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Anytime You Need a Friend is a song by Mariah Carey that was featured on her third studio album, "Music Box." The song was written and produced by Mariah and Walter Afanasieff. It was released as the fourth and final single from the album.
The song draws influence from pop, R&B and gospel music genres. While the album focused heavily on pop oriented and radio friendly material, "Anytime You Need a Friend" deviated from the formula, finishing as the only gospel-infused song on "Music Box."
Lyrically, the song's protagonist tells her love interest that anytime he may need a friend, she will be there unconditionally for him. Throughout the song's bridge and climax, critics noted the lyrics altering from those of a friend, to those of a lover.
The song was well received by contemporary music critics, many of which praised Carey's large spanning vocal range, as well as its gospel influence that they felt was missing on most of Music Box. Aside from its critical acceptance, the song achieved strong worldwide chart positions and peaked at #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but became her first single to miss out the top 10.
Additionally, it peaked at #5 in Canada and topped the singles charts in Finland and the Netherlands. The song attained a top 20 peak position in Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Carey performed "Anytime You Need a Friend" live on several televised talk and award shows around the world, including the Late Show with David Letterman, the British music chart program Top of the Pops and German entertainment show, "Wetten, dass..?." Additionally, the song served as a closing number on Carey's Music Box Tour and Daydream World Tour and was featured on her compilation albums, "Greatest Hits" and "The Ballads."
Although several remixes were commissioned for the song, the C+C remix became the most notable, being produced by C+C Music Factory's David Cole and Robert Clivillés, and the first of Carey's remixes to feature her on production credits.
The music video, directed by Danielle Federici, was filmed during the early summer of 1994.It was filmed in black-and-white, and features Carey walking along the streets of New York, watching several different people, ranging from a small child to an elderly man, lonely and in need of a friend.
Additionally, aside from several scenes of Carey and a large church choir in a large antechamber, the video is known as the first video in which Carey appears with straightened hair.Throughout her career up until that point, Carey had famously sported long, auburn curls. However, the video presented Carey's first image makeover, where she appears with bangs and a long straightened hairstyle.
The video begins with scenes of Carey walking down a long New York street, with the addition of close ups of Carey's face. As she stares down the road, she witnesses a small girl, sitting alone in an alley corner, glaring into the sky. As the first chorus begins, Carey enters a large foyer, with a choir dressed in black singing perched atop a large staircase. During the second verse, she similarly witnesses an older man, who it sitting on a withered stoop.
Consecutively, during the song's bridge, Carey watches as the small child's mother carries her to a nearby playground where her friends are frolicking and playing. Similarly, the elderly man is met with some other elderly citizens, who accompany him to another building nearby.
During the song's climax, Carey joins the choir, flailing her hands wildly towards the sky, and smiling and gazing into the cloudy morning. Renee Graham from The Boston Globe gave the video 2 out of 4 stars. She complimented on the fact that the video captured the song's lyrical essence and how it managed to portray it in a clear and concise way. Although calling it "simple", Graham commented that: "Videos have never really been Mariah Carey's thing, and frankly, they've never had to be. Carey has a killer voice, so the last thing she'd want to do is overshadow her singing with a lot of choreography, complicated story lines or explosions."
Author Chris Nickson compared several parts of the video to religion and belief in God. During such scenes when Carey appears with the choir, he felt it seemed as though they were both channeling a common entity through music; God. Additionally, he claimed it was more evident with each passing scene of the video, as each of the lonely people in the video gaze up into the skies, possibly praying or searching for an answer to their loneliness.
A video was commissioned for the C+C club mix of the song. Known as the C+C video edit, it was also directed by Danielle Federici and serves as a behind the scenes addendum to the main music video. It is also filmed in black and white, and is composed of clips of Carey and her friends during filming of the video, where they chat, laugh and enjoy time with each other. Carey's husband at the time Tommy Mottola made a cameo appearance in the video, appearing alongside Carey during the second verse.
"Anytime You Need a Friend" was generally well received by contemporary music critics, many of whom praised the song's gospel influence as well as Carey's vocal range. Following the mixed reception to the song's parent album, "Music Box," "Anytime You Need a Friend" was deemed a strong contrast to the album's pop influence.
Critics agreed that through lowering Carey's vocal bombast, the album suffered due to lowered passion and energy levels. The song however, was considered the only standout from the album, altering heavily from the pop oriented formula of "Music Box."
J.D. Considine from The Baltimore Sun wrote: "Where another singer might have been tempted to turn "Anytime You Need a Friend" into a full-blown sanctified sing-out, Carey and producer Walter Afanasieff use the gospel harmonies on the chorus as contrast for Carey's pop soul vocal."
A writer from Portland Press Herald called the song one of Carey's "original classics", and felt it earned a place on her compilation album, "Number 1's" even though it did not top the Hot 100.
In an article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a writer commented that Carey's vocal range in the song sounds as if its from a "glass-shattering dimension" and complimented her incorporation of the gospel genre and church choir into the song's climax.
Christopher John Farley from Time described the song as "gospel flavored" and wrote "'Anytime You Need a Friend' demonstrates Carey's vocal power, although too fleetingly."
While calling it "undeniably strong", David Browne from Entertainment Weekly gave the song a mixed review, writing "'Anytime You Need a Friend' feature gospel-inflected choirs seemingly intended to demonstrate that Carey has soul — which she doesn't — but they're beautifully arranged, and they serve as a nice counterpoint to Carey's own lapses into show-offy vocal gymnastics."
Suraya Attas from The Straits Times described Carey's voice as husky, and felt it "exploited her vocal range to the fullest." In 2003, The Daily Record named "Anytime You Need a Friend" one of the "World's Greatest First Dance Songs."
USA Today critic John T. Jones called the song "inspirational", while a writer from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution branded it "the center of the album."
"Anytime You Need A Friend" won a BMI Pop Award and an ASCAP Pop Music Award for the Songwriter Award in 1995.
"Anytime You Need a Friend" was remixed by David Cole and Robert Clivillés of C+C Music Factory. Although over 15 various edits and extended mixes were created, for the most part they are based on the "C+C Club Mix". Other variations, extended mixes, and edits include but are not limited to the "All That and More Mix", "Dave's Empty Pass", and the "Boriqua Tribe Mix".
Cory Rooney and Mark Morales created a "Soul Convention Mix" and a stringapella for the song. Because of the large number of remixes, two maxi singles were released in the US Carey was given co-producing credit for both the C&C mixes and the Soul Convention/Stringapella, the first time that she had been given producing credit on remixes of her songs.
Gregg Shapiro from the Windy City Times complimented the remix, writing: "the presence of each improves on the original. They have something new to say; even with the songs that began as dance tracks."
Jose F. Promis gave the C+C remix two and a half out of five stars, writing how the remix found Carey getting "getting quite gritty and earthy." He concluded his review with: "It made for a topnotch dancefloor number, and stands as an excellent example of early- to mid-'90s dance music, not to mention being one of the singer's most compelling, underrated, and forgotten efforts."
|Australian Singles Chart||12|
|Austrian Singles Chart||25|
|Canadian RPM Singles Chart||5|
|Dutch Singles Chart||1|
|Finnish Singles Chart||1|
|French Singles Chart||12|
|German Singles Chart||41|
|Irish Singles Chart||16|
|Japanese Albums Chart||241|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||5|
|Swiss Singles Chart||15|
|UK Singles Chart||8|
|US Billboard Hot 100||12|
|US Billboard Pop Songs||5|
|US Billboard Hot R&B Singles||22|
|US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs||1|
|US Billboard Adult Contemporary||5|