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I Stay in Love

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"I Stay in Love"
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album E=MC²
Released October 28, 2008
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2007
Stone Groove Studios
(New York City, New York)[1]
Genre R&B
Length 3:32
Label Island Def Jam
Writer(s) Mariah Carey, Bryan-Michael Cox, Adonis Shropshire, Kendrick Dean
Producer(s) Mariah Carey, Bryan-Michael Cox
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time"
"I Stay in Love"
"Right to Dream"

"I Stay in Love" is a song by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, taken from her eleventh studio album, E=MC² (2008). It was written by Carey, Bryan-Michael Cox, Adonis Shropshire and Kendrick Dean, and produced by the former two. "I Stay in Love" was released through Island Records on October 28, 2008, as the fourth and final single from the album. Drawing influence from the R&B music genre, the song features a piano and keyboard-driven melody, and a strong accompanying drum-beat. Lyrically, the song finds Carey getting "her cry on with the connect-the-dots break-up track." She describes the old time she shared with her love interest. She narrates that even though they said let go, and that she is aware that there is nothing left in their relationship, she still "stays in love with him".

"I Stay in Love" received generally positive reviews from music critics, with many considering the song a strong ballad and a highlight from the album, while complimenting its production and piano-driven melody, despite criticizing the similarities to Carey's previous single, "We Belong Together" (2005). The song performed weak commercially, becoming Carey's first single from the album to not chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, although peaking at number eighty-one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and becoming Carey's fourteenth number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted and peaked at number ninety-five, and spent only one week on the UK Singles Chart.

Carey performed "I Stay in Love" live on two high profile televised events. First, on November 8, 2008, she was featured as a guest judge and musical performer of the fifth season of the popular British talent competition, The X Factor. Additionally, Carey performed it live at the American Music Awards, held on November 23, 2008. The song's accompanying music video was filmed by Carey's husband, Nick Cannon, and features Carey as a dancer in a Las Vegas show at the The Bellagio Hotel and Casino Resort. Additionally, during the show and its preparations, Carey realizes that her ex-lover has found love with one of her fellow dancers, leading her to blow up the car he gave her, as well as its accompaniments in the Mojave Desert.

Background and composition[edit]

A sample of the song, featuring the piano-driven melody, and production that's accentuated by the addition of a strong computerized drum-beat.[2] During the song's climax, Carey hits an F5, a high section of the female register.[3]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"I Stay in Love" was written by Carey, Bryan-Michael Cox, Adonis Shropshire, Kendrick Dean and produced by Carey alongside Cox. The vocals were recorded by Brian Garten at Stone Groove Studios in New York City and the final mixing was completed by Phil Tan.[1] In an interview with Ed Lover of the radio station Power 105 in New York City, Carey said that the song was one of her favorites from the album and that its vocals were recorded within a day.[4] Following the under-performance of the third single "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time", the song was chosen as the fourth single from Carey's eleventh studio album, E=MC².[5] It was sent to mainstream, rhythmic and urban radios on October 28, 2008.[6][7][8] A remix single was issued on December 16, 2008.[9] "I Stay in Love" is a mid-tempo "beat-driven" and "piano-laced" ballad, that is influenced by pop and R&B music genres.[10]

The song's instrumentation is derived from a piano melody, and is backed by a strong computerized drum-beat.[2] It is composed in the key of Db Major, with Carey's vocals spanning from the low note of Db3 to the high note of Gb5.[3] The song features a "double voice" effect during its final chorus, where Carey's normal singing tone throughout the rest of the song is combined with her highered pitch.[11] She raises the pitch one octave, and layers it over her normal tone.[11] Lyrically, the song finds Carey getting "her cry on with the connect-the-dots break-up track."[12] She describes the old time she shared with her lover. She also admits that even though they did attempt to save their relationship, and that she knows that it is definitely over, she still "stays in love with him".[12]


Critical reception[edit]

