Bringin’ On the Heartbreak
Mariah Carey’s covers have varied from junior high talent show awful (Journey’s “Open Arms”) to the fantastic (Prince’s “Beautiful Ones”). Fortuately, her cover of Def Leppard’s “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” falls into the latter category.
Mariah reintreprets it as an adult contemporary single. The electric guitars are replaced with a piano, strings, and acoustic guitars. The only time an electric guitar appears is towards the end (the third b section) for the last rousing, loud chorus.
Opening with a piano, she sings “gypsy, sittin’ lookin’ pretty/a broken rose with a laughin’ eyes.” In her version, she is talking to perhaps a troubled friend and trying to reach out to her. If it had been rewritten so she would’ve been talking to a man instead, it would ruin the single immediately. She is sympathetic and feeling helpless as she watches her friend self-destruct. The chorus is quiet and low and supported by an acoustic guitar. Again, another excellent move. In the second verse, she is gentle and non-confrontional while telling her that she is “burnin’ out and burnin’ me/oh can’t you see/just tryin’ to say to you.”
Instead of going for the electric guitar now, she opts to have an acoustic guitar, continuing the melancholy mood. a The electric guitar finally makes it appearance (3:06), with only Mariah ad-libbing some “oh-ohs” into the background. The only element left from the original is the final chorus. The choir, electric guitar, and Mariah finally reach stadium level loudness. Then, she adds her trademark high-pitched notes at the end.
Although Mariah’s career has gone downhill the past couple years, she is still capable of releasing some good music. “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” was a good cover, due to its obscurity and how she matched it to suit her style.