Side Effects
by Mariah Carey (featuring Jeezy)

Album: E=MC2 (2008)
Play Video


  • This features the rapper Jeezy. The song is about the emotional abuse Carey has said she experienced during her marriage to her record boss Tommy Mottola and how she escaped from him. The singer explained to The Sun April 10, 2008: "If somebody has the control over you, you're still going to be angry but it's about letting it go. It was therapeutic. The track just made me think of where I am now. It's my story. There is a line about living in a private hell. It is what it is and when I think about it, it stills gives me a weird feeling. I was emotionally cut off in a lot of ways and I still have trust issues. Certain things still really get to me, like people trying to make decisions for me. But I hope that song can heal people who have been in abusive relationships. It's not saying 'pity me' - it's my song for what I went through."
  • Carey: "'Side Effects' is a song that I wrote because it was necessary for me to write it. You know what? I've been through too much at this point. I want happiness and I want pure and real love, but the side effects of what other relationships have put me through caused me to kind of be on the defense a lot of the time and if somebody isn't like mature enough or caring and loving and open-hearted enough to understand how to deal with that, then it's tough. But this is a song for people who need that. It's also about, anyone who's been in an abusive relationship and I just wrote it 'cause I wanted to let those people feel a little bit stronger."
  • Now magazine asked Carey whether the lyric "You were scared that I'd become so much more than you could handle" was about her marriage. She replied: "Yeah. That was my reality. I had to be tough. I always had to function and smile. I nearly had a breakdown. I also felt under pressure from my old record company. I had to always go from one appointment to the next, always witty and on the ball. No one can stand that for long, I was really unhappy."
  • Although Carey and Mottola divorced in 1998, it took the singer several more years to escape the Sony Music mogul's control over her professional life. She left the label after the release of Rainbow in 1999, but her landmark $100 million deal with Virgin Records didn't completely cut her ex out of the picture. Sony also owned Columbia Pictures, the film studio that was producing her Glitter movie, and Carey alleged Mottola made sure he knew the details of the film and soundtrack so he could sabotage the ill-fated project. It wasn't until she released The Emancipation Of Mimi via Island Records in 2005 that she finally felt free. Both Mimi and its follow-up, E=MC2, debuted at #1.

Comments: 1

  • Tanya from La Verne, CaThe best song off of "E=MC2". I love the lyrics and the haunting bassline.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.

U2 Lyrics

U2 LyricsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the lyrics of U2?

Guy Clark

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?

Trucking Songs That Were #1 Hits

Trucking Songs That Were #1 HitsSong Writing

The stories behind the biggest hit songs about trucking.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."