The Art Of Letting Go is a song by Mariah Carey for her fourteenth studio album "Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse."
The song was released on November 11, 2013 by Island Records. Upon release, critics revered the song as a "return to basics," praising Mariah's vocal control throughout the song.
It was also heavily compared to her 1990 debut single "Vision of Love."
The song was most successful in South Korea and Australia where it reached number seven and number eight on the Singles Chart and Urban Singles chart respectively.
The "Art of Letting Go" was originally released as the second single from Mariah's fourteenth studio album of the same name, following the lead single "#Beautiful" featuring Miguel that was commercially successful, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and receiving a platinum certification from RIAA.
In June of 2013, Mariah left a message to her fans, stating:
"While making this album, I got so immersed in the creative process that I just don't feel I would be doing it justice to release it on 7/23. I'd rather not exclude meaningful songs. I want to give you this album as it's meant to be heard. When I'm ready, you'll be the first 2 know!...."
In July of 2013, Mariah shot a video clip for the remix of "Beautiful" featuring Young Jeezy, but an unexpected accident on the set resulted in her having a dislocated shoulder which delayed the album even more as Mariah stated that she needs time to recover.
On November 11, 2013; during a Q&A session following the song's Facebook release, Mariah gave an update about the album, stating:
"Now I've been inspired to add two more songs so we're almost there. I can't even express this properly but I feel like this is gonna be my favorite album."
The song is an empowering gospel and classic R&B ballad with use of the piano, strings and guitar. It was written by Mariah and Jerkins.
The lyrics of the song talks about a personal experience Mariah faced throughout the years specifically her early career days when she was signed to Columbia Records through her relationship with her then-husband, the former executive of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola.
At that time she was not being herself and did not produce the music she always wanted to be, until her 1997 studio album "Butterfly" changed her image drastically.
She wrote on her Facebook page that she never likes to be specific in her lyrical content to any song so all the fans can add their experiences and related to the song:
"For the first time Ever! 'The Art of Letting Go' on Facebook!!!!...This is such a personal record to me. I wrote the lyrics so that anyone and everyone could relate to them and hopefully release anything that they need to let go of that’s holding them back or bringing them down. Thank you for sharing this experience with me!"
The song was originally inspiration to also call the album "The Art of Letting Go" however, during in interview with MTV in February of 2014, Mariah revealed that she was frustrated the album title leaked as she had not intended for the public to know about it just yet and as a result she would be retitling the album.
On October 28, 2013, Mariah uploaded the single artwork on her Instagram. The revealed artwork shows her kneeling down on a beach in front of a sunset.
Sam Lanksy on Idolator commanded the sexiness of Mariah's emancipated body "[...] Wearing a swimsuit thing on a beach against a golden sunset, sporting tousled waves, her body is emancipated — just like her spirit."
He also thought that it is more creative than the single cover of "Beautiful" as Mariah appears more free here. "It's also an upgrade from the dismally sloppy 'Beautiful' artwork and a good sign of things to come."
Mariah's new manager and longtime friend Jermaine Dupri planned to release the song via the singer's official Facebook page on November 11, 2013.
She stated that she wanted to share the song on Facebook since the music industry is taking advantage of the social media where the fans can globally listen to the song at once despite the time difference.
Commenting on the personal message of the song, Mariah wrote to her fans on her Facebook page:
"I could not be more thrilled to announce that my new single, 'The Art Of Letting Go', will be released exclusively on Facebook on 11 November. This song is very personal to me and I am very excited to share this experience with you in a way so intimate. I do not even know what to say."
In an Interview with Fuse conducted on October 24, 2013, Mariah about her relationship with her fans:
"It's not like, 'Oh, here comes the new world of the Internet. Let me figure out how to adapt myself into this.' No. It was always either calling my fans... or having fans wait hours on end in front of a signing, and I tried to do things like buy pizza for them."
