Mariah Carey

Columbia Records, 1998




I'm not 100% sure how the Billboard charts work but I do know it's insane in the phospholipid bilayer. More copies of "Candle in the Wind 98" were sold in its first week alone than "One Sweet Day" did in its 4.5 month run on #1. Heck, more copies of "Always Be My Baby" were sold than "One Sweet Day". Then there's that whole "My Heart Will Go On" thing. Them charts are point-blank skewered so what's the hairy deal?

Which is why Mariah (dropped last name) points out in the liner notes that this is NOT a "greatest hits" album and justly so. The Billboard is a poor judge of what the audience likes, and this explains the glaring absence of "Make It Happen", "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and "Breakdown" as well as the glaring presence of "Emotions" and "My All". To the Americans who wonder why "Without You" didn't make it, it's your own fault. It went #1 practically everywhere else (it's on all non-American my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 #1's).

Five new Mariah tracks (counting "Do You Know Where You're Going To", also not released in the US) is enough reason for any MC fan to grab this album. As for "Do You Know", the Americans aren't missing much... the song is so flat-out boring, she reverts back (or up) to dog-whistling like she's never done since 1992. Stark contrast to "Sweetheart", which relies more on the tight grooves and her divine alto texturing. She's always sounded better in hip-hop so using the ODB remix for "Fantasy" over the original version for this album was a smart move.

When Mariah duets she tends to forget there's someone else there; all four members of Boyz II Men were stomped to the acoustics carpet as soon as the bridge ripped. Brian McKnight (whose technique is eerily similar to Mariah's) falls victim despite the fact that Carey's vocals in "Whenever You Call" were pre-recorded. But it's much more listenable than the LP version, where it stands as the most boring track on Butterfly. Babyface's production of the Whitney Houston duet "When You Believe (from The Prince Of Egypt)" is disappointing in many respects as the two divas seem to have almost no chemistry between them.

"I Still Believe" from her days as a backup singer for Brenda K. Starr is one of her better remakes. It's amazing how much her voice has changed from imitation Whitney to a fluid jazz virtuoso, letting it go weak and airy when the emotion calls for it. This is what Mariah is better off doing, now that Whitney Houston is making a comeback into the album scene. With songs like "Sweetheart" and "Close My Eyes", who needs "Whenever You Call"?

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1998 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.