Reviewed on this page:
Mariah Carey - Emotions - MTV Unplugged -
Trey Lorenz - Music
Box - Merry Christmas - Daydream - Someone's Ugly Daughter - Butterfly - Rainbow
- Glitter - Charmbracelet -
The Remixes - The Emancipation Of Mimi - E=MC2 - Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel -
Merry Christmas II You - Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse -
Mariah Carey was initially dismissed as not really being an artist,
because she was so young, popular,
traditionally attractive, and married to the president of her record company. Then, when she divorced her husband and her record sales slipped a bit, critics started dismissing her as not being as good as she used to be. No pleasing some people. Anyway,
Carey's a hugely
talented vocalist (a vocalist being someone who uses her voice as
a musical instrument, as opposed to a singer, who uses her voice
mainly to get words across). She soars to high notes I haven't
heard since Minnie Riperton died, but Minnie didn't really know how
to use those squeaky notes to good musical effect and Mariah does.
And she has plenty more vocal chops where that came from: she's got
a husky lower register, and she sweeps and melismas like crazy with
an unerring sense of pitch. Carey has written nearly all her own hits - actually, she does better with her own material than with
cover versions, where she tends to stick too close to the original
arrangements - and over the years has gotten more involved in production as well. (DBW)
I saw Carey at Radio City and reviewed the show here. Also, I've tracked down
most of her maxi-singles, and I've discussed them here.
Mariah Carey (1990)
Carey's powerful voice drives a stark, dramatic piano ballad ("Vanishing," featuring Richard Tee), four #1 hits (the ballads "Vision
of Love," "Love Takes Time" and "I Don't Wanna Cry," the bubblegum-dance
"Someday"), and consistently good, tuneful songwriting ("All In Your Mind," with a fun pseudo-reggae fade).
Already she was co-writing everything, often with her first collaborator Ben Margulies ("Love Takes Time," another ballad); producers include Rick Wake (the fake gospel "There's Got To Be A Way"),
Narada Michael Walden
and Rhett Lawrence (who contributes the hypnotic, downtempo "Sent From Up Above").
The only weak tracks are the derivative dance songs "You Need Me" and "Prisoner," which features Carey rapping (it's not a pleasant experience). (DBW)
Mostly the same formula as on her debut, but the dance tracks are better, thanks to some fine work by
the Clivillés and Cole production team ("To Be Around You," "Make It Happen," the #1 title track) and the ballads are less moving ("And You Don't Remember," written with new partner Walter Afanasieff).
But the wrenching "Can't Let Go" and the closing meditation "The Wind" are quite powerful, and even when the material is routine - the Carole King collaboration "If It's Over" - her luscious vocals lift it higher.
MTV Unplugged EP (1992)
You'd think this disc, where she reproduced live all the
spectacular vocal effects on her studio albums, would have quieted people
who don't think she's a "real" singer. But it didn't. Basically a set of hits - "Someday," "Emotions," "I Don't Wanna Cry" - the only
"new" song here is her cover of the Jackson
5's "I'll Be There," a duet with Trey Lorenz... it was another #1.
Trey Lorenz (Trey Lorenz: 1992)
This album is being reviewed here because six of the eleven cuts are
produced by Carey, either with her partner Walter Afanasieff or on her
own, and she also sings some backups. Even the songs she wasn't involved
with sound like her work, partly because her backup singers Cindy
Mizelle and Audrey Wheeler are featured on several songs ("Baby I'm In
Heaven"). Lorenz is a decent singer, but I don't hear in him what Carey
apparently did: he follows the conventions of Stevie Wonder-influenced soul singing pretty
closely, without adding much of his own. He also throws in a Bobby Brown impression on "Wipe All
My Tears Away." The songs are okay, mostly tunes that would have fit on
a Mariah Carey album without being standouts (like "Someone To Hold";
one exception is the insistent, funky "Photograph of Mary"). Recommended
only if you loved Lorenz's guest shot on "I'll Be There," or for Carey
Music Box (1993)
A transition between the full-throttle singing of her first albums and the more nuanced, more restrained vocals on Fantasy.
Most of the record is turned over to unremarkable slow numbers where she unaccountably reins in that spectacular voice (except on the gospel
attempt "Anytime You Need A Friend," with prominent backing vocals from Kelly Price).
"Hero" (currently back on the airwaves) is another heartfelt but corny self-help number.
There are only two uptempo songs, and fortunately they're both classic dance-pop: "Dreamlover" (yes, another #1 single, produced by Dave Hall)
and "Now That I Know," the final Clivillés and Cole collaboration.
The first of a long line of sappy cover tunes is Badfinger's "Without You" (a big hit for Harry Nilsson); while Afanasieff is again a frequent collaborator, Carey also hauled in Babyface to help her write "Never Forget You."
