Loverboy
by Mariah Carey (featuring Cameo)

Album: Glitter (2001)
Charted: 12 2
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Songfacts®:

  • Carey wrote the lyrics, in which she sings about a guy who takes care of her - a "Sugar Daddy." Carey was married to Sony executive Tommy Mottola from 1993-1998.
  • Musically, this song is a reworking of the 1984 Cameo hit "Candy." Members of Cameo performed on the track, and the group is listed as a featured artist. Larry Blackmon, the lead singer of Cameo, is also in the video.

    Carey originally wanted to sample "Firecracker" by The Yellow Magic Orchestra, but her label couldn't get the rights to it in time and "Candy" was used instead. When the sample ended up on Jennifer Lopez's 2001 hit "I'm Real," Carey suspected foul play. J.Lo was signed to Sony Music, Carey's former label that was also run by her ex-husband, Tommy Mottola. She suspected Mottola got wind of her plans and stole the sample to sabotage her single. Confirming her suspicions, the "Firecracker" publishers agreed Carey's team did indeed license usage for the sample first.

    More signs of Mottola's meddling were revealed when Irv Gotti, who produced her collab with Ja Rule, "If We," for Glitter, admitted Mottola instructed him to produce an identical-sounding track for J.Lo's "I'm Real" remix, which also featured Ja Rule.
  • This was Carey's first single released by Virgin Records. She left Sony in 2001 and signed a five-album deal with Virgin for $80 million. It didn't work out well, and in early 2002, Virgin paid Carey $28 million to break the contract and leave the label. Later that year, she signed with Island/Def Jam, where she released her next album, Charmbracelet.
  • The lead singles from Carey's first six albums that weren't Christmas albums, covers albums or compilations all went to #1 in America. "Loverboy" was expected to follow suit, kicking off Glitter in good form, but it misfired badly, entering the Hot 100 at #79 in June. It languished in this range for five weeks, climbing no higher than #59. With the song at #60 and looking to slide, Virgin Records tried to save it by cutting the price of the single to 49 cents and giving it renewed promotional support. The song jumped to #2 on August 4, but couldn't get past Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious" to claim the top spot. It was an embarrassing failure for Virgin, which couldn't engineer a chart-topper from their prized signing. There were rumors that Carey's ex, Tommy Mottola, who was still at rival Sony, pulled some strings to tank the song.
  • Carey was going through a tumultuous time when this song was released, and as she was promoting it, her behavior became rather erratic, culminating with a baffling appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on July 19, 2001. Days later, she had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized - she was later diagnosed as bipolar.

    With Carey out of commission, the song and album got little promotion. The album was released on September 11, a date when terrorist attacks on the US swept away any interest in new music.

    When Carey recovered, she had little interest in revisiting Glitter. She didn't perform any of the songs from the album until 2016, when she added "Loverboy" to her setlist.
  • A remix featuring rappers Ludacris and Da Brat is included on the album.
  • David LaChapelle, who also shot a number of portraits of Mariah Carey, directed the video, where Carey cavorts among various drag racers.
  • Carey's core fans, known as the Lambily, tried to get her to perform this and other Glitter tracks though a #JusticeForGlitter social media campaign. In 2018, the campaign was repurposed in an effort to get the album back on the charts, which it did, appearing in various Billboard charts and shooting to #1 on the iTunes US Albums chart.
  • Without naming names, Carey took aim at J.Lo in the remix through guest rapper Da Brat's in-your-face bridge, which plays out over a "Firecracker" melody:

    Hate on me much as you want to
    You can't do what the f--k I do
    Bitches be emulatin' me daily
  • Carey's original mix, featuring the "Firecracker" sample, was included on her 2020 compilation album, The Rarities.

Comments: 6

  • Kent from Greensburg, PaAmazing how she has had a 20 year career with only a few bumps in the road but managed to get back on top and under the age of 50 too! Mariah has to be the youngest recording artist to have a career more than 15 under the age of 50. Janet Jackson, Jay Z, and LL Cool J are the other with careers just as long but not 50 yet. Not to mention Mariah has worked with some of music biggest stars!
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe video is vile - Mariah tries to hard to be sexy.
  • Corinne from London, United Kingdomand in true mariah cary style, the voice is amazing but she has to touch her body and ruffle her hair because she cannot dance
  • Dylan from Port Orange, Fl"And his candy's just so sweet".

    Subtle, very subtle.....

  • Kim from New Btunswick, NjI bet she shudders every time she hears this song, what with all the bad memories it holds...
  • Shana from Radcliff, KyFun song!
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