Let Go"
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Emotions
B-side "To Be Around You"
"The Wind"
"I Don't Wanna Cry"
"All In Your Mind"
Released October 23, 1991 (1991-10-23)
Format CD single, cassette single, 7" single
Recorded April 1991
Genre R&B, quiet storm
Length 4:27 (album version)
3:49 (single version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
Producer(s) Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Emotions"
(1991)
"Can't Let Go"
(1991)
"Make It Happen"
(1992)
Emotions track listing
"And You Don't Remember"
(2)
"Can't Let Go"
(3)
"Make It Happen"
(4)
Greatest Hits track listing
"Emotions"
(5)
"Can't Let Go"
(6)
"Make It Happen"
(7)
The Essential Mariah Carey track listing
"Emotions"
(5)
"Can't Let Go"
(6)
"Make It Happen"
(7)

"Can't Let Go" is a ballad written and produced by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff, and recorded for Carey's second album Emotions (1991). It was released as the album's second single in the fourth quarter of 1991 in the United States and the first quarter of 1992 elsewhere. The protagonist of this synthesizer-heavy ballad laments an ex-lover who has moved on, and though she tries she "can't let go."

Carey had fallen out with her songwriting partner Ben Margulies following a financial dispute, and her record label suggested that she work with the other producers of her debut album such as Rhett Lawrence, Ric Wake and Narada Michael Walden. She chose Walter Afanasieff, who had produced her second single "Love Takes Time" (1990), and "Can't Let Go" was one of the songs they created. After the release of the single "Emotions," "Can't Let Go" was promoted on both The Arsenio Hall Show in September 1991 and Saturday Night Live in November 1991 when she was the musical guest in the episode which featured Linda Hamilton as the host.

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic editor Ashley S. Battel wrote that "yearning cries for a lost love in "Can't Let Go" serves to send the listener on a musical journey filled with varying emotions.[1] Los Angeles Times editor Dennis Hunt wrote that in this song Mariah is playing a wounded lover.[2] Rob Tannenbaum of Rolling Stone wrote that "moody grandeur" of this song will sound great on radio.[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Carey's first five American singles (most recently "Emotions") had reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Can't Let Go" ended the streak when it reached number two (kept from #1 by "All 4 Love" by Color Me Badd), and spent 17 weeks in the top 40. The record company had taken the single off from sales before it could reach number 1, in an attempt to boost sales of Emotions. The song topped the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks, where it became Carey's fourth number one single; the next single "Make It Happen" would break that streak. "Can't Let Go" ranked 20th on the 1992 Hot 100 year-end charts.

"Can't Let Go" reached the UK top 20 and the Canadian top ten. It became her lowest peaking single at the time in all of the major Anglophone singles markets (with the exception of the UK), and failed to make the Australian top 50.

Music video and songs' versions[edit]

The single's video, directed by Jim Sonzero, features Carey wearing an evening gown and her hair in a bun. Filmed in black and white, the video starts and closes with shots of a rose open and closed respectively.

A radio edit of the song was promoted to radio and used for the video instead of the original song, and the edit eliminates the lengthy pre-intro and removes all of Carey's high notes at the song's beginning and end. Like Carey's previous U.S. singles, "Can't Let Go" won a BMI Pop Award in 1993.

Copyright issues[edit]

In 1992, writers Sharon Taber and Ron Gonzalez filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Carey and Afanasieff citing that "Can't Let Go" was taken from their unknown song, "Right Before My Eyes." The plaintiffs demanded to obtain copies of the studio recording tapes to see if conversation between Carey and Afanasieff would prove them guilty. However, after being reviewed, the only guilty fear apparent was Mariah Carey quoted as saying "Can't Let Go" was sounding "too much like our other song." The lawsuit was later dropped or settled out of court.[4]

Track listings[edit]

Worldwide CD single

  1. "Can't Let Go" (edit)
  2. "To Be Around You"

European CD maxi-single #1

  1. "Can't Let Go" (edit)
  2. "To Be Around You"
  3. "The Wind"

European CD maxi-single #2

  1. "Can't Let Go" (edit)
  2. "I Don't Wanna Cry"
  3. "All in Your Mind"

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
  • Recorded at Skywalker Sound, Marin Country; The Plant Recording Studios, Sausalito; Right Track Recording, NYC.
  • Mixed at Right Track Recording, NYC.
Personnel
  • Lyrics – Mariah Carey
  • Music – Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
  • Production – Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
  • Keyboards, Synthesizers, Synthesizer Bass, Synclavier Acoustic Guitar, Drums and Percussion Arrangement and Programming – Walter Afanasieff
  • Guitars – Michael Landau
  • Synclavier/Akai Programming – Ren Klyce
  • Synclavier/Macintosh Programming – Gary Cirmelli
  • Arrangement – Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
  • Engineer – Dana Jon Chapelle
  • Assistant engineers; Bruce Calder, Craig Silvey
  • Mixing – Dana Jon Chapelle
  • Vocal arrangement – Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
  • Background vocals – Mariah Carey


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Emotions.[5]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Keep Coming Back" by Richard Marx
Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
January 18 - February 1, 1992
Succeeded by
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by George Michael with Elton John