Mariah Carey's soundtrack album Glitter won't be released until September 12, but you don't have to wait that long to hear the album. It's available now, in jukebox format, on her Web site.
One song, "Twister," will prove an ironic message that fans, critics and armchair psychiatrists should be analyzing all fall.
The song was purportedly written as a touching tribute to Tonjua Twist, Carey's stylist who committed suicide. But in light of recent events, like the singer's nervous breakdown and hospitalization, the lyrics have a poignant new meaning.
In a whispered voice, Carey sings:
"She was kind of fragile
And she had a lot to grapple with
But basically she kept
It all inside.
Childlike and effervescent
With a well of pain
The depth of I could not imagine
If I tried.
Never thought that I
Would hear them say
Twister went and threw it all away.
She was kind of magical
Her laughter sent you casually
Floating through a moment
Dear God, it's all so tragic
And I'll never have the chance
To feel the closure
That I ultimately need
No, I never dreamed
That there would come a time
Twister'd go and leave it all behind.
Lord I pray she's found some peace
And her soul's somewhere at ease.
Yeah I'm feeling kind of fragile
And I've got a lot to handle
But I guess this is my way
Of saying goodbye.”
The rest of the Glitter album is much less inspired, sort of insipid, and not very exciting. As previously noted, four of the songs are remakes or largely sampled from other material. The the original songs are weakly disco-ish and warbly, making Carey sound like she's yodeling. As usual, her considerable vocal talents are wasted when they could be dramatic.
On one number, "Reflections," the pianist in the background is doing a scary imitation of Elton John, circa "Tumbleweed Connection." Carey, who has had innumerable problems with plagiarism charges in the past, doesn't need trouble from Elton now that he's so out of pocket, too.
I was so sorry to hear about the death of writer Peter Maas last week. The 72-year-old author of Serpico, The Valachi Papers and so many other fine pieces of crime journalism was a friend and someone I respected. He'll be sorely missed. He leaves behind a wife and a five-year-old son, as well as adult children and many other friends in the New York literary community.
Last winter, I asked Peter if he would give me a quote or two for a piece in Talk magazine's Oscar issue about producer Dino De Laurentiis. Dino was going to receive the Thalberg Award, and he had produced the film versions of several of Peter's books. Maas, ever the gentleman, gave me more than a quote; he gave me, without remuneration, a very funny, full-page remembrance.
Here are those comments. Peter, I salute you. New York will not be the same again.
"The Valachi Papers was a huge bestseller, but no one in the movies would touch it. They were all afraid theaters would be blown up and all kinds of mayhem would happen. Dino has a lot of leverage because there's no competition. He figures that, being Italian, he'll take the curse off of it.
Ted Ashley was running Warner Bros., and he made a handshake deal with Dino to buy the rights. A couple of days later he reneged. He said that Steve Ross didn't want to worry about starting his car in the morning. I'm not kidding — I was there. It was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in one of those bungalows.
So Dino goes ahead and gets financing from the various territories — he does not call the world's nations 'nations,' he calls them territories. He gets Charles Bronson. Bronson's a big star overseas, especially in Germany, Japan and France. Dino makes the picture. He brings it to the United States, and no on will distribute it. Then, at the last minute, Columbia buys the U.S. rights. They're on the brink of disaster and it doesn't matter if the mob is going to blow them up.
Someone who's 'connected' tells Dino he should open the movie in Chicago. He was right. Dino got the word from some knowledgeable source that the movie should open there. He got a great review in Chicago. Dino begged me to come to Chicago. An NBC reporter says to me, 'Is this better than the Godfather?' And I said 'No.' And the guy — the reporter —says 'Yes!' On television.
I hated the movie because it was so sloppy — the Twin Towers were in it! But the point is, he had the balls to do it. Where everybody feared to tread, he went right in there. I always admired him for that, anyway — and the picture did terrific. In Japan and Germany it did extremely well.
All I got was the original fee, no participation, $100,000, because no one else wanted to buy it. That was the beginning of my relationship with Dino. I hated the movie, but I loved him.
Do you know how Dino came to the United States? His guy in the U.S. is Ralph Serpe, who's dead now, a Mulberry Street guy. Dino was trying to marry Sylvana Mangano, his first wife — he was fabulously in love with her. She's coming to New York for the opening of Bitter Rice, maybe the first dubbed Italian movie. She says, 'If I arrive in New York and I'm greeted by Cadillac filled with red roses, then I'll marry you.' So he calls Serpe, who meets her with a Cadillac filled with red roses. So she marries him.
Now, Dino wants to make Ulysses, but he doesn't speak any English at this point. Ralph is his connection. They want Kirk Douglas to play Ulysses. They go out to California, where it soon becomes apparent to Dino that Ralph doesn't know anything. They find out that Ray Stark is Kirk Douglas's agent. They find out where his office is and they go there and pitch the movie. Dino is talking in Italian, and Ralph is interpreting. According to Dino, Stark says 'Who's the writer?' Dino says, 'Ho-mere!' Ralph says, 'Ho-mere!' Stark, not knowing who Hom-ere — meaning Homer — is, says, 'Kirk can't stand scriptwriters! Better keep him away.'
Dino is stunned. He tells Serpe, 'Tell him, don't worry, we'll keep him in a hotel room, he'll never leave!'"
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