Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Mariah Carey – GTFO

Oft-used chatroom acronym or EDM act that just made New Music Friday? You decide!


Thomas Inskeep: Mariah’s best single since 2008’s “Touch My Body,” I love “GTFO” for many reasons: 1. The production, courtesy mostly of Drake sideman Nineteen85, is incredibly minimalist, especially on its verses. That’s due in large part to 2. The sampling of Porter Robinson’s 2014 “Goodbye to a World,” and if you’re befuddled by this stripped-down, nearly ethereal R&B single taking much of its sound from a weird EDM cut, you’re not alone. 3. Mariah’s basically singing against the beat, which serves it well. 4. That sample of Mariah intaking breath before singing gets under my skin in the best way. 5. The chorus actually is “How ’bout you get the fuck out?” And a million Gay Twitter™ memes were born! This is absolutely everything I want in a Mariah Carey single in 2018.

Juan F. Carruyo: Having checked myself out from Mariah ever since “Touch My Body,” this new single is making me quickly regret that decision. The beat itself seems lifted from a department store’s bed music, adding a nice hypnagogic touch to the proceedings. Her voice is now as AutoTuned and affected as everybody who’s still trying to drive the clicks home to the monetization plant, but she surely sells that hook well.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Those simple, dreamy synth melodies imbue the song with a childlike wonder. They bring to mind those nights spent laying in bed, hearing mom and dad read fairy tales containing the happiest of endings. On “GTFO,” they crash headfirst into the tragic realities of adulthood’s romantic failures. Mariah Carey accomplishes this by utilizing folkloric vernacular (“My prince was so unjustly handsome,” “Who was the knight in shining armor?”) and juxtaposing it with an identifiably mature lifestyle (“Might as well down this Caymus bottle,” “Mimi’ll call you a valet”). The titular line is softly spoken, delivered like a Disney Princess intimately confessing her love to a Prince who’s saved her. This reversal dramatizes the kiss-off, allowing it to sound both contemptuous and grief-stricken. “GTFO” may be light and unassuming, but it’s these qualities that magnify the song’s emotional undercurrent. As the song fades out, one senses that we’re lying in bed once again. We’re alone this time, and there’s no happily ever after in sight: goodbye to a worldview.

Will Adams: The Porter Robinson sample is inspired, in that amidst the original’s pounding electro synths is a mournful robot calling into the night over descending minor chords. A title like “GTFO” portends similar aggression but plays just as wistfully, as Mariah repeats the expletive phrase with the weariness of someone who’s more hurt than angry. After a while it begins to plod, lacking its source material’s dynamics to push it somewhere new by the three minute mark.

Julian Axelrod: One of my favorite Mariah songs is “Underneath the Stars,” an achingly earnest exploration of the ecstasy of intimacy. It’s a large sentiment from a large personality, yet it perfectly captures the way love can humble you and make you feel small. “GTFO” takes that sentiment, subverts it, and elevates it into the outer reaches of the solar system. Nineteen85 flips a neon-flecked Porter Robinson sample into a stunning, skittering quiet storm that pulses to the beat of a broken heart. Mariah’s entrance is sullen and subdued, but her voice grows stronger over the course of the song, every line bolstering her resolve. It’s a joy to hear her playing in the softer corners of her register, never showy but never shy. She lets you hear every moment that led up to the titular kiss-off, telling a story with a single sigh. It’s a quiet triumph that signals a new, exciting future: not a Moment, just a moment.

Rebecca A. Gowns: The video is shot like a Douglas Sirk melodrama, which is a good fit for the song: shimmering, bold, resonant. The mature heroine comes into her own, finding the deep reserves of strength that were there all along. She steps out from the shadows and reclaims her life. Quite frankly, I haven’t heard a better breakup song since 2009.

Tobi Tella: This kind of graceful whisper ballad is the kind of thing Mariah could do in her sleep, but it’s still nice to hear. I also enjoy how casually cruel this is. I want to just have a personal Mariah to softly coo to people to get the fuck out whenever I please.

Alfred Soto: It’s her choice to sing as if her voice were ash and pestle when it isn’t, yet listening to it is like indulging Dionne Warwick in 1986.

Matias Taylor: Mariah’s silky vocals (smartly punctuated by the occasional belting on “how ’bout you”) are ideal for this kind of modern R&B mood piece, so it’s a pleasure to hear her sound updated so perfectly by producer Nineteen85. And it may be classic tongue in cheek Mariah, but it’s a testament to her vocal performance that that titular hook registers also registers as real pain, frustration, and hard won relief.

Stephen Eisermann: I always thought it was weird when Ariana did her best to imitate Mariah, because it sounded like a robot clone of Mariah — all the vocals, none of the charm. Now, however, Ariana has found her footing and evolved, and this… kind of feels like Mariah is trying to do her best Ariana impression. “GTFO” is too immature, the slow pace doesn’t suit her voice well, and, yeah, of course she sounds good, but it just feels… bad. We don’t need Mariah to pander.

Anna Suiter: “Fuck” is a strong word, and hard to ignore. Without it, you probably wouldn’t notice the lyrics in this song, or dismiss it completely. But “fuck” is there, and it makes you pay attention just enough. Just enough to focus the song when the sample especially could just let it meander instead. Even if it doesn’t have much space to meander to begin with.

Ramzi Awn: Mariah’s voice cuts like a knife on “GTFO,” and maybe that’s how she planned it. The chorus makes vibrant use of empty space, and the second verse finds MC cooing about her friends, an unmistakable call to arms. Clean, simple and carefully crafted, the single serves as an outrageous reminder of just what Mariah Carey is capable of.  

Taylor Alatorre: In the four years since its release, Porter Robinson’s Worlds has assumed totemic status among a wide range of subcultures: ravers, gamers, otaku, shitposters, and the archetypal lonely teenager in their bedroom yearning for escape. Its stature seems destined to increase in the coming years as the themes it plays with — AI companions, virtual selves, digital nativism — move further from the ether into reality. And the crest of this wave is… a Mariah Carey promotional single. Which weirdly makes a great deal of sense. She’s been around for as long as the World Wide Web has, and for a certain type of electronic music fan, Mariah sampling “Goodbye to a World” is as bold and unexpected as the “Fantasy” remix was to pop and hip hop fans in 1995. The sample dominates the landscape here, with some minor touch-ups by Nineteen85 to render it compatible with R&B playlists. It’s only in the second half of the chorus that Mariah lets her vocal chords loose and indelibly stamps it as her own; the rest of the time she tiptoes so delicately around the sample that “fuck” barely registers as a curse word. In so shrinking herself, she turns a tale of personal betrayal into a universal comfort blanket that, like the best of participatory online culture, changes its shape to suit whoever’s listening. Anyway, we now live in a world where Mariah Carey harmonizing with a Vocaloid in a song with a chatspeak title has become completely normalized. Change your assumptions accordingly.

Reader average: [8.33] (6 votes)

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2 Responses to “Mariah Carey – GTFO”

  1. Big up for Julian for mentioning “Underneath the Stars” – one of the most beautiful songs in Ms Carey’s discography and the live performance at Tokyo Dome is flat-out transcendental (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58thmZu8AI8). I don’t think Mariah Carey gets enough credit for her composing top-line melody, instinct for picking samples and her overall musicianship.

    “GTFO” is my favorite Mariah song since “I’m That Chick”. Love hearing her on such a current production and she just glides on it.

  2. guud. very guud.

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