That’s My Jam #14: Mariah Carey, ‘Touch My Body’

Here’s the That’s My Jam manifesto.

I have very little patience for modern, mainstream R&B. The words “trite” (Trey Songz),”boring” (John Legend) and “gross” (R. Kelley) often spring to mind. The rare single will catch my ear, and in this instance, the single is Mariah Carey’s Touch My Body.

“Mixed feelings” categorize my attitude toward Mariah. On the one hand, there’s no denying the power of her voice. On the other hand, a great voice does not make great songs, and I generally believe that Mariah’s music is about showcasing her voice and less about actual song craft. Mariah too often brings a cannon to a knife fight. It’s all about hitting or holding extreme notes, less about the little touches that really make a song.

And that’s why I find myself liking Touch My Body. Yes, it’s sexy and easy, almost too smooth to be real. But the amazing thing that is happening is that Mariah herself is easy and smooth, riding the seductive bounce of the production and not forcing it. There’s no great highs or lows, no held note skittering up and up, no great blasts of power. Reeled-in Mariah is Mariah at her best, and Touch My Body is an argument for craftsmanship over explosive emoting.

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