"I Stay in Love" garnered generally positive reviews from music critics. Many complimented the song's piano-driven melody, as well as Carey's vocals, while some felt it was too similar to her previous single, "We Belong Together" (2005). In his review of E=MC², Kevin O'Hare of The Republican wrote that Carey "shines" on the song,[13] while Fox News' Roger Friedman described it as "a killer ballad."[14] People‍ '​s Chuck Arnold named it the best ballad on the album, calling it "pretty".[10] The Houston Chronicle‍ '​s writer Joey Guerra described the single as a "gently grooving ballad that Janet Jackson should be recording instead of wasting her time on tired sex clichés", while commenting, "It's doubtful, however, that Jackson could reach the notes Carey effortlessly hits at the end of the song".[15] Richard Cromelin from the Los Angeles Times highlighted Carey's raw form of singing on the track, writing, "its unadorned, and her voice is almost leathery in the lower notes. It's not flattering, but it rings true emotionally."[16]

Michael Slezak from Entertainment Weekly wrote that the song is "a slower, less addictive variation" of "We Belong Together".[17] Newsday critic, Glenn Gamboa, also called it a "We Belong Together-sh ballad".[18] In separate reviews of the song, both David Balls and Nick Levine of Digital Spy also compared the song to Carey's "We Belong Together"; the former rated "I Stay in Love" three out of five stars, and wrote, "It may not be the most original of songs, but Carey's emotion-packed vocals make this a pleasant treat after some vacuous recent offerings."[5][19] Freedom De Luc from The Washington Post described the song as an "emotive ballad",[20] while Nekesa Mumbi Moody from Foster's Daily Democrat noted "it could have been recorded in her early '90s heyday — except it's not as saccharine as some of her early work".[21] However, Evan Sawdey of PopMatters described it as one of the album's "worst songs".[22]

Chart performance[edit]

"I Stay in Love" debuted at number 97 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, issue dated November 15, 2008, and later peaked at number 81.[23] The song remained on the chart for a total of ten weeks. "I Stay in Love" debuted at number 95 on the Billboard Pop 100 and peaked at number 94.[23] The track was the hot shot debut on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play on December 27, 2008, opening at number 45. It reached the summit of the chart for the week ending February 14, 2009,[23] and hence became Carey's 14th number one song on that chart. "I Stay in Love" remained on the chart for fourteen weeks.[23] The song debuted and peaked at number 95 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending November 22, 2008, and spent only one week on the chart.[24]

Music video[edit]


Directed by Carey's husband Nick Cannon, the music video for "I Stay in Love" was filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, using a story line that Cannon and Carey co-wrote.[25] Carey filmed the video on October 5, at The Bank Nightclub of The Bellagio Hotel and Casino Resort, and in the Mojave Desert on October 6, 2008.[26] In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Cannon spoke about the video and said that there is a scene where Carey is in bed with a man (played by Andrew Karelis), and that "Mariah plays the showgirl and there's a guy who cheated and there's flashbacks......".[27] The music video for "I Stay In Love" was featured on BET's Access Granted for a behind-the-scenes look and a world premiere on October 27, 2008.[28] The entire video was shown every hour on BET until October 28, 2008.[28] "I Stay in Love" music video peaked at #16 on Billboard's Hot Videoclip Tracks chart.[29]


In the image, Carey is seen dressed in white garments and large feathers. She is featured as a dancer in Las Vegas, and is where she discovers her ex-lover has moved on.

The video, black-and-white, begins with Carey parking her antique automobile in desert. She gets out, with customized black boots with an 'M' on them, and as, she walks towards the camera, the vehicle explodes. As the music begins and the scene shifts to another where Carey applying her eye make-up and earrings. As a form of product placement, her fragrance is shown on a dresser in her Boudoir. As Carey finishes getting ready, scenery of Las Vegas is shown, before shifting to Carey, now dressed as a Vegas performer. As she walks down a runway dressed in white garments ad feathers, she catches the attention of a man. He turns out to be Carey's ex-lover, who in turn came to the show to meet with one of Carey's fellow dancers. As he caresses the female in the dressing room, Carey sees them, and walks by them, bumping into him purposely. Additional scenes are shown of Carey laying alone on the dark runway, apparently after the show has finished, as well as preparing herself for the show. During the second verse, the video then shows Carey driving down a highway in the desert, and as she drives, past memories of the pair are shown, holding each other intimately in a bed. She then pushes old gifts he had given her into the passengers seat, and pulls over the car, continuing the scene from the beginning of the video. After the car explodes, Carey tears off her necklace in despair, and begins to flail her arms in desperation. The video ends with Carey back at the show in Vegas during the finale, as glitter drops from the top of the stage. Carey, now back in the desert, looks for another ride, and gets into a black Cadillac Escalade driven by Nick Cannon.

