No. 65: Mariah Carey, “Touch My Body”

By: Mike Barthel / December 11, 2008

I’m not going to lie to you: I would not have been as interested in this song were it not for the video. But what a video! Jack McBrayer (30 Rock‘s Kenneth) plays a computer technician on an outcall at Mariah’s mansion who fantasies about cavorting with her in oddly Mariah-esque ways.

What makes the clip work is that it’s playing with the R&B-video-in-a-mansion format without parodying it outright, as Kenneth—McBrayer’s character is basically Kenneth—and Mariah play laser tag in an all-white landscape, race stock cars as a banquet table, and play Frisbee on the lawn. The clip combines Mariah’s and Kenneth’s very different kinds of glamour to make Mariah’s more charming; the framing places her as a down-to-earth regular human being who just wants her computer fixed and dresses in casual clothes and knows about wireless protocol. The song itself, though, takes control in a different way, offering the fantasy while retaining control; Mariah tells us “I will hunt you down” if you leak their sex tape. She seems sincere. Together, they work to make a singer who was all too easy to mock seem stronger, less tolerant of bullshit, more focused. As her turn away from emotionalism became a sleek and cold precision, this video solidified it behind glass walls.

Mariah Carey – Touch my body [Dailymotion]
80 ’08 (and Heartbreak)