Twitter campaign spikes Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter’ sales by 8,374 percent
The Internet is a funny thing.
When Mariah Carey released the soundtrack to “Glitter” in 2001 — September 11, 2001, to be exact — it flopped. I mean, it was universally viewed as a commercial and critical failure. The album debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200 chart, it was by far Mariah’s worst first-week performance to date—moving just 116,000 units. At the time, that was abysmal for one of the biggest stars in the world.
The album spawned four singles — “Loverboy,” “Never Too Far,” “Don’t Stop (Funkin’ 4 Jamaica)” and “Reflections (Care Enough).” The third and fourth singles were released just five days apart. I was working as the music director of a Top 40 radio station at the time, and I don’t remember ANY of those songs today.
Mariah was signed to a $100 million, five-album contract with Virgin Records at the time. After “Glitter,” the label dropped her.
The terrorist attacks that happened on the day “Glitter” was released had a chilling effect on album sales in the weeks and months that followed, but this was not that. “Glitter” was just met with a collective raspberry.
At about the same time, some will recall that Mariah had a bit of an emotional breakdown. After several erratic public appearances in support of the album and movie, there was a rumored suicide attempt and a two-week hospitalization. (Carey’s publicist said that she had broken dishes and, as a result, accidentally cut her hands and feet.)
And then a funny thing happened… About a decade after “Glitter’s” release, the album took a turn. A number of music critics began warming to it, and suddenly it began to — well, not be as terrible, apparently. In fact, it started do develop something of a cult following.
According to Wikipedia, Kara Brown of “Jezebel” praised “Glitter,” saying that "Mariah was ahead of us all and the time is now." Music Critic Mike Waas of “Idolator” said that “Glitter” was "a misunderstood [record]" and called it "the biggest pop music injustices of the 21st century." And MSN’s Daniel Welsh asserted that "the brilliance of Glitter has gone unappreciated for too long."
So why are we talking about “Glitter” in 2018? As I mentioned earlier, the Internet is a funny thing.
A couple of weeks ago, thanks to a fan-driven social media campaign, the album’s U.S. sales surged 8,374 percent — which will almost certainly enough to land it on the Nov. 24 Billboard Soundracks chart, more than 17 years after its original release. The #JusticeForGlitter hashtag drove sales of about 3,000 units between Nov. 9-14 and generated more than 37,000 tweets from fans demanding that the album finally get its just desserts. It will be “Glitter’s” best sales week since at least February 2002, Billboard reports.
The #JusticeForGlitter campaign was designed to coincide with Carey’s latest album, “Caution,” which was released on Nov. 16. And I think I speak for us all in saying that I hope it does better than “Glitter” did.
— Originally Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News, 11/22/18