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Shake it Off

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Shake it Off

"Shake It Off"
A-side "Get Your Number"
Released July 12, 2005 (2005-07-12)
Format CD single, digital download
Genre R&B, pop, hip hop
Length 3:52
Label Island
Writer(s) Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, Johntá Austin
Producer Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, Johntá Austin
Mariah Carey singles chronology

"We Belong Together"
"Shake It Off"
"Get Your Number"

The Emancipation of Mimi track listing
"We Belong Together
"Shake It Off"
"Mine Again"

"Shake It Off" is a song performed by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, taken from her tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). It was written and produced by Carey along with Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, and Johntá Austin. The song initially impacted radio on July 12, 2005 as the album's third single in the United States, while "Get Your Number" served as the album's third single elsewhere. "Shake It Off" was later released as a single in Australia and New Zealand, and as a double A-side with "Get Your Number" in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Described by Dupri as "ghetto", the track is a R&B song that makes use of pop and hip-hop influences and a simple, sparse production. Lyrically, the song follows Carey as she moves on from her relationship with an unfaithful lover, packing her things and breaking up with him over an answering machine.

The song was well received by music critics, with many complimenting its simple yet inspirational lyrics, as well as calling it a standout track from the album. Additionally, several critics, as well as Dupri himself, compared the song and its production to the material from Usher's Confessions (2004). The song peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, as it was barred by Carey's own "We Belong Together" and Kanye West's Gold Digger for six weeks. Furthermore, it marked the first time a female lead artist occupied the top two positions of the Hot 100. The song achieved strong charting in other worldwide territories in which it was released, peaking at numbers six and fix in Australia and New Zealand, and numbers fifteen and nine in Ireland and the United Kingdom, respectively.

"Shake It Off" was performed live by Carey on several televised events, including the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards where it was accompanied by the remix for "We Belong Together", the 2005 World Music Awards and British program Top of the Pops. The renditions all used props from the video, such as the Lamborghini Murciélago and Broadway-styled 'MIMI' prop. Additionally it was performed at the as a five-piece concert on Good Morning America, and on the New Year's Eve special titled, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. "Shake It Off" was included on the set-lists of the The Adventures of Mimi Tour (2006), where critics described the performance as the most energetic part of the show, as well as the Angels Advocate Tour (2010).

The song's music video, directed by Jake Nava features numerous extravagant wardrobe changes. It follows Carey moving from her boyfriend's posh apartment, then riding off through "Hollyhood" with another man, played by actor Chris Tucker. Throughout the video, Carey leaves her lover several messages regarding their break-up, one of which Carey delivers while sitting on a large dining room table. The video's beginning and end contrast, with it opening with Carey in a bathtub with rose petals, then ending with her moving on into the sunset, dropping her robe. The video was nominated for Best R&B Video at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.


In 2001, Carey suffered a physical and emotional breakdown, causing her to abandon promotion of her then-released studio album Glitter (2001), and its film of the same name.[1] As she was hospitalized for exhaustion, the film project received strong negative critical feedback, with the album faring only slightly better.[2] Following Carey's absence from the public eye, as well as her abandonment of promotional appearances for the film and soundtrack, her unprecedented $100 million five-album record deal with Virgin Records (EMI Records) was bought out for $50 million.[3][4] After recovering from her breakdown, and completing her contractual agreement with Virgin Records, Carey began recording her intended "comeback" and follow-up album, Charmbracelet (2002).[5] Though the album focused on incorporating several inspirational and adult contemporary ballads, and re-capturing Carey's audience from throughout the 1990s, critics took notice of Carey's different vocals.[6]

As Glitter had been a mixture of 1980s covers, and more dance-oriented material, Charmbracelet was void of up-tempo numbers, and harbored on slower and more contemporary melodies.[6] In his review of the album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine harshly criticized the album's content, but also Carey's voice, which he described as "in tatters".[6] He wrote "Whenever she sings, there's a raspy whistle behind her thin voice and she strains to make notes throughout the record. She cannot coo or softly croon, nor can she perform her trademark gravity-defying vocal runs. Her voice is damaged, and there's not a moment where it sounds strong or inviting."[6] Though fueled by strong media attention regarding Carey's return to music, as well as her new deal with Island Records, the album failed to deliver the type of success she had been accustomed to throughout the 1990s, and only managed sales of five million copies globally.[7] After the album's release, and its succeeding tour, Carey began conceptualizing and working on a new project, eventually titled The Emancipation of Mimi, her tenth studio effort.[8][9]

