On Mariah Carey's new single, "Thirsty," the pop diva asks a no-good scrub of a suitor, "Why you try so damn hard?"
After listening to "Thirsty," we want to ask Mimi the same question.
It's not that the Hit-Boy-produced joint is a dud. It's a perfectly bouncy number that will surely fill dance floors and probably find its way to plenty of radio play lists.
But Carey, who set the blueprint for mashing ethereal pop-R&B melodies with speaker-rattling hip-hop beats, deserves better than this.
Hit-Boy's synth-heavy, minimalist beat feels like a watered-down version of what he offered Jay Z and Kanye West on "… In Paris," and it lacks the heft that he brought to Beyoncé's "Flawless."
And then there's the schlocky lyrics.
Inspired by street lingo -- "thirsty," for the unaware, is someone who is eager, verging on desperate -- it seems laughable that Carey opted to pen such a gimmicky tune.
She's delivered some of the best pop songs of the last two dozen years, and she certainly knows her way around a club groove (Need proof? Spin "It's Like That," which is almost a decade old).
So why do an uninspired jam about a scrub if you're not going to deliver a sassy, melisma-soaked banger like those that came so effortlessly in the past (see "Obsessed," "Shake It Off," "Heartbreaker")? Why not remind the many contemporaries you've inspired, who are owning radio with more interesting spins off your blueprint, what makes you Mariah Carey?
"You're thirsty for a dream / leaving me drowning / boy, there ain't no S.O.S.," she sings on the hook as buzzy Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan offers his best impression of Future with some Auto-Tuned backing vocals.
It's a forgettable song at best, and it doesn't get us any more excited for Carey's new album. And that completely defeats the purpose of a buzz single.
In fewer words, try again -- but don't try so hard.
The singer's not-so-secret album, "Me. I am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse," arrives May 27.