Through the Rain
|"Through the Rain"|
|Single by Mariah Carey|
|from the album Charmbracelet|
|Released||October 17, 2002|
|Format||CD single, 12-inch single|
|Writer(s)||Mariah Carey, Lionel Cole|
|Producer||Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis|
|Mariah Carey singles chronology|
"Through the Rain" is a song by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, taken from her ninth studio album, Charmbracelet (2002). It was written by Carey and Lionel Cole, and produced by the former and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The song was released as the album's lead single on October 17, 2002. Classified by Carey as a ballad, it draws influence from pop and R&B music genres, and features a simple and under-stated piano melody, backed by soft electronic synthesizers. "Through the Rain" was meant to be an insight into Carey personal struggles throughout 2001. Lyrically, the song finds Carey encouraging others that no matter what may lie in opposition, one must find one's inner strength and make it "through the rain".
The song was met with generally positive reception from music critics. Many complimented the song's inspirational lyrical content, and described it as an open window into Carey's personal life for listeners. However, while some reviewers were fond of the song's restrained vocals and production, others found the song to be too dramatic and a poor choice for a first single. The song became Carey's lowest charting single to date on the US Billboard Hot 100, and her first lead single to that point to not reach the top ten in the United States. Though stalling at number eighty-one, it managed to achieve stronger international charting, reaching the #1 spot in Spain and peaking within the top ten in Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Carey performed "Through the Rain" live on several television and award show appearances around the world. She debuted the song at the 2002 NRJ Awards, and features it on a one-hour special titled Mariah Carey: Shining Through the Rain, which aired three days later on MTV. In the United States, Carey performed the song on Today, filmed at Mall of America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and 30th annual American Music Awards, held on January 13, 2003. Throughout Europe, Carey performed the song on The Graham Norton Show and on talent competition, Fame Academy. Additionally, "Through the Rain" was included on the set-list of Carey's Charmbracelet World Tour: An Intimate Evening with Mariah Carey, which spanned throughout 2003–04.
The music video, directed by Dave Meyers, was filmed on location in New York City on September 30 and October 1, 2002. Set in the late 1960s, the video features a past and present story-line based on Carey's childhood, and stars J. D. Williams and Jamie-Lynn Sigler as the singer's parents. The video begins with past scenes of Carey's mother being disowned by her family after becoming romantically involved with a black man, and finds the singer in the present walking through a heavy rainstorm in New York. The song was covered on live television by Filipino singers Regine Velasquez and Charice Pempengco.
- 1 Background
- 2 Release
- 3 Composition
- 4 Critical reception
- 5 Commercial performance
- 6 Music video
- 7 Live performances
- 8 Formats and track listings
- 9 Credits and personnel
- 10 Charts
- 11 References
- 12 External links
After she received Billboard's Artist of the Decade Award and the World Music Award for Best-Selling Female Artist of the Millennium in 2000, Carey parted from Columbia Records and signed a record-breaking $100 million five-album recording contract with Virgin (EMI Records). She often stated that Columbia had regarded her as a commodity, with her separation from Tommy Mottola exacerbating her relations with label executives. Just a few months later, in July, 2001, it was widely reported that Carey had suffered a physical and emotional breakdown. and her relationship with the Latin icon Luis Miguel ended. In an interview the following year, she said, "I was with people who didn't really know me and I had no personal assistant. I'd do interviews all day long and get two hours of sleep a night, if that." Carey began posting a series of disturbing messages on her official website, and displayed erratic behavior on several live promotional outings. On July 19, 2001, Carey made a surprise appearance on the MTV program Total Request Live (TRL). As the show's host Carson Daly began taping following a commercial break, Carey came out pushing an ice cream cart while wearing a large men's shirt, and began a striptease, in which she shed her shirt to reveal a tight yellow and green ensemble. While she later revealed that Daly was aware of her presence in the building prior to her appearance, Carey's appearance on TRL garnered strong media attention.
