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THERE'S GOT TO BE A WAY (1991)

"There's Got to Be a Way" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her self-titled debut studio album (1990). Columbia released it as the fifth and final single from the album in the United Kingdom. It was one of four songs Carey wrote with Ric Wakeduring their first recording session together, but "There's Got to Be a Way" was the only composition to make the final track listing. It is a socio-political conscious R&B-pop song which addresses the existence of poverty, racism and war in the world which gradually becomes more aspirational and positive as it progresses. The track garnered a mixed reception upon the album's release in 1990. While Carey's vocals were praised, it was seen as too political. An accompanying music video highlights social injustices. The song reached number 54 on the UK Singles Chart.

Background and Release

"There's Got to Be a Way" was written by Mariah Carey and Ric Wake for Carey's self-titled debut studio album (1990). It was written during Carey and Wake's first recording session together. They composed four songs, but only "There's Got to Be a Way" was chosen for the final track listing. Co-produced by Wake and Narada Michael Walden, it appears as the second of ten songs on the track listing. The track was recorded and engineered by Bob Cadway at Cove City Sound Studios and The Power Station, both located in New York City. He was assisted by Dana Jon Chappelle. It was mixed by David Frazer at Tarpan Studios in San Rafael. The keyboards, bass and rhythm engineering was carried out by Louis Biancaniello, while Joe Franco performed the percussion, Vernon "Ice" Black played the guitar, and Rich Tancredo also performing on the keyboards. Walter Afanasieff played the synth horns. Carey provided her own background vocals along with Billy T. Scott, Jamiliah Muhammed and The Billy T. Scott Ensemble. The song was released as the fifth and final single from the album in the United Kingdom. It is available to purchase as a CD single while the remixes are available on vinyl.

Composition

"There's Got to Be a Way" is an R&B-pop music song with elements of gospel. The theme of social activism can be heard in the lyrics "There’s got to be a way / to connect this world today." The song begins with Carey publicly denouncing the existence of poverty and racism in the world, and she uses the bridge to shift the lyrics towards an uplifting and aspirational tone. Carey suggests we should be more tolerant of each other and not resort so readily to war in the lyrics "Couldn't we accept each other / Can't we make ourselves aware."

MUSIC VIDEO

The accompanying music video begins with a shot of an empty street, followed by clips of disadvantaged and poorer members of society going about their daily activities. Two men play dominoes on a wooden crate outside a building, a gang make fun of an elderly man hanging newspapers outside his store and an obese woman walks down the street. Clips of Carey leaning against a wall and sitting on some steps looking on at what is happening are shown. As the first chorus begins, everyone starts to dance joyfully in the street and help those in need. A gospel choir comes out of one of the buildings as the street becomes more crowded with people of all ages and backgrounds rejoicing and getting along with each other. One of the shops in the background has a neon light outside the entrance which says "Jesus Saves".