Recording and development

"I had that beat actually before she got to the studio. So she came in, she heard that beat and was like, 'Yeah, that's what I want'. That was one of the first records we had. I didn't really know what to do for her because I didn't hear nothing else that was on the album, but I just felt like she didn't have that bounce on her album."
—Dupri, MTV News.[10]

By November 2004, Carey had already recorded several songs for her newly-titled tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi.[11] Island Records head L.A. Reid suggested to Carey, however, that she compose a few more strong singles to ensure the project's commercial success.[11] Noting that she had written some of her best work with Jermaine Dupri, Reid recommended that Carey meet with Dupri for a brief studio session.[11] Carey took Reid's advice and headed to Atlanta to collaborate with Dupri.[11] During this two-day trip, the duo wrote and produced "Shake It Off" and "Get Your Number", which were eventually released as the album's third and fourth singles.[11] (Following this recording session, "Shake It Off" was briefly selected as the album's lead single, replacing the two other contenders "Stay The Night" and "Say Somethin'".[11])

Carey later returned to Atlanta for a second meeting with Dupri; during this trip, Carey and Dupri penned the last two songs to be included on the album, "We Belong Together" and "It's Like That".[11] Carey and her management then decided to release "It's Like That", which Carey called "the right fire-starter", as the album's lead single.[11] Carey later reminisced about her experience with Dupri: "I am so grateful I went to Atlanta," she said. "And I have to say, we wrote some of my favorite songs on the album. I'm so proud of Jermaine – he's so focused, and he knew what had to be done."[11] In an interview with MTV, Carey described the album: "The album is not about making the older executives happy by making a bring-down-the-house, tearjerker ballad, or [something] steeped in the media dramas of my life. What I tried to do was keep the sessions very sparse, underproduced, like in '70s soul music..."[12]


"Shake It Off"
A sample of "Shake It Off", featuring the strong beat and empowering female lyrics.[13] Throughout the sample, Carey's vocals lower and breathy vocals are featured, as critics noted its "narrow range" until the climax.[14] Described as both "crude" and "ghetto", the song draws strong influence from R&B and hip-hop, and was compared by several critics to Usher's Confessions (2004).[15][16]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Shake It Off" is a mid-tempo R&B and pop song with a hip-hop backbeat and a "thumping", sparse production.[13][17] Written and produced by Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox and Johntá Austin, the song drew comparisons to several productions from Usher's 2004 album, Confessions.[15][16] According to the sheet music published at by W.B.M. Music Corporation, "Shake It Off" is set in common time with a tempo of 66 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of D major with Carey's vocal range spanning from the low-note of A3 to the high-note of G 5. The song follows in the chord progression of Bm7–Am7–Gmaj7[18] The verses and chorus remain in a narrow voice range, until according to Jon Pareles of The New York Times, Carey "gives herself a few of her old sky-high notes as a background flourish" near the song's end.[14] According to Carey's album guide in Rolling Stone, Dupri leaves his trademark on the album's best tracks including "Shake It Off", with the track's production and beat described as "syncopated" and "bouncy".[19] Lyrically, the song features the protagonist confronting her unfaithful lover, and breaking up with him via an answering machine.[13] She continues to pack her most valuable possessions and move on with her life. Several critics highlighted the song's lyrics as its best facet, and described them as a strong female's anthem.[13] While featuring a message of female strength, the song lyrics were described as "goofy" and "fun" by Larry Katz from the Boston Herald.[20] Reading "Just like the Calgon commercial / I really gotta get up out of here", Carey tells her lover that she is leaving him, making a "clever" reference to a commercial.[21] In regards to the latter lyrics, Lawrence Farber from the Windy City Times wrote "they are a playful approach to bitterness—and, more specifically, a cheatin' bad apple."[22] She then sings "By the time you get this message / It's gonna be too late / So don't bother paging me / 'Cause I'll be on my way", establishing that the relationship is over, and that he shouldn't even try to mend the situation.[21] She also makes reference to his infidelity, "with this one and that one / By the pool, on the beach, in the streets."[21] In an interview with MTV News, Dupri described the song's composition:

"'Shake It Off' was just like ... That comes from that style of I guess [Usher's] Confessions and just that bounce. It's got a lot of ingredients to it because I never thought that Mariah could make a bouncy type of record. When you hear that song — the whole bounce of the record and the way she's flipping it and the stuff she talking about ... I knew that record was gonna go just because you never heard Mariah talk about this stuff. ... She's like, 'I packed up my Louis Vuitton.' She took it really on the ghetto side. I knew that was gonna strike people. Either it was gonna hit them in a wrong way or they was gonna love it.[10]


