Speculation and predictions for Mariah Carey's 15th studio album

Mariah Carey's 15th studio album | Random J Pop

Until the official title of Mariah Carey's new album drops, I'll be calling it The aria of the skinny songbird. Because I don't think the actual album title will be that far off.

I'd love for Mariah to just self-title shit as Mariah and let that be that. But she won't. Because Mariah always gotta be extra with her album titles these days.

I'd mentioned in a previous post and on Twitter that Mariah has conventions for how she names her albums. Back in the day it was ethereal type shit like Fireworks and Unicorn. Then post Glitter it was all The solace of a Butterfly or Tears of a ingénue. So here we are.

Mariah Carey - The aria of the skinny songbird | Random J Pop

In terms of what we can expect from this new album, Mariah ain't telling us shit. Not that she really needs to, because rarely are Mariah's album a surprise. By this point, everybody knows what they're gonna get with a Mariah album. The only shockers that Mariah has delivered with her albums over the years has been ditching her classic typeset for the cover of E=MC² and having its follow up be solely produced by Tricky Stewart and The Dream. But in terms of how they sounded? The same ol', same ol'.

All we know is that Mariah has hit the studio with Jermaine Dupri and that's about it. But Mariah always does, regardless of whether his shit makes the cut or not, so this is hardly news. However, there is a pattern and a formula to who Mariah ends up working with, which is equally as predictable as her album titles.

The producers, co-writers and artists that Mariah works with are usually a selected pick of who has been hot in Hip-Hop over the past couple of years. Therefore, going on this notion, let's guess just who will appear in the liner notes of Mariah 15th studio album.

The producers
Mariah never works with producers who are everywhere and all over radio at a given time. Only when certain producers are off the air waves for a minute does Mariah seem to then with them. Rodney Jerkins is one such example. There was a time when every female in Pop and R&B was working with this guy. There was barely an album out there that didn't have 'Darkchild' muttered on at least one song. Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins had pretty much cut a record for every female singer in the game throughout the late 90s and early 00s - expect for Mariah; which always stood out to me. Darkchild was giving every chick in the game around Mariah songs. Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Monica, Brandy, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé featuring Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. Mariah and Rodney Jerkins seemed like an inevitable pairing. But they wouldn't work together until 16 years later, when Rodney Jerkins hadn't had a damn hit since Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's "Telephone" - with "Your mine (Eternal)" and "The art of letting go". But given the performance of those 2 songs, I don't think we'll be hearing from him on a Mariah LP again.

Then there's Tricky Stewart and The Dream. The men responsible for writing and producing Rihanna's smash hit "Umbrella". Dominating the air waves and making such a name for themselves across the far reaches and corners of the Earth, that J-Pop star Hikaru Utada would work with Tricky for her album This is the one. But again, Mariah didn't team up with them during the peak of their air wave dominance. The same goes for Pharrell Williams. When The Neptunes were in the eye of the storm and had everybody in Hip-Hop, R&B and pop stragglers such as Justin Timberlake and Britney throwing them cheques for hits - Mariah never worked with them. Only when their shit was but a mere simmer and Pharrell appeared to be branching off and producing on his own, did Mariah then work with them. And then there's Timbaland, who much like Rodney Jerkins and Pharrell, was a usual suspect in R&B and Pop. But the most Timbaland did for Mariah was give her a remix for her Missy Elliott penned Butterfly deep cut "Babydoll".

But with strictly R&B-ain't-had-one-crossover-pop-hit and Hip-Hop producers, it's a different story. Mariah always brings in Hip-Hop producers who are hot and current to work with her, because she knows they're the ones that will not be in the liner notes of many of her peers, due to them having not crossed over and having a sound that could be categorised as pop. Her peers who may be able to find comfort on a Rodney Jerkins or a Pharrell Williams production, may not risk it with something from Hit-Boy or Mike Will Made it. Mike Will Made it is somewhat of an anomaly because of his work with Miley Cyrus. But even with that, he didn't water or change his sound for her to make it Pop. His productions for her were lumped into Pop because they were Miley Cyrus songs. Plus. Mariah don't acknowledge that bitch. She don't know her.

So going with this line of theorising. I'mma say that The aria of a skinny songbird could feature productions from DJ Camper (who produced the viral-thanks-to-Rihanna hit "Focus" for H.E.R), ThankGod4Cody (who produced a third of SZA's Ctrl), No I.D (known for his work with Kanye West and being the sole producer of Jay-Z 4:44), Noah "40" Shebib (Drake's right-hand man) and T-Minus (Drake, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Sia). My wildcard producer though, is going to be Danja. Now, Danja hasn't had a real hit in a long ass while. His last notable production credit was for the Beyoncé, Jay-Z and DJ Khaled collabo "Shining", but that song came and went, and was as throwaway as a gum wrapper. Danja being so quiet / having his work be ignored by radio, A&R's and the solar system for so long, may be why Mariah works with him now. Also, Mariah has always spoken highly of "Migrate" from E=MC²; a song that everybody loved and was supposed to be a single, but wasn't.

Mariah, pon di studio | Random J Pop

The songwriters
Mariah writes all of her own shit, something people never give her credit for. But whilst we can pull many a receipt on the likes of Beyoncé's songwriting credibility, we legit can't with Mariah. She has a very particular writing style which has remained consistent since "Vision of love". We could drag Mariah over her songwriting style not changing a great deal since then. But we could never argue that she's a songwriting fraud. Mariah is that one bitch who be putting words like 'Unyielding', 'Nonchalant' and 'Incessantly' in songs, and jamming four syllable words like 'Predictably' into spaces in songs where she really had no business to.