Only days later, Carey began posting irregular voice notes and messages on her official website: "I'm trying to understand things in life right now and so I really don't feel that I should be doing music right now. What I'd like to do is just a take a little break or at least get one night of sleep without someone popping up about a video. All I really want is [to] just be me and that's what I should have done in the first place ... I don't say this much but guess what, I don't take care of myself." Following the quick removal of the messages, Berger commented that Carey had been "obviously exhausted and not thinking clearly" when she posted the letters. On July 26, she was hospitalized, citing "extreme exhaustion" and a "physical and emotional breakdown". News websites and programs began reporting how Carey threatened to commit suicide by slitting her wrists the night before, and how Patricia, Carey's mother, hastily called for help. When questioned regarding Carey's suicidal rumor, Berger claimed she had broken dishes out of desperation, and as a result, accidentally cut her hands and feet. Carey was inducted at an un-disclosed hospital in Connecticut, and remained hospitalized and under doctor's care for two weeks, followed by an extended absence from the public. Following the heavy media coverage surrounding Carey's publicized breakdown and hospitalization, Virgin Records and 20th Century Fox delayed the release of both Glitter, as well as its soundtrack of the same name.
Critics panned Glitter, as well as its accompanying soundtrack; both were unsuccessful commercially. The accompanying soundtrack album, Glitter, became Carey's lowest-selling album to that point. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed it as "an absolute mess that'll go down as an annoying blemish on a career that, while not always critically heralded, was at least nearly consistently successful." Following the negative cloud that was ensuing Carey's personal life at the time, as well as the project's poor reception, her unprecedented $100 million five-album record deal with Virgin Records (EMI Records) was bought out for $50 million. Soon after, Carey flew to Capri, Italy for a period of five months, in which she began writing material for her new album, stemming from all the personal experiences she had endured throughout the past year. Carey later said that her time at Virgin was "a complete and total stress-fest [...] I made a total snap decision which was based on money and I never make decisions based on money. I learned a big lesson from that." Later that year, she signed a contract with Island Records, valued at more than $24 million, and launched the record label MonarC. To add further to Carey's emotional burdens, her father, with whom she had little contact since childhood, died of cancer that year.
Throughout the first years of her career, Carey's musical styles mainly involved pop influenced R&B. Additionally, her image was of a reserved and modestly dressed female, or as Carey's later described it "the 90s version of Mary Poppins". As the 1990s wore on, Carey began featuring rappers on remixes, and began infusing hip-hop into her musical palette. As her music changed, so too did her image, which became more sexual, and aimed at younger audiences than the more contemporary appeal of her earlier works. According to Michael Paoletta from Billboard, "Through the Rain" was used not only as a vehicle for listeners to become more in-tune with Carey's personal struggles, but also as a means to "re-capture" her audience throughout the earlier stages of her career. A contemporary and pop ballad, he felt the song would find "much embrace" from her older fans, while her audience that grew accustomed to her hip-hop flavored music would feel "lost and abandoned". In an interview with MTV News, the song's co-producer Jimmy Jam described why Carey chose to release it as the lead single: "I think 'Through the Rain' is a great way to start the record, because it is emotional and it kind of speaks directly to the questions people might have about the last year of her life. It's a good idea to get that out of the way and move on to happy, less emotional songs."
The song's official remix features guest vocals from Kelly Price and Joe. The remix incorporates a more up-tempo background, and differs melodically from the original. While the album's co-producer, Jimmy Jam, described it as a "star search," Sarah Rodman from the Boston Herald felt that even though the remix was more up-beat than the original, it "failed to quicken the pulse."
A sample of "Through the Rain", featuring the song's simple and under-stated piano melody. Additionally, the song's lyrics are aimed to inspire listeners to find their "inner strength", and be able to walk alone through the turbulent times going on in their life.
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"Through the Rain" is a mid-tempo ballad, which draws influence from pop and R&B music genres. The song is built around a piano melody, and features a beat that is accentuated by synthesizers. Aside from its pop-driven melody and structure, Jeff Vrabel of the Chicago Sun-Times noted an hint of gospel towards the song's crescendo, describing it as "lite-gospel". Vocally, "Through the Rain" finds Carey singing in a "restrained" style for the duration of most of the song, as the first verse and chorus are sung in breathy vocals. After the second chorus, the bridge is linked to the song's climax through a long belted note. The Daily Union's David Germain felt the song's composition, as well as Carey's vocal performance were "simple and reserved", with Carey in "complete control" of her voice. "Through the Rain" was written by Carey and Lionel Cole and produced by the former and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Ltd., "Through the Rain" is set in common time with a tempo of 64 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of A-flat major but with the transposing key to A-major, with Carey's vocal range spanning from the low-note of E♭3 to the high-note of G5.