Reception and Luscious Pink commercial[edit]

Nick Levine from Digital Spy complimented the video, commenting that it managed "to be both ridiculous and a little bit moving - quite an achievement."[5] Entertainment Weekly writer Michael Slezak described Carey's boots as "hot", and considered the cinematography of the music video "gorgeous". He also complimented several aspects of the video, saying, "Mariah’s bod looks totally smokin’, even if her entire wardrobe should be donated to a charity benefiting teenage strumpets and/or truck-stop hookers. Also: That Wentworth Miller 2.0 ain’t hard on the eyes, either (in reference to the man who played her love interest in "We Belong Together").[17]

The commercial for Carey's Luscious Pink fragrance uses part of the "I Stay in Love" music video, with a clip of the song used as audio.[30] The short clip shows Carey getting ready for the Vegas show, by applying her make-up and lipstick, and also applying the fragrance on her neck and cleavage.[30] The release published on Carey's official website described the concept of the commercial as "a combination of Mariah's two passions - music and fragrance."[30]

Live performances[edit]

Due to promotion for E=MC² and the single, Carey was featured as a guest judge and musical act on the fifth series of the popular British talent competition, The X Factor.[31] During that week, all the contestants would have to sing songs from Carey's catalog.[31] Prior to her arrival, one of the show's judges Dannii Minogue said "Could it get any more nerve-wracking for the contestants?", due to the general strenuous nature of Carey's songs.[31] Before any of the performances by the finalists, Carey performed "I Stay in Love", accompanied by three background vocalists. She received a standing ovation from the audience and judges, and continued backstage for a taped session with the contestants. At the end of the program, she performed her classic "Hero" (1993), and was eventually joined by the finalists for the finale of the song.[32] "Hero" was re-recorded by the 2008 UK X Factor finalists and released as a single, becoming the second best-selling single of 2008 in the United Kingdom.[33] According to reports, the episode gained a large increase in viewers due to Carey's presence, and was able to surpass its long-time rival program, Strictly Come Dancing, in the ratings.[34] Carey also made an appearance at the American Music Awards of 2008 on November 23, at the Nokia Theatre.[35] Wearing a long black gown, she performed the song after receiving an honorary award for her achievements in music.[35] Chris Harris from MTV News described it as a "riveting performance".[35]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits for "I Stay in Love" adapted from the E=MC² liner notes.[1]


Chart (2008-09) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[40] 95
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[41] 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[42] 81
US Pop 100 (Billboard)[43] 95
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[44] 37