Merry Christmas (1994)
Carey's take on Phil Spector's Christmas album, indulging her (or
co-producer Walter Afanasieff's) love for four-chord 50's rockers (the
Spector cover "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," the originals "All I
Want For Christmas Is You" and "Miss You Most At Christmas Time"). The
arrangements are disappointingly mechanical, and often Carey reaches for
gospel and doesn't quite pull it off ("Jesus Oh What A Wonderful
Child"). One standout is (believe it or not) "Santa Claus Is Coming To
Town," with Greg Phillinganes
on piano and Omar Hakim on drums, breathing some life into the
arrangements. Carey's voice is breathtaking as always, but she doesn't
do anything here she doesn't do on her other albums... If you're a
committed fan, or you honestly like Christmas albums, you'll probably enjoy this;
if you want to hear the artist at her best, look elsewhere. (DBW)
An tremendously entertaining though subdued effort. After the untimely death of
producer/composer David Cole, Carey seems unwilling or unable to
record high-energy dance tracks like "Emotions" or "Now That I Know,"
but her voice has matured (she hardly uses the ultrahigh vocals, but
she's got so much going on you won't miss them). There are several
wonderful midtempo pop songs (the #1 hits "Always Be My Baby" and
"Fantasy," which features samples from the Tom Tom Club's
"Genius Of Love" so prominently it's almost a remake of the song; plus the Babyface collaboration "Melt Away"),
and a couple of beautiful Quiet Storm numbers ("Underneath The Stars,"
"One Sweet Day" with Boys II Men, which also went to #1). Weak points include her cover of
Journey's "Open Arms" (honestly, what's the point?), her
pity-me-I'm-a-star "Looking In" (nobody's voice is good enough to pull off
a line like "You'll never know the real me") and one too many
slow '50s style 12/8 love songs ("Forever" is arranged just like the
Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody," but with a ho-hum tune). (DBW)
Someone's Ugly Daughter (Chick: 1995)
It's a bit surprising that Carey created a pop-punk persona several years before Garth Brooks did his Chris Gaines thing. It's very surprising that she and her camp were able to keep the secret for twenty-five years, until she released her autobiography. If her original lead vocals had remained, no doubt the truth would have emerged; instead, the label blocked her from using her leads, so she brought in friend Clarissa Dane, whose angry but clear vocals suit the material extremely well.
Recorded during late nights after sessions for Daydream, it's a fascinating companion piece: Where Daydream may be her most romantic album, supposedly reflecting Carey's wedded bliss with Tommy Mottola (better known as "the devil"), Ugly Daughter has one vituperative kiss-off after another ("Love Is A Scam," which opens with a distorted guitar playing the "I'll Be There" riff). The songs are tongue-in-cheek, with a huge number of 70s TV references (I was not expecting to hear the hosts of The Magic Garden namechecked in a rock song, much less cited as an ideal couple); however, several of them ring uncomfortably true: "Joe," about a woman trying unsuccessfully to evade her partner's caresses, is terrifying. And while Carey had not yet revealed her discomfort with her tightly controlled public image, song after song here celebrates freaks, weirdos, and people who diverge spectacularly from traditional beauty standards ("Freak," with a rhyme for Jetson that you will not see coming; "Prom Queen"). Nearly all the songs are co-written by Carey & Afanasieff (under pseudonyms) and Dane; as on Carey's real albums, there's one cover: Cheap Trick's "Surrender."
Out of print since virtually the day it was released; apparently Carey has dug up a version of the album featuring her lead vocals, and presumably an eventual re-release is forthcoming.
A disappointment, not because it's moody and morose, with more slow
numbers than any album since her debut, and not because she's fully
integrated 90s hip hop into her sound, but because the tunes are no
damn fun. The leadoff single "Honey" (produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs) quickly became her 12th
#1, even though it relies on its slow groove so heavily it's almost
tuneless - ditto for "Babydoll," which wastes a clever lyric by
Missy Elliott. Afanasieff
again gets in almost half the cuts, but there too there's too much
reliance on star power and not enough old-fashioned melody: "My All" is
so tentative it's hardly there, while "Outside" and "Whenever You Call"
are even more routine 50's style ballads. The low point is a
seven-minute cover of Prince's "The
Beautiful Ones," with the arrangement lifted directly from the original
and Carey's subdued vocal (doubled by Dru Hill) listless (except on the
"If we got married" line). As always, though, she's too commercially
conscious not to include some surefire winners: the title track is a
classic overwrought Carey/Afanasieff production, and "Breakdown"
(produced by Combs) is fine dance/hip-hop with two of the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. She's still got that
magnificent voice, but it often gets lost among all the meandering tunes
and attempts to keep current. (DBW)
A collection of #1 hit singles, with four new cuts: a horrendous Babyface-produced duet with Whitney Houston ("When You Believe"); a duet with Brian McKnight ("Whenever You Call"); a remake of Brenda K. Starr's "I Still Believe"; and "Sweetheart,"
which also appears on Jermaine Dupri's Life In 1472. Also, the version of "Fantasy" is the remix featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard,
and "Hero" is a live version. (DBW)
Also in 1998, Carey appeared on Patti LaBelle's Live! One Night Only. (DBW)
You've got to give Carey credit: she really tries to provide something for everybody. You like inspirational ballads?
There's "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)." Dig hip hop soul? "How Much" features Usher and a Tupac sample.