Lyrically, the song features an inspirational message of inner strength, and finds Carey reaching out to listeners. The song uses a rainstorm as a metaphor for troubles in life, while encouraging others to "make it through the rain" through perseverance. The fist chorus begins: "When you get caught in the rain / With no where to run / When your distraught and in pain without anyone / When you keep crying out to be saved", illustrating a moment in an individual's life where they are surrounded by conflict. The chorus then serves as a guide to those still suffering, "I can make it through the rain, I can stand up once again on my own / And I know that I'm strong enough to mend / And everytime I feel afraid I hold tighter to my faith / And I live one more day and I make it through the rain". Similarly, the second verse once again revisits difficult times when "shadows grow close", before continuing into the second chorus and climax. While the song in meant for listeners to gain confidence and strength, it also allows them into Carey's personal struggles she endured throughout 2001. Lola Ogunnaike of The New York Times described the song as a "triumph over adversity", while a writer from the Sydney Morning Herald wrote "its an insight into her recent troubles." In an interview with MTV News, Carey described the song's lyrical content in depth:
I've always tried to insert positivity into my songs wherever I can, to inspire other people who go through stuff. I mean the stuff they talked about in tabloids and the things that were so overly exaggerated, that's one aspect. I also went through a lot of personal stuff, a lot of family stuff this year. Losing a parent is an intense thing for anybody. It's brought me to another place. People are going to read into it as, 'This is Mariah and her struggle'. But the way I try to word it is, 'It's OK once you say I can make it through the rain.' Not just me going, 'I can make it through the rain,' it's me telling people that if you believe you can get through whatever you're going through, you can get to the other side.
"Through the Rain" received generally positive reviews from music critics; many complimented Carey's restrained vocal performance, as well as the song's simple instrumental accompaniment, while others criticized it for being overly-dramatic. Jon Pareles of The New York Times described it as "inspirational", and felt that due to its vagueness, the song is would be applicable to all listeners, not just Carey. The Daily Union's David Germain commented how the song's simple musical arrangement and Carey's "restrained" vocal delivery aided it in becoming "modest and reserved". Writing for Billboard, Michael Paoletta chose "Through the Rain" as a top pick from the album, as did Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine. He described it as a song that was designed as "'Vision of Love' meets 'Hero'", and wrote, "Mariah is back in the adult contemporary camp, no longer trying to prove that she's real." Cara DiPasquale from the Chicago Tribune called it a "powerhouse ballad", while Entertainment Weekly's Tom Sinclair wrote "embellished with her trademark vocal pyrotechnics, it is one of those highly personal songs about finding your way out of an emotional wilderness, but it sinks in its own sodden sentimentality". Similarly, a writer from Newsday also described "Through the Rain" as a "powerhouse ballad", and felt it was reminiscent of Carey's previous single "One Sweet Day" (1995). Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Randy Lewis noted how the song was able to effectively take listeners right into Carey's personal struggles from the previous year. Tina Brown from Newsweek felt that while Carey's personal troubles may not have been fully solved, the song made her appear "strong and triumphant".
After premiering in the United States, "Through the Rain" managed to peak at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though accompanied by several live promotional appearances, the song failed to garner sufficient airplay to make much of an impact on radio stations. While barely managing to crack the primary US charts, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs. While radio appeal was primarily weak throughout the United States, the song managed to sustain strong airplay throughout Asia. In Canada, "Through the Rain" peaked at number five on the singles chart, and was certified Gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), denoting shipments of over 50,000 units. Throughout Australasia and Europe, the song managed to peak within the top five in several countries. In Australia, "Through the Rain" debuted at its peak position of number fifteen on the singles chart, during the week of November 14, 2002. The following week, the song began its decline, and had a total chart trajectory of ten weeks. On November 11, 2002, "Through the Rain" debuted at number forty-eight on the Ö3 Austria Top 40 chart. The song peaked at number forty-five the next week, and fell out of the chart in its eleventh week, while it was at sixty-eight.