On being asked about the release strategy, Dupri stated to Global14 that in the age of illegal download and biased radio airplay, Facebook is the best place on the internet to keep Mariah's fans updated to her latest work where many of whom are now old-schooled and may not have iTunes account nor a large fan base like contemporary established artists.
"With basically 1 day left before the release of 'The Art Of Letting Go' on Mariah's Facebook page, I thought it was important to share with my Lifers, things I’ve learned through this exercise. First off, as big as Facebook is, when it comes to music people still question how much ground will actually get covered, I've gotten messages every day from lambs like this. Mariah’s fanbase isn’t like Biebers in that it isn't full of teenagers who sit on iTunes. Many of them are old skool and need to be exposed to the song on radio first to want to support her, so while the Facebook premiere will attract a lot of die hard fans, many more fans will only be exposed to Mariah by airplay and that is what will drive up her iTunes position."
The song received generally positive reviews from music critics.
Mike Ayers of Rolling Stone complimented the song's overall production describing it as Mariah's most controlled performance in years as well as commending the notes at the climax through calling them classic Mariah, stating:
"The melancholy number finds Carey in fine form, exploring loss over a smooth, orchestral production. The song builds steadily over three and a half minutes, and just when you think that it might be one of Carey's more controlled performances in years, she brings it home with classic Carey high notes."
Rap-Up acclaimed the song and the personal direction of the single, writing: "The wait is over. After overcoming a painful injury, Mariah Carey soars once again with her new single 'The Art of Letting Go', which also serves as the title track to her upcoming album."
Erika Ramirez of Billboard complimented lyrical content describing Mariah as singing after a heartbreak and she commended her for the vocal belts towards the end.
Jacques Peterson pf Pop Dust complimented the soulful sound of the song comparing it to her debut "Vision of Love," adding:
"Mimi returns to her soulful 'Vision of Love' on the old-school power ballad, which also sees to the songstress channeling doo-wop 60's girls group and of course herself... Is this Mariah's best ballad since 'We Belong Together'? Most definitely."
Matt Walton of So So Gay described Mariah's vocals as soaring as well as saying that the song is a modern classic recalling her heyday "[...] It's modern, but it's also a throwback not just to her classic days, but to a time when unreachable females sang of their inner turmoil and tumultuous love lives in an almost rambling, soulful stream of consciousness."
Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly compared the song as a nice throwback of "Vision of Love" as well as commending the hooked lyrics and the use of the line "Go to Mimi on your contact/ press delete."
Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast hailed the simplicity of the ballad and commended that overall synthesized production of the song "'The Art of Letting Go', is a much-needed lesson that great pop music is composed of the most basic group of ingredients—a stellar voice and straightforward orchestrations—even if it’s admittedly not the most explosive track that Carey has ever produced."
Brian Mansfield of USA Today described the song as a "gospel ballad" and proof that Carey "could, indeed, sound captivating singing the phone book... 'The Art of Letting Go' is a vent disguised as a gospel ballad and has lyrics that often sound rushed and awkward."
Robert Copsey of Digital Spy awarded the song four stars out of five, commending the single title, stating:
"It's a typically wordy but wonderfully apt name, given that after the so-so success of previous offering '#Beautiful' (and disastrous showing for "buzz" single 'Triumphant') she delayed its release from July to some time next year. But after endless teasing, could this be the smash she's seemingly holding out for?"
Additionally Copsey didn't expect any commercial success for the single since Carey admitted that she doesn't follow any particular trend in music, he added "The short answer is no. An orchestral R&B ballad packed with Mariah-isms ('Go to Mimi on your contacts... press delete') and no major hook is never going to set the charts alight, but something tells us Carey is more than aware of this. Rather than buying into the current trends for EDM, guest rappers or shock tactics, she's adopted a welcomely serene approach and stripped it back to the core basics of her earlier work: old-school soul that culminates in a stunning finale that only Mariah knows how."