Critical reception

"Shake It Off" was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Bill Lamb from rated the song three out of five stars, complimenting its lyrical content and production, and describing it as "more than a pleasant piece of pop fluff."[13] Lamb, however, felt there were more suitable tracks on the album, and wrote how it would be "unlikely to be one of Mariah Carey's more memorable hits."[13] Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine picked "Shake It Off" as a top pick from the album.[23] Michael Paoletta, writing for Billboard, gave the song a positive review, complimenting its lyrics, production and Carey's vocals.[17] He concluded his review with his assurance that the song would be a success, writing "After 'We Belong Together' brought her back to radio big time, 'Shake It Off' will take Carey's good fortune to the next step."[17] Some critics compared the song heavily to Usher's material from his 2004 album, Confessions. Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine wrote "Mariah too heavily bites on the styles of her successors: Usher by way of Dupri on 'Shake It Off'",[15] while Dan Gennoe of Yahoo! Music UK said the song was "Usher-lite".[16] Lawrence Ferber from the Windy City Times described "Shake It Off" as a "standout" track from the album.[22] When discussing the track with Ferber, Carey described the song as her favorite from The Emancipation of Mimi: "Shake it off can apply to anything. Whatever personal dramas we go through, put that song on and you lose the anxiety or intensity of the moment. I'll listen to that song when I've just come out of an annoying meeting. I gotta shake this off."[22] While Todd Burns from Stylus Magazine described it as "sultry",[24] a writer from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called it "lyrically crude" and "ghetto".[25] Similarly, The Michigan Daily's Chris Gaerig criticized Carey's "airy vocals" and wrote "Carey sounds like a 13-year-old boy going through puberty, singing love songs to a grade school crush."[26]

Chart performance

In the United States, "Shake It Off" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-six the week's highest debut.[27] In its seventh week on the chart, it reached number two behind Carey's previous single, "We Belong Together", marking the first time a female lead artist occupied the top two positions of the Hot 100.[28][29] "Shake It Off" was at the number two position for an additional six weeks after "We Belong Together" fell from number one (seven weeks in total); it was subsequently held off the top spot by Kanye West's "Gold Digger".[30][31] The song stayed within the Hot 100 for twenty-six weeks, and finished at number fifteen on the Billboard Year-End Chart.[32] The single fared well on multiple Billboard component charts, reaching the top spot on the Pop Songs tally, and becoming her second consecutive number-one on the chart following "We Belong Together".[33] It peaked at number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and number twenty-seven on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.[34] "Shake It Off" was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of over 500,000 copies.[35]

"Shake It Off" was released throughout Australia and New Zealand as the third single from The Emancipation of Mimi in late-2005.[36] In the United Kingdom, it was released as a double A-side along with "Get Your Number", the third single serviced to the United States at the same time.[37] The single performed well outside the United States, reaching number five and six on the Australian Singles Chart, and New Zealand Singles Chart, respectively.[36][38] The single was later certified Gold in Australia by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of over 35,000 units.[39] On the UK Singles Chart, the song debuted at number nine during the week of October 15, 2005.[37] Dropping to number ten the following week, the song lasted a total of eight weeks in the singles chart before making its decent.[40]


"Shake It Off (So So Def Remix)"
A sample the "Shake It Off" (So So Def Remix), featuring rappers Jay-Z and Young Jeezy. The sample features part of the former's verse that was criticized, as well as Carey's second verse, contrasting production and choice of instrumentation from the original.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Shake It Off" became another remix in which Carey would feature a hip-hop artist, having done so several times in the past.[41] Most notably, Carey began incorporating hip-hop and pop from her 1995 remix of her single "Fantasy", which featured rap verses from Ol' Dirty Bastard (O.D.B.). The song was considered one of the pioneering songs that began the infusion of the "thug-love duet".[42] According to Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times, the song "Nowadays clean-cut pop stars are expected to collaborate with roughneck rappers, but when Ms. Carey teamed up with Ol' Dirty Bastard, of the Wu-Tang Clan, for the 1995 hit 'Fantasy (Remix)', it was a surprise, and a smash."[42] Originally intended to feature only Jay-Z, the remix included rising rapper Young Jeezy, who considered the position the "highest-profile guest appearance to date" that he had been offered.[43] In an interview with MTV News, Jeezy described how he came to be included on the remix:

When I got the call [from Mariah], I was like, 'I don't know if that's me. She was like, 'Nah, it's gonna be your type of beat.' I'm like, 'Oh, for real?' Then when Hov called he said, 'I'm gonna do it with you.' I was like, 'Dag, this is big.' But when I did it, I kept it me and kept it 'hood. At first I ain't think she was gonna like it but she called and said she loved it. From there it was a wrap. That's history. Mariah is known for doing remixes with street cats from Mobb Deep to O.D.B., so to be a part of that was a good look for me and the Def Jam movement.[43][44]

