Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey – 1990
Claimed Sales: 15m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Mariah Carey is a popular singer. She has lots of fans. She has had lots and lots of huge hits over in the US and so her consistent appearance in The World’s Greatest Hits is no huge surprise. After suffering through her Music Box and Daydream albums last year, my expectations of her self titled debut were obviously pretty low and it would have to do a lot to convince me to listen more than once. It doesn’t do that, but what I can say is that Mariah Carey is undoubtedly the best album of her’s I have heard so far. Someday manages to be a perfectly enjoyable 90s pop song, There’s Got To Be A Way is an RnB tinged track that some might even call a ‘bop’ (I certainly wouldn’t go that far), while even sickly sweet closer Love Takes Time manages to be less overwrought and painful as the big songs on her future albums. The fact that all three were #1 US hits was beyond me and I genuinely don’t think I had ever heard any of them before. The final #1 hit, opener Vision Of Love is the most dramatic vocal performance here and all but set the blueprint for pop singers in the decades to follow. It’s an ambitious debut hit and manages to not be ‘too much’ even as the swooping strings and whistle register do their best to push it over the edge. It pains me to say it but on the likes of Vision of Love she manages to make sense, where the song works because of her vocal performance and not in spite of it. It’s ridiculous and all over the place, but throughout the whole of Mariah Carey never edges to completely pointless. There’s the likes of boring but serviceable ballad I Don’t Wanna Cry or the awkward two step slow jam All In Your Mind to slow things down, but what’s striking are the uptempo moments. You Need Me wouldn’t sound out of place on Michael Jackson’s Bad, while the biggest shock comes once Mariah decides to perform her own rap(!?!) on the otherwise standout RnB hook of Prisoner. It’s difficult for me to imagine me ever going back to Mariah Carey for pleasure, but as an album it works pretty well as showcase of her talents as a vocalist by not constantly ad-libbing but more importantly as a songwriter. Maybe if she had focused on the second part and not become the ridiculous vocalist we know today I might have even been a fan…but maybe not.
Will I listen again?: No
Best Track: Someday was probably the song I enjoyed the most here.