The song achieved relatively weak charting in both the Flemish and Wallonian territories in Belgium, peaking at numbers forty-four and twenty-nine, respectively. Making its debut at its peak position of number sixteen, "Through the Rain" charted for a total of nineteen weeks in France, before falling out on March 22, 2003. On the Dutch Top 40 chart, the song made its debut at number thirty-two. Four weeks later, the song peaked at number nine, before dropping outside the top 40 five weeks later, ending its eleven week run. "Through the Rain" entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number thirty-seven, during the week dated December 1, 2002. In total, the song spent three weeks at its peak position of number thirty-seven, and a total of seven weeks on the chart. In both Denmark and Norway, the song saw moderate success, peaking at numbers thirteen and fifteen, and lasting on the chart for one and three weeks, respectively. On November 28, 2002, "Through the Rain" debuted at number twelve on the Swedish Singles Chart, and reached a peak of number seven. Though released at the end of the year, it managed to finish at number 83 on the year-end chart. Similarly in Switzerland, the song peaked at number seven, and finished at number 98 on the end of year chart. On the UK Singles Chart, "Through the Rain" debuted at its peak of number eight. The following week, the song dropped to number twenty-one on the chart, before dropping outside the top-forty two weeks later.
The music video, directed by Dave Meyers, was filmed on location in New York City on September 30, and October 1, 2002. It is loosely based on the singer's parents, Alfred and Patricia Carey, during the times that she was conceived. Both characters are played by J. D. Williams and Jamie-Lynn Sigler and incorporates themes from Charmbracelet as well as from Carey's life. In an interview with MTV News, Carey said that originally, the plot for the video wasn't going to have anything to do with her parent's past experiences with racism, but was changed a few days before shooting began. During the interview, she described how to plot came into reality, and went into the videos plot in detail:
Originally it wasn't going to have anything to do with that, but people were looking through my photo albums this year. My father and I had made some photo albums together of his relatives and different people in the family. A couple people saw [the albums] and they were like, 'This is amazing that you have this.' I guess everybody was like, 'How would you feel about this type of concept [for a video]?' So I guess I thought if someone's going to do it might as well be me. The story line [of the video] is about an interracial couple. It's sort of Romeo and Juliet but it's set in the '60s and they're kind of torn apart. It's about their struggle and I'm sort of the narrator. I don't want to give too much away about it, but it's nice. Something I could relate to, being the product of an interracial union, though [my parents] did not wind up happily ever after standing in church together.
Sigler, who was offered the role only days before filming commenced, said that she had always been a fan of Carey, and accepted the offer immediately. She described that the shoot was set in the 1960s, and that she played the singer's mother during and after her pregnancy. Sigler also described the plot: "With my character, she's basically going against her parent's wishes to be with this gentleman. She's pregnant with a baby, which is Mariah, and they run away together. So it's kind of an epic love story, it's nice." Carey also revealed that the video would incorporate a rainstorm scene in New York City. Carey jokingly explained how she originally did not intend to get wet, but felt it added a lot to the video.
The video begins with a view of a Carey's personal family album. As the pages open, the camera zooms to one particular photograph, of her young mother facing a wall, with her back turned. As the picture comes into full view, it turns into actual footage. Her mother turns around in anguish, as her own mother begins shouting at her and calling her a disgrace to the family. This is due to that fact that she is pregnant with the child of a black man, with whom she wants to move out with. As she goes to leave the home, her mother grabs her arm and rips off a "charmbracelet" from her wrist. As she picks it up off the floor, she tells her mother she hates her and leaves in a taxi. From the clothing and scenery, it is notable that the scenes depicted are happening in the late 1960s, prior to Carey's birth. As the song starts playing, the video focuses on Carey, walking down the street in New York City. As she continues singing and walking down the street, the camera aims to the sky, which is darkened with cloud while light starts to peer through.
