At this point in her lustrous career, what we can really say about the elusive chanteuse besides…everything.
Whether we’re keeping up with her sassy antics, living our December lives through Merry Christmas, obsessing over her fabulous lifestyle or keeping up with the drama on her E! reality show, err, docu-series Mariah’s World, there’s no denying that MC will always be that diva.
But of course, a diva isn’t a diiiiva without all that music on all those albums under her fabulously heeled feet, so in honor of the one month of the year where Mariah takes over all over our lives again (and she most certainly is, right Ms. Lovato and Ms. Lo?), served up are each of MC’s studio sets to celebrate this “anniversary” with a diva grade of either a Yaaas, MC Queen, She Betta Werk and of course, I Don’t Know Her.
And it goes a little something like this and like that, y’all….
Mariah Carey/1990 The one that started…it all. Four consecutive number one debut singles–“Vision of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Someday,” “I Don’t Wanna Cry” (and of course there’s the oh, so underrated “Vanishing”)–and one rightful Best New Artist Grammy Award win that no one will ever forget.
Know what else we’ll never forget? That time MC attempted to do the Running Man in the accompanying “Someday” video (or her slay on Arsenio, for that matter), which in turn went on to make the Mariah debut era absolute perfection. Diva Grade–Yaaas, MC Queen!
Emotions/1991 Although not as blockbuster as her debut, MC’s sophomore outing will always be blessed with the ear drum/life shattering title track (stop trying to hit those high notes..it’s never going to happen), as well as two of the most underrated singles in the diva’s entire catalog–“Can’t Let Go” and “Make it Happen.” And for that, we’ll give Emotions a diva grade of She Betta Werk.
MTV Unplugged/1992 If you weren’t worthy of MC’s talents by the time she went all Unplugged (sigh…) and stuff, you certainly were once you got lost in her stripped down takes of “Emotions,” Vision of Love” “Can’t Let Go,” and especially her cover of the Jackson 5 classic “I’ll Be There” because we still fucking can’t once it takes over our worlds. By the way, hello, Mr. Trey “Someone to Hold” Lorenz. It’s nice to be serenaded by you again. Diva Grade–Yaaas, MC Queen!
Music Box/1993 This is Mariah doing what Mariah does best–own our lives with one hell of an album. Loaded with hits–“Dreamlover,” “Hero,” “Without You,” “Anytime You Need a Friend”–this was also the record where MC ventured into a more R&B flavored territory, case in point the deeply infectious (and Robert Cliviles and David Cole produced) “Now That I Know,” which is undoubtably one of MC’s best and most underrated ditties. And when it comes to the life shattering title track there are only two words that truly come to mind–Tommy Mottola. Sigh.. Diva Grade–Yaaas, MC Queen!
Merry Christmas/1994 Seven words define this Billboard chart bulldozing holiday record all sorts of up….”All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Oh, yeah, there’s some other Santa- singed goodies on this fiery set, too, like….everything else on this classic record that we’ll never, ever be able to escape this time of year no matter how hard we try. (Right, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Silent Night?”) But, seriously, why would we want to? Bliss. Diva Grade-Yaaas, MC Christmas Queen!
Daydream/1995 So, you know everything that was just said about Music Box? Take that and multiply it by a million…..because this album. We got loads more R&B (“Fantasy,” “Always Be My Baby”), which were laced on an earth shattering set that destroyed all kinds of Billboard chart records, including the Boyz 11 Men co-starring “One Sweet Day,” which at sixteen weeks strong remains the longest running number one single….of all time. And it’s a record that no one will ever beat because Daydream is Mariah at her very best and brightest MC’est. Oh, and O.D.B may you forever rest in peace and thank you for the epic “Fantasy” remix. Diva Grade-Yaaaaas, MC Queen!
Butterfly/1997 Sigh….no more Tommy…but, hello tig ol’ bitties? Yas. There’s nothing to say here except that this record is arguably not just the most underrated set in the “Honey” diva’s heaping music catalog, but the…best and her most sexiest. Spread your wings and prepare to fly and just…listen to those stunning vocal arrangements (that title track, though) and a shining late ’90s music magic that showed what MC could really do…it all. Diva Grade:Yaaaas, Butterfly Kween
“Breakdown” “The Roof” and her cover of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” for life.
#1’s/1998 Okay, so technically this isn’t a full studio set, but out of the 14 greatest hits albums MC served us with (there were that many, right? ahem #1’s to Infinity), this one is the truth.
Not only is it armed with all of the elusive chantuses’s ’90s number one hits (with the exception of “Heartbreaker), but it also contains her take on Brenda K. Starr’s “I Still Believe” in which Billie, er, Mariah sang backup on back-in-the-day.
