Riddle Me List: 8 Mariah Carey Ballads You May Have Forgotten About

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Memoirs sales are tanking 300,000 Leagues under the charts. The "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "H.A.T.E.U." videos are uninspired dry breadcrumbs of music visuals. Rumors of leaving Def Jam are circulating...its just not fun in Mariah Carey Music Land right now. Though there are rays of sunshine such as her star turn in the Lee Daniels' movie Precious and the announcement of a tour next year...but still she's touring with an underwhelming album in tow and that's a little disheartening. To lighten the mood (and to let me avoid wasting energy on spouting off about Mariah's musical mishaps this year), we are going to take it back, forget about "We Belong Together", "My All" and "Vision Of Love" for a moment, let's look back at some Mariah ballads that people seem to pass over, because for whatever reason people liked the insipid tall Adult Contemporary Metamucil of "Hero".

1. Till The End Of Time (Emotions, 1991)
Buried at the end of the singer's sophomore effort Emotions, "Till The End Of Time" knocks you sideways with its climatic build and sensual yet haunting makeup. It's a straight up power ballad, meant to show off Mariah's booming vocal chops, and well, it does it's job. The instrumentation in the song is also a focal point, especially during the climb of the chorus and then the fade out at the end. Simply gorgeous.

2. Melt Away (Daydream, 1995)
In 1995, Babyface was churning out those R&B love notes left and right, and here he pairs up with Mariah to craft a song that shows what happens when two music minds meet up and create a song that is divinely right. "Melt Away" has been a fan favorite since the Daydream album was released, yet in some ways its usually forgotten due to the power that "One Sweet Day" and "Open Arms" made on the charts. Also this one of those songs where we get to hear Mariah dip into a lower register, and it adds a certain something to the track.

3. Everything Fades Away (Music Box, 1993)
Honestly, never was a fan of "Hero". I know, revoke my Mimi Butterfly Club card now. "Hero" was frothy and queasy, just a down-right average ballad to me and is one of those overrated Mariah Carey tracks that doesn't even show off her real vocal ability. Now "Everything Fades Away", is a much better execution of a ballad because its just so involving especially due to the vocal arrangements. I guess I like my Mariah a little moody (see "Petals" below) because the song floats along on a sparse and mellow dreamscape and features an echoing backing choir. My only question is who was the genius who thought that leaving this track off of the US pressing of Music Box was a good idea? Big fat fail.

4. Petals (Rainbow, 1999)
Produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, "Petals" was probably my favorite cut on Rainbow. It is filled with mystery right down to the cryptic lyrics and the eerie synths gurgling in the background. Spooky. Okay, maybe not ghoulish spooky, but it kind of haunts you due to the simplistic music backdrop and Mariah softly confessing. Deep stuff.

5. Outside (Butterfly, 1997)
Closing out the classic Butterfly record comes the gentle Gospel of "Outside". Mariah does have a talent for writing that inspirational song that lift the spirits and seem to mirror pages out of your tear stained journal entries.This song is no exception as its a testament to believing in yourself  and its done in such a beautiful way that it refrains from sounding just a little sappy.

6. Vanishing (Mariah Carey, 1990)
Mariah's debut was chock-filled with some great little mid-tempo ballads (see "Alone In Love" and "All In Your Mind" for evidence) but "Vanishing" really showed off those choppity-chops that Mariah can zip through without batting an eye. All this song contains is a piano and Mariah's vocals...and that was all that was needed back then to make a winning song. Check out the clip below of Mariah giving her all in a small club...before she got all famous and stuff.

7. Fly Like A Bird (The Emancipation of Mimi, 2005)
Sure, she performed it at the 2006 Grammys, but nobody really noticed (or cared) about it due to "We Belong Together" being the monster ballad off of Emancipation. In a way, this song personifies why Mariah Carey is a gifted songwriter and a singer. Laugh all you want, but this song closes out Mariah's 2005 comeback effort poignantly and on a spine chilling inducing choard.

8. Yours (Charmbracelet, 2003)
Fun fact: This song was supposed to be a duet with Justin Timberlake. Imagine if that had happened, especially considering the direction Mr. Timberlake has taken now. Never the mind, as this song is fine as wine with Mariah singing it all by herself, in fact its much more affectionate that way. This is a nice nod to Mariah's 90's slow jams, its got a lofty R&B vibe that's both sensual and sweet. A hat tip goes to "I Only Wanted", another great ballad off of Charmbracelet that was beyond what "Through The Rain" was.


  1. My favourite topic!! Yay. hahaha
    I'm waiting for 12 pm to roll around so i can get my presale tickets to see her. Yes, I'm still supporting her despite hating that new album. Am curious about this remix album down the pipes!
    And yes, Melt Away is so underrated!! :p

  2. I'm a big big fan of "Close My Eyes" off Butterfly and people seem to forget that one too. Good list!

  3. New to your site here (came via PopMuse).

    Love your taste, and this is a great concept for a post!

    Agree on your picks, too.

    Is it true that Mariah is going to work again with Afanasieff? And what happened there anyway? Some weird fallout related to T. Mottola?

    Not a hater here of the new album. It's just not her greatest. The trax are too samey sounding.

    Then again, I don't fall in-line with most Mariah Fans' favorite album pics. I'll take e=mc2 over Emancipation **anyday**.

  4. Omg this reminds me of those amazing Mariah Carey mixtapes you posted a while back. You should definitely post them again!! I got a new cp so I dont have mine anymore ='[ and it would be a great addition to the iTunes playlist and a GREAT Christmas present [=

  5. There were several amazing ballads from "Glitter" I would have dropped in there, but good list overall. Never was a "Petals" fan though.-QH


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