While rain starts to fall, and people start to clear the streets, Carey remains walking on the pathway. The girl now reaches her destination, and is welcomed into the home of her lover. They soon board a bus, and travel to a new home where they will live together. As they are about to enter the bus, the girl's mother is seen screaming in tears for her daughter to return to her. She hesitates, and then continues with her lover onto the transport. The scene once again focuses on Carey, who is standing in the midst of a torrential downpour, singing to the heavens. As she reaches the song's climax, Carey, now dry and dressed in a long black gown, is shown singing at the altar of a church. As she sings at the church, scenes of the girl lighting a candle, and her lover laying together with her on a bed are shown, before focusing back on Carey. She stares at an elderly couple in the first row at the church, an inter-racial couple now revealed to be her parents, and smiles while wearing her mother's charmbracelet. The elderly woman begins crying, as her husband holds her hand as they intently stare at Carey. Their faces rejuvenate to show them as a young couple, as their photo is taken and placed into the family album from the beginning of the video.
Following the release of "Through the Rain", Carey embarked on several stateside, European and Asian promotional tours in support of Charmbracelet, as well as its accompanying singles. Promotion for the former song began at the 2002 NRJ Awards, where Carey appeared on stage sporting a long wavy style and wearing a long black skirt and denim blazer. Three days prior to the album's stateside release, a one hour special titled Mariah Carey: Shining Through the Rain aired on MTV, in which Carey was interviewed and sang several songs from Charmbracelet and of her catalog. During the interview, Carey addressed rumors of her breakdown and its cause, as well as of the album and its inspiration, followed by a question and answer with fans. During the album's month of release, Carey appeared on several television talk shows, launching her promotional tour on Today, where she performed a four song set-list at Mall of America for a crowd of over 10,000. On December 3, 2002, Carey appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she performed "Through the Rain" and "My Saving Grace", and covered a highly publicized interview regarding Carey's hospitalization. On December 4, Carey traveled to Brazil for South American promotion of Charmbracelet, appearing on the popular Brazilian program, Fantástico. She sang "My All", and reprised performances of "Through the Rain" and "I Only Wanted" wearing a long pink gown.
One month later, Carey was featured as one of the headlining performers at the 30th annual American Music Awards, held on January 13, 2003. Introduced by Sharon Osbourne, Carey performed "Through the Rain" alongside a complete live gospel choir, and wore a long black evening gown. During the recital, images of newspaper headlines describing Carey's breakdown were projected on a large curtain behind her, with one reading "When you fall down, you get back up." Following the song's completion, Carey received a standing ovation. Towards the end of March, Charmbracelet saw release throughout Europe, prompting Carey to appear on several programs in promotion of the album. She first performed the album's leading two singles on the British music chart show, Top of the Pops, followed by a similar set on The Graham Norton Show and Fame Academy. On the latter program, Carey was joined on stage by the show's finalists, as they all sang the climax on "Through the Rain" alongside her. "Through the Rain" was only performed on Carey's Charmbracelet World Tour: An Intimate Evening with Mariah Carey, which spanned throughout 2003–04. During the performances, Carey wore a sparkling bra and mini-skirt. During most of the song, Carey performed it while sitting on a large sofa, before standing for the climax. At her concert in Manila, Rito P. Asilo from Philippine Daily Inquirer praised Carey's live rendition of the song, describing it as one of the show's high-lights.
The song was covered by several Asian artists. In 2003, Copycat singer Regine Velasquez, performed a live rendition of "Through the Rain" as part of an intimate concert that was later broadcast on Asian television. Additionally, while promoting her debut EP in the Philippines in 2007, Charice Pempengco sang an a cappella version of the song's bridge and climax.
Formats and track listings
Australian CD maxi-single
European CD maxi-single
Japanese CD single
UK 12" single
UK CD maxi-single
US CD single
US CD maxi-single
Credits and personnel
- Mariah Carey – songwriting, producer, vocals
- Lionel Cole – songwriting
- James Wright – keyboard, co-producer
- James Harris III – producer
- Terry Lewis – producer
- Steve Hodge – engineer (vocals)
- Brad Yost – engineer (assistant), audio mixing
- Xavier Smith – engineer (assistant), audio mixing
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
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