The Art of Letting Go
|"The Art of Letting Go"|
|Single by Mariah Carey|
|from the album Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse|
|Released||November 11, 2013|
|Mariah Carey singles chronology|
"The Art of Letting Go" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey for her fourteenth studio album, Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse (2014). It was released on November 11, 2013 by Island Records. Upon release, critics revered the song as a "return to basics," praising Carey's vocal control throughout the song. It was also heavily compared Carey's debut single, "Vision of Love" (1990). "The Art of Letting Go" was most successful in South Korea and Australia, where it reached number seven and number eight on the Singles Chart and Urban Singles chart, respectively.
The "Art of Letting Go" was originally released as the second single from Carey's formerly-named fourteenth studio album of the same name, following the lead single "Beautiful" featuring Miguel that was commercially successful, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and receiving a platinum certification from RIAA. In June 2013, Carey left a message to her fans, stating: "While making this album, I got so immersed in the creative process that I just don't feel I would be doing it justice to release it on 7/23. I'd rather not exclude meaningful songs. I want to give you this album as it's meant to be heard. When I'm ready, you'll be the first 2 know!....". In July 2013, Carey shot a video clip for the remix of "Beautiful" featuring Young Jeezy but an unexpected accident on the set resulted in the singer having a dislocated shoulder - thus delaying the album even more - as Carey stated the she needs time to recover. On November 11, 2013; during a Q&A session following the song's Facebook release, Carey gave an update about the album, stating: "Now I've been inspired to add two more songs so we're almost there. I can't even express this properly but I feel like this is gonna be my favorite album.
Composition and lyrical interpretation
"The Art of Letting Go" is an empowering gospel and classic R&B ballad with use of the piano, strings, and guitar. It was written by Carey and Jerkins. The lyrics of the song talks about a personal experience Carey faced throughout the years specifically her early career days when she was signed to Columbia Records through her relationship with her then-husband, the former executive of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola. At that time she was not being herself and did not produce the music she always wanted to be, until her 1997 studio album, Butterfly, changed her image drastically. Carey wrote on her Facebook page that she never likes to be specific in her lyrical content to any song so all the fans can add their experiences and related to the song. "For the first time Ever! 'The Art of Letting Go' on Facebook!!!!...This is such a personal record to me. I wrote the lyrics so that anyone and everyone could relate to them and hopefully release anything that they need to let go of that’s holding them back or bringing them down. Thank you for sharing this experience with me!" The song was originally inspiration to also call the album The Art of Letting Go however, during in interview with MTV in February 2014, Carey revealed that she was frustrated the album title leaked as she had not intended for the public to know about it just yet, as a result she would be retitling the album.
Carey's new manager and longtime friend Jermaine Dupri planned to release the song via the singer's official Facebook page on November 11, 2013. Carey stated that she wanted to share the song on Facebook since the music industry is taking advantage of the social media where the fans can globally listen to the song at once despite the time difference. Commenting on the personal message of the song, Carey wrote to her fans on her Facebook page: "I could not be more thrilled to announce that my new single, 'The Art Of Letting Go', will be released exclusively on Facebook on 11 November. This song is very personal to me and I am very excited to share this experience with you in a way so intimate. I do not even know what to say". In an Interview with Fuse conducted on October 24, 2013, Carey spke about her relationship with her fans: "It's not like, 'Oh, here comes the new world of the Internet. Let me figure out how to adapt myself into this.' No. It was always either calling my fans... or having fans wait hours on end in front of a signing, and I tried to do things like buy pizza for them."
On being asked about the release strategy, Dupri stated to Global14 that in the age of illegal download and biased radio airplay, Facebook is the best place on the internet to keep Carey's fans updated to her latest work where many of whom are now old-schooled and may not have iTunes account nor a large fan base like contemporary established artists. He added: "With basically 1 day left before the release of 'The Art Of Letting Go' on Mariah's Facebook page, I thought it was important to share with my Lifers, things I’ve learned through this exercise. First off, as big as Facebook is, when it comes to music people still question how much ground will actually get covered, I've gotten messages every day from lambs like this. Mariah’s fanbase isn’t like Biebers in that it isn't full of teenagers who sit on iTunes. Many of them are old skool and need to be exposed to the song on radio first to want to support her, so while the Facebook premiere will attract a lot of die hard fans, many more fans will only be exposed to Mariah by airplay and that is what will drive up her iTunes position."
On October 28, 2013, Carey uploaded the single artwork on her Instagram. The revealed artwork shows Carey kneeling down on a beach in front of a sunset. Sam Lanksy on Idolator commanded the sexiness of Carey's emancipated body [...]" Wearing a swimsuit thing on a beach against a golden sunset, sporting tousled waves, her body is emancipated — just like her spirit". He also thought that it is more creative than the single cover of "Beautiful" as Carey appears more free here. "It's also an upgrade from the dismally sloppy 'Beautiful' artwork — and a good sign of things to come".
Upon its release, "The Art of Letting Go" was met with general acclaim from contemporary music critics. Mike Ayers of Rolling Stone complimented the song's overall production describing it as Carey's most controlled performance in years as well as commending the notes at the climax through calling them classic Mariah. "The melancholy number finds Carey in fine form, exploring loss over a smooth, orchestral production. The song builds steadily over three and a half minutes, and just when you think that it might be one of Carey's more controlled performances in years, she brings it home with classic Carey high notes."Rap-Up acclaimed the song and the personal direction of the single, writing: "The wait is over. After overcoming a painful injury, Mariah Carey soars once again with her new single 'The Art of Letting Go'." Erika Ramirez of Billboard complimented lyrical content describing Carey as singing after a heartbreak and she commended Carey for the vocal belts towards the end.
Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly compared the song as a nice throwback of "Vision of Love" as well as commending the hooked lyrics and the use of the line "Go to Mimi on your contact/ press delete". Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast hailed the simplicity of the ballad and commended that overall synthesized production of the song "'The Art of Letting Go', is a much-needed lesson that great pop music is composed of the most basic group of ingredients—a stellar voice and straightforward orchestrations—even if it’s admittedly not the most explosive track that Carey has ever produced." Brian Mansfield of USA Today described the song as a "gospel ballad" and proof that Carey "could, indeed, sound captivating singing the phone book... 'The Art of Letting Go' is a vent disguised as a gospel ballad and has lyrics that often sound rushed and awkward."
Robert Copsey of Digital Spy awarded the song four stars out of five, commending the single title. "It's a typically wordy but wonderfully apt name, given that after the so-so success of previous offering '#Beautiful' (and disastrous showing for "buzz" single 'Triumphant') she delayed its release from July to some time next year. But after endless teasing, could this be the smash she's seemingly holding out for?". Additionally Copsey didn't expect any commercial success for the single since Carey admitted that she doesn't follow any particular trend in music, he added "The short answer is no. An orchestral R&B ballad packed with Mariah-isms ('Go to Mimi on your contacts... press delete') and no major hook is never going to set the charts alight, but something tells us Carey is more than aware of this. Rather than buying into the current trends for EDM, guest rappers or shock tactics, she's adopted a welcomely serene approach and stripped it back to the core basics of her earlier work: old-school soul that culminates in a stunning finale that only Mariah knows how."
- Digital download
- "The Art of Letting Go" – 3:44
|South Korea (Gaon International Chart)||7|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||90|
|US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)||19|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||46|
|US Digital Songs (Billboard)||57|
|Worldwide||November 11, 2013||Facebook premiere|
|United States||Digital download|
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