There’s also “Whenever You Call,” a Butterfly cut that got rewerked to bedroom magic once Brian McKnight stepped on board and of course, ‘Sweetheart,” co-starring Jermaine Dupri that even if you fucking hate Mariah, you still bob your head to this track.
But wait, what are we forgetting? Oh, yas. “When You Believe,” co-starring our dearly departed diiiiiva, Ms. Whitney. And for that, this greatest hits set will always get a big ol’ Yaaaaaaaas, MC Queen.
Rainbow/1999 Let’s face it, with the exception of “Heartbreaker” (those dances moves, though) and its Missy (and Da Brat, too) owned remix, most of the upbeat tracks on MC’s R&B heavy ’99 venture sound like tracks Destiny’s Child left on the cutting room floor during The Writing’s on the Wall sessions. (“Did I Do That?” “Crybaby?” “X-Girlfriend?” Yeah, no).
But if there’s any saving grace here, it’s these ballads, though, especially the sorrow filled “Petals,” the pearl clutching “After Tonight” and of course, her soul destroying take on Phill Collins “Against All Odds,” the pre-Westlife version, of course. Hell, we’ll even throw “Can’t Take That Away” (Mariah’s Fucking Theme)” and “Thank God I Found You” in the Kleenex grabbing mix, although they’re two of the most basic songs the songstress has ever recorded. Sorry, Joe and 98 Degrees.
But the real winner here? The bedroom ready “Bliss” which features Mariah and a whole ton of blissful vocal coos that steal the entire show, and for that Rainbow shall receive a She Betta Werk.
Glitter Soundtrack/2001 Sigh… And if you’re still trying to convince yourself that “Loverboy” isn’t that bad of a track, just remember that time it was in the bargain bin at The Wall for 69 cents. Diva Grade-I Don’t Know Her Well, except for “All My Life” because it always makes us think of this epic scene from the (double sigh..) accompanying movie.
Right, Ms. Padma “they’re just backup” Lakshmi?
Charmbracelet/2002 Not that we would ever want to bash MC’s first venture back into the divalight after that whole TRL popsicle thing, but “eh.”
With the exception of “Boy(I Need You)” and “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” this album just isn’t quite, um, all there. And we liked “Through the Rain” a lot better when it was called “Can’t Take That Away(Mariah’s Theme)” three years prior…and that’s saying a whole lot. Diva Grade-I Don’t Know Her
The Emancipation of Mimi/2005 Without an all day tea spilling session, (which we could also do with this record), bottom line….this is how you do a comeback album.
And if you’re digging in your Gucci bag to find an ’00s power ballad that comes even close to matching the love scorned prowess of “We Belong Together” you’re never going to find it. That and “Shake it Off,” the Twista owning “One & Only” and the Kanye produced “Stay the Night” for life, dah-ling. Diva Grade-Ungradeable because Mimi will always be off the charts and all wrapped in werk.
E=MC2/2008 You know that concept that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place? Well, someone should’ve told MC that before she decided to serve us with the oh, so basic younger sister of Mimi, better known as E=MC2.
Bottom line-“Migrate,” “Touch My Body”(weeerk),”I’m That Chick” and “I’ll Be Lovin’ You Long Time” you can stay…err’thing else…go away. And when it comes to “Bye,Bye,” well, that’s the reason the rest of this album gets a big ol’ I Don’t Know Her because “We Belong Together” you ain’t. There’s a reason why it only hit #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Next.
Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel/2009 “Obsessed” and the “Up Out My Face” remix with Nicki Minaj….that’s not even on the album or even spoken of. (wonder why????) Okay, and maybe “H.A.T.E.U.” and her take on Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” if were having one of those Mariah-in-’01 kind of days.
Does anyone else know any other tracks from this dismal set? Didn’t think so. Diva Grade–I Don’t Know Her
Merry Christmas 11 You/2010 Really…….if we just want a Mariah Christmas album, wouldn’t we just listen to its predecessor on repeat as we already do? However, that time she romped around Macy’s with The Biebs in the video for the extra super mother f#$kin’ festive remix of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”….priceless. So, She Betta Werk. And “Oh, Santa,” chantay you (sort of) slay.
Me………I Am……….Mariah……..The Elusive Chanteuse/2014 First of all, that title. Second of all, there are only three songs that you need to need to know from this disaster of a record–“Thirsty,” “Meteorite,” and “#Beautiful.”
Third, one of the best songs MC’s ever, ever recorded is also on this set and it’s called “You Don’t Know What to Do” and it’s everything and more. All the rest of it gets a stocking stuffed I Don’t Know Her as we’ll be patiently waiting for your next record, boo. Whenever that may be.
Bonus Album:The Remixes Not even saying a word about it, just listen and make sure it’s in your Mariah collection for life.