Almost Home is a song by Mariah Carey that became the main track for the 2013 Walt Disney Pictures film "Oz the Great & Powerful."
The single was released on February 19, 2013. The song was written by Mariah, Simone Porter, Justin Gray, Lindsey Ray, Tor Erik Hermansen & Mikkel Eriksen (also known as Stargate who produced the song along with Mariah).
When Mariah signed on to sing the song, she and Stargate (Tor Erik Hermansen & Mikkel Eriksen) would later change it a bit and ultimately, complete it.
On February 6, 2013, it was announced that Mariah had recorded the song for the Disney film with production team Stargate and that it would be released through digital download on February 19, 2013.
An electropop and R&B song with an inspirational message, "Almost Home" has received generally favorable reviews from music critics, many of whom praised the vocal performance of Mariah, calling it a "return" to her sound of the 1990s after the lukewarm reviews given to her recent releases, including "Triumphant (Get 'Em)."
Following the announcement of the single, it was revealed that Mariah had recorded an accompanying music video for it with David LaChapelle.
The video premiered on March 8, 2013 (on the same day Oz the Great and Powerful was released theatrically).
On February 6, 2013, it was revealed thatMariah was working with StarGate on a song titled "Almost Home", as the lead single from the soundtrack album for the movie "Oz the Great and Powerful" with Mariah saying in a statement that the song has "a message that works beautifully with the film. It's a feel-good record; it gives you the feeling of reaching your home and being with people that you love."
The song was recorded in New York at Roc The Mic Studios & released in a partnership between Def Jam Recordings and Disney Music Group for the promotional campaign for the movie.
On February 14, 2013, the single's artwork was unveiled through Mariah's Instagram account with the single itself being released on February 19, 2013, however, it leaked the day before.
"Almost Home" is a pop and electropop song with elements of other music genres such as R&B, hip hop and EDM.
Mariah delivers an inspirational message with the song and (as described by Jocelyn Vena of MTV), she placed "right in the mythical land from the famed movie" singing during the chorus: "When you're almost there/ And you're almost home/ Just open up your eyes and go/ When you're almost there/ Almost home/ Know you're not alone/ You're almost home."
Following the single's announcement, it was revealed that Mariah had recorded an accompanying music video for it with David LaChapelle, who previously directed the music video for her song "Loverboy."
On February 19, 2013, a teaser of the video was aired on "Good Morning America."
On March 8, 2013, the video premiered on Mariah's VEVO channel on the same day "Oz the Great and Powerful" hit theaters.
LaChapelle captures Mariah belting the Stargate co-produced song, alone, while donning a beautiful black gown.
The photographer-director incorporates footage from the fantasy feature throughout the three in a half minute long visual.
"Almost Home" debuted at number 92 on the Belgian Ultratop chart for the week issued on February 23, 2013.
On its eighth week by 13 March 2013, the song peaked at number 2 in Wallonia region and at number 8 in Flanders becoming a commercial success and a top 10 hit.
In Croatia, Almost home debuted at number 23 and peaked at number 6 on the airplay chart for the week ending on 22 April 2013.
In France and due to the lack of airplay promotion, the song managed to peak at number 185.
The song sold 19,000 digital downloads in its debut week in and as of June 4, 2013, the song has sold 89,000 copies in the United States.
Despite the weak performance, the song managed to peak within the top 20 on the R&B Songs and the Adult contemporary charts at number 18 and 20 respectively.
In Lebanon, the song peaked at number 10, becoming the artist's first top 10 hit in the country.
"Almost Home" has received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Alyssa Toomey from E! praised the song, writing:
"If you've ever closed your eyes, clicked your heels and wished for more Mariah Carey, then you're in luck, because your musical prayers have been answered."
Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone considered the song's chorus as infectious.
Los Angeles Times reviewer Mikael Wood said the song is not as powerful as Mariah' songs "Always Be My Baby" and "We Belong Together," but thought the instrumentation was entirely built around her vocals "which arc upward until they crest in a key change that delivers the thrill we've grown to expect from her."
Alisha Harris of Slate Magazine was surprised of Mariah's appearance on this single as a pop star and stated Mariah's dominance twenty years post her debut:
"The minimalist beat sounds rather over familiar at this point, echoing various hits going back to the late ’90s. The song is pleasant enough in parts, but almost instantly forgettable. As a Carey fan, I’m holding out hope that her new album will have more memorable tracks, even if her lead single, released last year, was also less than stellar. And while the ballad certainly doesn’t rank among the singer’s best work, it does provide the latest evidence of what we can count on after all these years: She’s still got the voice."
Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine said that, with "Almost Home" and "Triumphant (Get 'Em)", Mariah proves she still is "the queen of playing it safe," continuing that her vocals are heavily Auto-Tuned to the point of being "virtually unrecognizable."
Cinquemani also thought the song was over-produced and dated, comparing it to Alicia Keys' 2007 single "No One."
Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly gave a mixed review on the song, saying that while Mariah's "body of work is pretty phenomenal, [...] it has been a while since she delivered a really transcendent single."
Anderson continued saying that "Almost Home" could have been sung by most anybody.
Melinda Newman of Hitfix was critical towards "Almost Home," deeming the instrumentation as "cheesy" and commenting that Mariah sounds bored singing the song with her vocals being heavily compressed.