Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

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Mariah Carey bets on nostalgia, covering Foreigner

August 18, 2009 | 12:40 pm

Perhaps realizing that the focus should be less on Mariah Carey's feud with Eminem and a bit more on the pop diva, more hints were dropped today about the singer's upcoming "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel." The ad-supported album, which was originally set for Aug. 25, is now due to be released Sept. 29.

The second single from Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" will apparently be a cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" (perhaps tackling "Don't Stop Believing" would have been a too-obvious choice of pandering). The news was first reported by Roger Friedman, and his article has since been posted on Carey's official website

This isn't the first time Carey has covered an '80s ballad -- see her take on "I Still Believe" above. The latter gave Carey yet another top 10 hit, a status that has thus far eluded her "Obsessed." But it's far from a tanker, as the song is holding steady at No. 14.

Additionally, Nielsen SoundScan reports that the single has sold 383,000 downloads to date. The tally isn't bad for a song that's only been available for about a month, but it's not showing the kind of initial numbers her "Touch My Body" displayed last spring. The latter sold 286,000 downloads in its debut week, and shot to No. 1.

If anything, tackling a well-known power ballad seems like a safe choice. It's a comfortable fall-back plan after "Obsessed" performed well, but did far from blockbuster numbers. It will undoubtedly be a hit, but it's giving me more reason to fear "Imperfect Angel." The sort-of-real/sort-of-not feud with Eminem seemed largely a ploy to keep Carey in the headlines, and covering Foreigner seems just as calculated to steer Carey back onto familiar ground. Pop & Hiss awaits to be proven wrong.

-- Todd Martens