According to Jayanathi Daniel, writer of The New York Sun, Carey's remixes of "Shake If Off" and "It's Like That" helped cement her impression on the music scene during the release of The Emancipation of Mimi, writing "the multiple mix tapes, further legitimized her return."[45] In a review of Jay-Z's material at the time, an editor at XXL rated the remix two out of five stars, criticizing his lyrics and "swag", which he felt were missing during lines reading "The Emancipation of M-I-M-I / I spray semi rrrah, rrrrah / Twenty worldwide nigga get your plaques / Guess who the fuck got his swagger back?". He concluded on a mixed note, writing "With run-of-the-mill punchlines and a dated reference to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Jay seems to be missing some of his usual swagger on this white label–only remix."[46]

Music video


The song's music video was originally scheduled to be directed by Brett Ratner, who had shot Carey's previous two videos.[47] However, Jake Nava was used as the director instead, as Ratner had other obligations regarding one of his films.[47] It was filmed during the end of June 2005.[47] When describing the video's concept to MTV News, Carey said "I actually just got the treatment. We came up with some cool concepts."[47] When asked for a more detailed synopsis, Carey declined and responded "It's "really technical. It's a new approach that I would have to let [the director] explain. It's new territory."[47] During a scene in the video in which Carey had to wear very high-heeled pumps, she had the video crew carry her to various sections of the set.[48] When Nava suggested she wear a pair of sensible flat footwear in between shoots, Carey jokingly replied "my feet repel them dahling."[49] When recalling the moment in a later interview, Carey claimed her feet were "in agony" and said "My high heels had left my feet bleeding. Laugh all you want, my feet hurt." [49]


The single's video was directed by Jake Nava, and contains numerous wardrobe changes by Carey in a storyline involving luxurious scenery in which the singer leaves her significant other.[50] The video begins with a TV screen and the word 'Mimi' appearing, while on the monitor, Dupri raps his introduction. As the television fades, Carey is then shown lying in a bathtub overflowing with water and rose petals, with her hair flowing over the side of the tub. Next, the camera follows down one floor of the mansion to find Carey, decked out in bright blue makeup and high heels, as she sings "By the time you get this message / It's gonna be too late / So don't bother paging me / 'Cause I'll be on my way," into the phone.[50] A short scene is then shown of her lover in a strip club, receiving the message Carey had sent him. As he reads it, he blows smoke into the screen, fading to reveal Carey dressed in a trench coat and dress, before grabbing her bag and heading out the door as she sings, "So I packed up my Louis Vuitton / Jumped in your ride and took off."[50]

As she leaves the mansion, she exits into "Emancipation Street", a ghetto looking plaza made up entirely of props and hand made stores. With shops named "So So Fetch" and "Pink Yet Lavender", Carey then walks up to a wall, where she passes Jermaine Dupri, who makes a cameo appearance.[50] As she leans on the wall, her coat slips off, and two schoolgirls do a shake dance at the pay phones. Carey then appears in a Lamborghini Murcielago speaking on her PDA, with Chris Tucker, who as a cameo, appeared on the set of the video shoot, as the man in the passenger's seat.[50] Behind the car, a sign reading "Hollyhood" instead of the iconic Hollywood Sign. As Carey leaves her lover a second message, he is seen frolicking pool-side with two other women, while she says "with this one and that one / By the pool, on the beach, in the streets."[50] Her phone breaks up as she drives past the "Hollyhood" sign, so she tells him, "Hold on," singing, "Save this recording, because I'm never coming back home."[50] Carey is then shown on bleachers at a high school football game, with Da Brat featured as a cameo act, as she argues with a man in the background. She writes 'MIMI' on one of the bleachers and the letters transform into a large shiny "MIMI" sign made of lights, which appear in large, vibrant lights. Carey walks up to a microphone in front of the large 'MIMI' lights, and dances and sings in front of the camera, wearing a revealing black ensemble and leopard print boots. In the final scene, Carey is seen on a beach, as she slips out of her robe and walks into the sunset, with the glare obscuring whether she's wearing any clothing.[50]