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Carey, Mariah (2008). E=MC² (Liner Notes) (Audio CD booklet). Mariah Carey. India: Universal Music India / Island Def Jam Group. p. 3. 06025 175 078-8. 
  2. ^ a b Ruggieri, Melissa (2008-04-21). "Mariah Carey Rides a Wave". The News & Advance (Media General). Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  3. ^ a b Mariah Carey (Composers and Lyricists) (2008). "I Stay in Love: Mariah Carey Digital Sheet Music" (Musicnotes). Alfred Music Publishing. MN0068511 (Product Number). Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  4. ^ Carey, Mariah (2008-04-21). Interview: Mariah Carey. Interview with Ed Lover. The Ed Lover Show. New York City. 
  5. ^ a b c Levine, Nick (2008-03-31). "That New Mariah Carey Single". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  6. ^ "Going for Adds :: CHR/Top 40". Radio & Records. VNU Media. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  7. ^ "Going for Adds :: Rhythmic". Radio & Records. VNU Media. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  8. ^ "Going for Adds :: Urban". Radio & Records. VNU Media. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  9. ^ "Mariah Carey: I Stay in Love". Amazon United States. Amazon Inc. 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  10. ^ a b Arnold, Chuck (2008-06-10). "Picks And Pans: Music". People. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  11. ^ a b Demone, Larry (2008-03-04). "Discs". The Buffalo News (Berkshire Hathaway). Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  12. ^ a b Rodman, Sarah (2008-04-12). "An Early Listen to Possible Hits". The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2011-08-04. 
  13. ^ O'Hare, Kevin (2008-05-12). "Carey Gets Formula Right With 'E=MC2'". The Republican (Advance Publications). Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  14. ^ Friedman, Roger (2008-04-03). "Mariah Carey's New Album: First Review". Fox News. News Corporation. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  15. ^ Guerra, Joey (2008-04-15). "Mariah Gets Equation Right With 'E=MC²'". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  16. ^ Richard, David (2008-04-08). "CD: Mariah Carey's 'E=MC2'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  17. ^ a b Slezak, Michael (2008-04-18). "Who Has the New Best Video: Mariah, Xtina or Hilary?". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  18. ^ Gamboa, Glenn (2008-03-01). "Mariah's New Album". Newsday (Cablevision). Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  19. ^ Balls, David (2008-03-31). "Mariah: 'I Stay in Love'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  20. ^ De Luc, Freedom (2008-04-15). "Mariah Sticks to Known Equation". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  21. ^ Moody, Nekesa Mumbi (2008-04-09). "Music Review: Mariah Carey's 'E=MC2' Recaptures the Magic of Her Best-selling 'Emancipation'". Foster's Daily Democrat (Geo. J. Foster Company). Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  22. ^ Sawey, Evan (2008-03-01). "Mariah Carey: E=MC² < Reviews". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  23. ^ a b c d "I Stay in Love - Mariah Carey". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  24. ^ "Mariah Carey: I Stay in Love". ChartStats. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  25. ^ "Mariah Set to Shoot Video for New Single I Stay In Love". 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  26. ^ Clarke, Norm (2008-10-06). "Bobbitt Trains for Boxing Bout in LV". Las Vegas Review-Journal (Stephens Media). Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  27. ^ Friedman, Roger (2008-04-03). "Mariah Carey Spied Kissing New Man, And It's Not Her Husband". Fox News. News Corporation. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  28. ^ a b "Mariah Shoots New Video in Las Vegas". 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  29. ^ "Hot Videoclip Tracks". Billboard. December 6, 2008. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  30. ^ a b c "Watch Mariah's New Luscious Pink Commercial". 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  31. ^ a b c Dingwall, John (2008-11-07). "Mariah Carey Will Show The X Factor What a Diva is, Says Dannii Minogue". Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  32. ^ "Laura White is voted off X Factor". BBC News. BBC. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  33. ^ "Duffy and Burke top 2008 charts". BBC News. BBC. 2008-12-29. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  34. ^ "Mariah Appears on the X Factor". Daily News and Analysis (Diligent Media Corporation). 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  35. ^ a b c Harris, Chris (2008-04-09). "Kanye West Offers His Award To Lil Wayne, Chris Brown Named Artist Of The Year At American Music Awards". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  36. ^ I Stay in Love (Japanese 12" Vinyl Single liner notes). Mariah Carey. Island Records. 2008. SR 731. 
  37. ^ I Stay in Love (Switzerland Promo Single liner notes). Mariah Carey. Island Records. 2008. MCLOVECDP1. 
  38. ^ I Stay in Love (UK CD Single liner notes). Mariah Carey. Island Records. 2008. INLOVECJ1. 
  39. ^ I Stay in Love (US CD maxi-single liner notes). Mariah Carey. Island Records. 2008. ISLR 16947-2. 
  40. ^ "Mariah Carey: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  41. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Mariah Carey.
  42. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Mariah Carey.
  43. ^ "Mariah Carey Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  44. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Rhythmic Songs for Mariah Carey.

External links[edit]