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There's Got to Be a Way

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"There's Got to Be a Way"
A woman with curly hair places her left arm behind her head
Standard artwork for international commercial releases (UK CD single pictured)
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Mariah Carey
Released May 6, 1991
Format
Recorded 1990;
  • Cove City Sound Studios
  • The Power Station
Genre R&B-pop
Length 4:52
Label Columbia
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"I Don't Wanna Cry"
(1991)
"There's Got to Be a Way"
(1991)
"Emotions"
(1991)

"There's Got to Be a Way" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her self-titled debut studio album (1990). Columbia released it as the fifth and final single from the album in the United Kingdom. It was one of four songs Carey wrote with Ric Wake during their first recording session together, but "There's Got to Be a Way" was the only composition to make the final track listing. It is a socio-political conscious R&B-pop song which addresses the existence of poverty, racism and war in the world which gradually becomes more aspirational and positive as it progresses. The track garnered a mixed reception upon the album's release in 1990. While Carey's vocals were praised, it was seen as too political. An accompanying music video highlights social injustices. The song reached number 54 on the UK Singles Chart.

Background and release[edit]

"There's Got to Be a Way" was written by Mariah Carey and Ric Wake for Carey's self-titled debut studio album (1990).[1] It was written during Carey and Wake's first recording session together. They composed four songs, but only "There's Got to Be a Way" was chosen for the final track listing.[2] Co-produced by Wake and Narada Michael Walden, it appears as the second of ten songs on the track listing.[3] The track was recorded and engineered by Bob Cadway at Cove City Sound Studios and The Power Station, both located in New York City. He was assisted by Dana Jon Chappelle. It was mixed by David Frazer at Tarpan Studios in San Rafael. The keyboards, bass and rhythm engineering was carried out by Louis Biancaniello, while Joe Franco performed the percussion, Vernon "Ice" Black played the guitar, and Rich Tancredo also performing on the keyboards. Walter Afanasieff played the synth horns. Carey provided her own background vocals along with Billy T. Scott, Jamiliah Muhammed and The Billy T. Scott Ensemble.[1] The song was released as the fifth and final single from the album in the United Kingdom.[4] It is available to purchase as a CD single while the remixes are available on vinyl.[5][6]

Composition[edit]

"There's Got to Be a Way" is an R&B-pop music song with elements of gospel.[7] The theme of social activism can be heard in the lyrics "There’s got to be a way / to connect this world today."[7] The song begins with Carey publicly denouncing the existence of poverty and racism in the world, and she uses the bridge to shift the lyrics towards an uplifting and aspirational tone.[7] Carey suggests we should be more tolerant of each other and not resort so readily to war in the lyrics "Couldn't we accept each other / Can't we make ourselves aware."[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Music critic Robert Christgau felt that Carey was being too political in her "brave, young, idealistic attack" on war and destitution.[8] Ralph Novak, David Hiltbrand and David Grogan of People wrote that it is a "testimony to her talent that she does so much with so little."[9] They continued to write that Carey's "tone and clarity" makes "There's Got to Be a Way" a "mesmerizing" track.[9] To mark twenty-five years since the release of Mariah Carey in June 1990, Billboard writer Trevor Anderson wrote a track-by-track review of the album in June 2015. He noted that "There's Got to Be a Way" follows the same melodic tone as the album's opener "Vision of Love" but highlighted their stark lyrical differences, as the former is about social activism and the latter is about love.[7] Although he praised Carey's vocals, writing that she "deploys" one of her best whistle notes of her career, he felt that "the aim for broad appeal comes at the expense of memorable lyrics."[7]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video begins with a shot of an empty street, followed by clips of disadvantaged and poorer members of society going about their daily activities. Two men play dominoes on a wooden crate outside a building, a gang make fun of an elderly man hanging newspapers outside his store and an obese woman walks down the street. Clips of Carey leaning against a wall and sitting on some steps looking on at what is happening are shown. As the first chorus begins, everyone starts to dance joyfully in the street and help those in need. A gospel choir comes out of one of the buildings as the street becomes more crowded with people of all ages and backgrounds rejoicing and getting along with each other. One of the shops in the background has a neon light outside the entrance which says "Jesus Saves".

Track listings[edit]

  • "There's Got to Be a Way" (Original album version) – 4:52[3]
  • "There's Got to Be a Way" (7" remix)[6]
  • "There's Got to Be a Way" (12" remix)[6]
  • "There's Got to Be a Way" (Alternative Vocal Dub Mix)[6]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart (OCC)[10] 54

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mariah Carey. Columbia (Liner notes). Mariah Carey. June 12, 1990. p. 0. 
  2. ^ Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 29. ISBN 0312195125. 
  3. ^ a b "Mariah Carey". iTunes Store. June 12, 1990. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 35-38. ISBN 0312195125. 
  5. ^ "There's Got To Be A Way CD single". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d "There's got to be a way [Vinyl]". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Anderson, Trevor (June 12, 2015). "Mariah Carey's Self-Titled Debut at 25: Classic Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved October 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau CG: Mariah Carey". The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Novak, Ralph; Hiltbrand, David; Grogan, David (July 16, 1990). "Picks and Pans Review: Mariah Carey". People. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Mariah Carey Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. June 1, 1991. Retrieved October 23, 2015. 

External links[edit]