Mariah is a creature of comfort and doesn't work with a wide range of song-writers across albums. She keeps her circles small. But from Butterfly onwards, we saw this circle widen from just being Walter Afanasieff, as she began taking greater creative licence over her music and broadening out into R&B and Hip-Hop. But even then, the songwriting credits were very few and most of the names were credited due to samples used in many of her songs.

Hip-Hop producers rarely contribute to the writing of a song that isn't by a rapper and even then, their writing contributions are minimal unless they're a rapper themselves. Guessing which songwriters will appear on The aria of a skinny songbird is a bit more of a shot in the dark than predicting producers. But Mariah's selection process is more or less the same. She avoids very obvious usual suspects who are hot at a given time. So it's unlikely we're going to get any songs on this album which are written by the likes of Sia, Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels, Ariel Rechtshaid or Greg Gurstin.

With "GTFO" already out, we know that Bibi Bourielly (who wrote 3 songs from Rihanna's Anti album and Christina's "Accelerate") co-wrote it and I'd bet that she has penned more songs with Mariah. Mariah is not shy or precious about working with new and up and coming talent. So I can see Bibi being to this album what Crystal 'Cri$tyle' Johnson was to E=MC². Mariah has said that she had fun recording this album and that this was the reason she wanted to go with "GTFO" as the first taster of what to expect. E=MC² was also Mariah's moment of fun and a young talented firecracker of a songwriter like Bibi would be the perfect companion for her to just write a bunch of really fun, but solid songs. Which is also one of the reasons why Mariah wrote an entire album with The-Dream. You can tell that Mariah finds the process of writing songs fun.

Another name I think we may see in the liner notes of this album is Diana Gordon, better know as Wynter Gordon - known for writing Beyoncé's "Sorry", "Don't hurt yourself" and "Daddy lessons" from her Lemonade album and co-writing the Silk City and Dua Lipa collab "Electricity" amongst others. This chick is so fucking underrated, it's criminal. But she's known of in songwriting circles and camps. She's under the radar, but her talent is known. This is me putting my finger in the air, but I would not be surprised if she had songwriting credits on Mariah's new album.

In the spirit of Mariah having a thing for folk who were once popping but are popping way less when she's working on shit, I could also see her working with Ester Dean. This chick was writing songs for fucking EVERYBODY. She was a driving force on Rihanna's Loud album, the woman behind Katy Perry's smash hit "Firework" and Nicki Minaj's "Super bass". Mariah will probably redact that last one. But Ester is talented. She's got the plaques to prove it and a bitch is just fun.

The guest features
I don't think we'll get any singers as featuring artists on this new album, but we gon' get rappers though. Obviously.

Mariah's process for picking rappers is different to how she goes about producers. She goes with a something old, something new, something ya'll fuck with now and something every bitch done did a song with too.

Something old? Missy Elliott. Mariah first worked with her on "Babydoll" and then famously had her feature on the "Heartbreaker" remix in 1999. In a bid to show love to an OG and a female OG at that, I think Mariah would do something with Missy. Mariah has that pull to bring folk out of solitude who wouldn't do so for anybody else.

Something new? Migos. Because everybody is doing songs with fucking Migos.

Something ya'll fuck with now? Drake. Aubrey sampled her 1991 hit "Emotions" for his album Scorpion on the track "Emotionless", so I bet Mariah would call him and tell him he needs to give her some bars and a singing verse to return the favour

Something every bitch done did a song with too? Ty Dolla $ign. He has range. So she could have just this one dude act a hype man on a track, give her bars and some singing too, instead of three.

The musical style
Mariah's style hasn't variated much over the years and I can't see it changing much now, so I don't even know why I'm dedicating a paragraph to this shit. But a commonality that has stuck with her albums from E=MC² onward is a level of light heartedness. Mariah has said on numerous occasions that she's had fun working on this album. So I imagine that the sound will reflect that.

Miming Mimi's last album did see Mariah dip back into dance with the Q-Tip produced "Meteorite", something she hadn't done since her cover of "Auld lang syne (The new year's anthem)" and prior to that, Mariah hadn't touched dance for shit since 1997 with "Fly away" from Butterfly. We also saw her dip into Disco, a style that Mariah touched on lightly in 2008 with "I'm that chick" from E=MC²; but not to the fuller extent that she embraced it with "You don't know what to do". Both styles suit her voice and provide something new for those who aren't up on MC and something fresh yet throwback for her Lambs. "You don't know what to do" received widespread acclaim and had everybody wondering why the fuck it wasn't a single, so there's every chance we'll see Mariah touch on that style again. Dance and Disco give Mariah full licence to camp up her shit, ham up the fun, bring the drama and feel her full Diva fantasy even more than she's feeling it now. Mariah needs more uptempo songs in her repertoire that can across over radio, generations, demographics and give her something to have fun with during live shows.

Mariah's official lead single "With you" is out now. So there's a chance its release will be flanked by news of her new album, as we're now in October and its set to drop by the end of this year. Given that Mariah has coined herself the Queen of Christmas, it wouldn't surprise me if she released her album for the holidays and had it coincide with a special Vegas show and a little world tour.