My favorite celebrity who ever existed, Mariah Carey, has unleashed her first single (the hilariously titled "Touch My Body") from her (equally hilariously titled) upcoming album E=MC², and it fits her like the tight jeans she (hilariously!) uses as imagery in the song. "Touch My Body" is as wonderfully ridiculous and ridiculously wonderful as Mariah herself (hear it here if you haven't yet). It's a pink, ruffled pillow of a track, snappy like T-Pain's "Buy You a Drank," mincing and minimal like co-writer The-Dream's own "Shawty Is Da Shit," and obsequiously polite, bouncing with the tempered oomph of her own "Always Be My Baby."
A lot of people hate this track (check the scathing reception at ONTD, for example), and that doesn't surprise me one bit. Besides being lite enough to fit easily onto adult-contemporary radio in a few months (once the country's acclimated to it -- as is usually the case with AC radio, time makes the lite sound lite-r), it's more brazenly femme than anything off Mariah's wonderful (but overly safe) 2005 comeback smash, The Emancipation of Mimi. To love Mariah (like to really, really love her and not just appreciate her music) is to embrace the fact that she is the girliest visible woman on the planet. Excessive femininity, even via actual females, is regularly frowned upon, and yet in good times and bad, in multi-platinum success and utter floppage, Mariah has soldiered on, all music box-/butterfly-/rainbow-/glitter/charm bracelet/teddy bear-loving and pneumatic and high-voiced and eternally 12. She's so unwaveringly feminine that she makes being soft seem like an act of bravery.
That same seemingly paradoxical dynamic is going on lyrically in "Body" (though musically it's just plain soft, right down to the music-box twinkling that crops briefly up now and then, as though she can't stop stealing glimpses of that pretty little ballerina that guards her rings from Claire's). "If there's a camera up in here / Then it's gonna leave with me / When I do (I do)," she sings, effectively telling whomever she's singing to that she'll submit to his fantasy as long as he realizes that she's ultimately in control of it: she's never more sound like a Russ Meyer character come to life. Underlining that point are mentions in the chorus of her (considerable) curves, thighs that go on long enough to wrap around a dude's waist and interest in being wrestled and thrown around the bedroom. If that isn't the picture of a supervixen, I don't know what is. Even the title itself can be read as an assertion of her femininity. Instead of the more concise "Touch Me," she chooses to emphasize her anatomy, and considering how much of it her tits take up, that might as well be code for "Touch My Womanness." When she commands her object of lust, "Come on and give me what I deserve," I get the feeling that she's referring to her birthright.
"Touch My Body" is Mariah in (and busting out of) a nutshell. The estrogen-loading, the infatuation with detail (dig those glorious "Huh-oh" background vocals that coquettishly ricochet from speaker to speaker during the chorus), the eagerness to please (it's so listener-friendly, your mom could love it, even if the Wendy Williams reference is aimed to sail over her head). All of her is there, naked for the world. But of course it is -- how else is she supposed to show off her body?