On Carey's previous album, Butterfly, she began incorporating several other genres, including R&B and hip hop, into her musical repertoire. In order to further push her musical horizons, Carey featured Jay-Z on the album's lead single, the first time in her career that another artist was featured on one of her lead singles. Carey wrote ballads that were closer to R&B than pop for this album, and worked with Snoop Dogg and Usher on songs such as "Crybaby" and "How Much," both of which featured strong R&B beats and grooves. Several of the ballads that Carey wrote during this period, including "Thank God I Found You" (written with Terry Lewis) and "After Tonight" (written with Diane Warren), mirrored sentiments she experienced in her personal life.
Five singles were released from the album. The album's lead single, "Heartbreaker" featuring Jay-Z, became Carey's fourteenth number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and topped the charts in Canada, New Zealand, France and Spain. "Thank God I Found You," featuring Joe and 98 Degrees, also topped the Hot 100, but achieved moderate international charting. The next two singles, "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme) and "Crybaby" featuring Snoop Dogg, were released as a double A-side. The songs were at the center of a public feud in between Carey and Sony due to Sony's alleged weak promotion of the singles. Carey's cover of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" with Westlife peaked at number one in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Rainbow was well received by critics, who generally praised Carey's embrace of R&B and hip hop in her music. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 323,000. It was her first album in years to not reach number one. However, within a month, Rainbow was certified triple-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of three million copies within the United States. Internationally, the album debuted atop the charts in France, and within the top five in Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland. The album has sold an estimated eight million copies worldwide.
- Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)
- How Much
- After Tonight
- Heartbreaker (Remix)
- Vulnerability (Interlude)
- Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)
- Did I Do That?
- Rainbow (Interlude)
- Thank God I Found You
- Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)