The video was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award at the 2006 ceremony, in the category of Best R&B Video, but lost to Beyoncé Knowles's "Check On It".[51] The song's music video generated strong public reaction, topping the Total Request Live (TRL) music video countdown in its second week in release.[52] Additionally, the music video received strong rotation MTV, VH1 and BET, receiving over 500,000 requests in its first 24 hour.[52][53] Similarly, at the time, music videos were predominantly watched on television, as sites like YouTube were not yet popular.[53] During this period, Yahoo! and AOL began allowing the public to view videos free of charge on their website, allowing them to stream as well.[53] After the launch of the websites, Billboard announced that the video for "Shake It Off" had generated over two million requests on its first day of release, setting a record at the time for the websites.[53] It peaked at #2 on Billboard's Hot Videoclip Tracks chart.[54] The video was well received by fans and critics alike, with a writer from The Sacramento Bee writing how he thought it was impressive that Carey at 35, and with over fifteen years in the business, had arranged such a popular video.[55] He also described it as "sassy, fun and ghetto", while outing it as one of her best videos.[55]

Live performances

Following the release of "It's Like That", Carey embarked on several stateside, European and Asian promotional tours in support of The Emancipation of Mimi, as well as its accompanying singles. In the United Kingdom, Carey filmed a two-part appearance on the British music program Top of the Pops, performing "It's Like That", "We Belong Together" and "Shake It Off".[56] After returning to the United States for the a string of televised performances, Carey launched the release of the album on Good Morning America, in the form of an interview and a five-piece outdoor concert.[57] The concert, taking place in Times Square and featuring the largest crowd in the plaza since the 2004 New Year's Eve celebration, featured "It's Like That", "We Belong Together", "Shake It Off", "Fly Like a Bird", as well as Carey's older single "Make It Happen" (1991).[58][59] On August 3, USA Today announced that Carey would be added to the roster of performers at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, held on the 28th of the month.[60] The ceremony was held at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami Beach Florida, with Carey's performance taking place at the National Hotel in South Beach.[61] Apart from The Killers, she was the only performer to tape their appearance from an undisclosed location in Miami. After being introduced by Eva Longoria, Carey appeared on a long stage in the hotel's courtyard, with Dupri opening the song with his rap verses in a nearby cabana.[62] After performing "Shake It Off" and the official remix version of "We Belong Together", Carey made her way into the shallow pool, followed by Dupri and the back-up dancers.[62]

At the 2005 World Music Awards, Carey performed "Shake It Off" alongside Dupri.[63] Wearing black shorts and a pink blouse, the performance started as Carey got out of a Lamborghini Murciélago on stage, a re-enactment of the video.[63] Additionally, a large lighted 'MIMI' sign was placed behind the stage, also a prop used at the end of the song's music video.[63] The following week, Carey performed the song, as well as its accompanying number "Get Your Number", on the British music chart program, Top of the Pops.[64] On November 15, 2005, the Chicago Tribune announced that Carey would perform during half-time of the Thanksgiving game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons.[65] Airing on the 24th, Carey performed "Shake It Off", as well as her newly released single from the album's re-release, "Don't Forget About Us".[66] Two months later, she celebrated the new year on television, placing as the featured performer at the Times Square Ball drop on New Year's Eve in New York.[67] The special, titled Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, aired on ABC at 10 pm on December 31, and featured Carey on stage wearing a short sparkling dress, and performing a selection of the album's singles, including "Shake It Off".[68][69][70] Aside from performing the song live on several high profile televised events, Carey included the song on both her Adventures of Mimi and Angels Advocate Tours.[71] On the former tour, the performance began as a large Broadway-styled prop reading 'MIMI', similar to the one from the video, descended from the rafters.[72] As the song began, Carey walked down a spiraled staircase, ushered by one of her several back up dancers.[72] Sporting a black bikini and matching sheer cape, Carey sang the song while, according to some critics, performing some of her most diverse physical movements from the entire show.[71] On her Angels Advocate Tour, Carey performed the song during the first quarter of the concert.[73] According to Ryan J. Downey of MTV News, Carey gave a "rousing rendition" of the song, and "set the tone for what felt like a celebratory evening."[73]

Formats and track listings

Australian CD single[74]

  1. "Shake It Off" (Album Version) 3:53
  2. "Shake It Off" (Instrumental) 3:54
  3. "Secret Love" 3:30
  4. "Shake It Off" (Video)

Sweden CD single (Promo)[75]

  1. "Shake It Off" (Album Version) 3:53
  2. "Shake It Off" (Remix feat. Jay-Z & Young Jeezy) 5:03

US Promo 12" Single[76]

  1. "Shake It Off" (Remix Edit feat. Jay-Z & Young Jeezy) 4:12
  2. "Shake It Off" (Remix feat. Jay-Z & Young Jeezy) 5:03
  3. "Shake It Off" (Remix Instrumental feat. Jay-Z & Young Jeezy) 5:02

Credits and personnel

Credits for The Emancipation of Mimi adapted from the album's liner notes.[77]

Charts and certifications


External links

  • Template:MetroLyrics song
it:Shake It Off
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