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It's also about parts of my life that are now gone

- Mariah Carey

Written by Mariah Carey, James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III, Terry Lewis & James “Big Jim” Wright
Produced by Mariah Carey, James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III, Terry Lewis & James “Big Jim” Wright


4:23     Album Version


  • "I can't say exactly what it means because it's very personal," she begins when explaining the song. "The reason I called it 'Petals' is because it's about relationships that are now static and I don't think I can ever pull them back in. It's also about parts of my life that are now gone. Then it leads into 'Rainbow,' which is the hopeful part, and finally into 'Thank God,' which is happy, so there's kind of a theme. 'Petals' was the last song I recorded for the album. The bridge ["So many I considered closest to me/ Turned on a dime and sold me out dutifully/ Although that knife was chipping away at me/ They turned their eyes away and went home to sleep"] addresses a lot of my anger about people who saw me in a really bad state and just let it go because they were afraid to say something. There are people that I want to say certain things to, and I hope they hear it and get it on a lot of levels." - 1999 Interview with Jeff Lorez of Yahoo! Music
  • Carey has always used songwriting to express herself. She grew up on New York's Long Island and was raised by her opera-singer mom. Money was tight and circumstances were harsh. She doesn't talk about her siblings for legal reasons. She has one brother and one sister, both of them more than 10 years older than she is. She has a troubled history with her sister and the two don't speak, but Carey supports her financially. It's not hard to imagine that her new song "Petals" is at least in part about that sister. "I've often wondered if there's a perfect family/I've always longed for undividedness and sought stability/And I miss you dandelion/And even love you./And I wish there was a way/For me to trust you." She has two nephews from her sister; she is putting the oldest through an Ivy League law school. "I'm definitely the caretaker," she says. "But I feel that I'm also always fighting for myself." - Newsweek "Mariah On Fire" by Veronica Chambers - November 14, 1999

  • I have a song called "Petals" that's completely about me growing up and my family. And so many people relate to it. And it'll be people from other countries, like a girl from Germany who'll talk to me. Songs like that usually are not vocal performance moments. It's really weird to me because I feel like that's the expression of who I am, that's the true me. And people don't know me for that. They don't see that side, and I don't really care because the people that need to see it see it. - 2006 V Magazine with Mitchell Healey (Spring Preview, Issue 39)


1999 Released on the Rainbow album.


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