You've been waiting for her to go back to her ultrahigh upper register? She soars above, around and all through the
midtempo groove "Bliss." Nostalgic for the 80s? Her customary cover is the Phil Collins hit "Against All Odds (Take A
Look At Me Now)." Then there's the straightforward pop: the first single, "Heartbreaker," is 50% "Dreamlover" and
50% "Fantasy," and it quickly became Carey's 14th #1. All this could seem amazingly calculated and crass, but it's
not, because you know she truly loves this stuff: Carey's not exploiting pop, she really is pop. With Afanasieff
out of the picture, the 50s ballads are gone, and the sound is up-to-date, though not painfully so: "X-Girlfriend" makes
clever use of programmed percussion and MIDI'd acoustic guitar; the burbling keyboards of "Bliss" sound retro and modern
at the same time. The bulk of the album was produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis with Carey,
though tracks are contributed by Jermaine Dupri, David Foster and Master P among others. There are some collaborations
with (gasp) Diane Warren, and guest appearances by everyone from Usher and 98
Degrees to Missy Elliott and Da Brat.
Her last release on Sony. (DBW)
Soundtrack to the semi-autobiographical Carey film, and her only release on Virgin.
Produced by Carey and DJ Clue, "Loverboy" breaks the mold of her usual cotton candy opening singles: it's much harsher, with a
sample of Cameo's bass-heavy 1986 hit "Candy" and - on the remix only - raps from Da Brat and Ludacris.
The film's set in the early 80s, and Carey pays tribute to the post-disco, synth-heavy dance music of the period:
The cover of Indeep's "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" is pure fun, with her lighthearted vocals embodying the transcendence of great dance
music, and Rick James's "All My Life" is similar and just as enjoyable. She's not as successful with her version of the Minneapolis Sound "I
Didn't Mean To Turn You On," but then I didn't like that song when Cherrelle did it either (to say nothing of Robert Palmer).
Other tunes like "If We" and "Twister" don't pack the wallop Carey's capable of, but they're pleasant enough; the Eric Benét duet "Want You" is
strikingly similar to new labelmate Janet Jackson's "Pleasure Principle."
More problematic are some slow tunes where Carey goes overboard with tacky arrangements and a lack of melody ("Lead The Way," "Never Too
"Reflections (Care Enough)" is the only ballad that really pulls its weight.
Largely produced by Jam & Lewis with Carey, with additional tracks by Damizza and Clark Kent;
guests include Busta Rhymes and Jah Rule.
Greatest Hits (2001)
A 2-CD set of pre-Glitter hits; nothing new except for a Jermaine Dupri remix of "All I Want
For Christmas Is You" featuring Lil' Bow Wow. (DBW)
Third and hopefully last in Carey's series of somber records sung in a hushed voice (following Music Box and Butterfly):
even the cover of Def Leppard's "Bringin' On The Heartbreak," which cries out for over-the-top bombast, gets the understated EZ-listening
treatment. Yet aside from the powerful, gospelly "My Saving Grace" (one of four tracks produced with Randy
Jackson), the ballads aren't particularly memorable ("I Only Wanted"; "The One," the second single, written and produced with Dupri).
Not even the dance tracks are upbeat, they're slightly sluggish midtempo grooves ("Lullaby"; "You Got Me" with Jay-Z, one of three Just Blaze
But the record is lifted by two classics: the Jam/Lewis collaboration "Yours," a sexy midtempo love song in the vein of "Melt Away";
and "Clown," a clever diss of a self-absorbed pop star, featuring her most committed vocals on the disc and a luscious arrangement by Andre
Harris and Vidal Davis. I'll also admit to liking the silly voice effects in her version of Cam'ron's "Oh Boy," and leadoff inspirational
single "Through The Rain" is about as good as "Hero," if that's your thing.
The Remixes (2003)
A 2-CD set. I won't go into detail because I've discussed her singles separately,
but this is an excellent value for fans: nearly all the key tracks from her various maxi-singles ("I Still Believe/Pure
Imagination" is the only major omission), plus a couple of guest shots and collaborations ("Miss You" with Jadakiss;
Busta Rhymes's "I Know What You Want"). Disc One is extended club mixes, Disc Two is remixes with guest rappers.
The Emancipation Of Mimi (2005)
Largely produced by Dupri and Carey, and they whip some more irresistible R&B the way they had ten years before, ranging from the dancefloor confection (and first single) "It's Like That" to the spare ballad (and second single) "We Belong Together."
Most of the media hype has focused on Mariah's return to full-voiced diva belting, and I'm happy to report it's true: she soars into her high register on the fun numbers ("Shake It Off"), dredges up overpowering feeling on the sad ones ("Mine Again," a brassy ballad which wouldn't have been out of place on her debut), and generally avoids that breathy thing she's sometimes tempted by. The production sounds up to date without chasing trends
(the Kanye West-produced "Stay The Night," with Carey practically unadorned atop the piano line from "Betcha By Golly Wow").
Even The Neptunes' two tracks are melodic, not gimmicky ("Say Somethin'" with Snoop Dogg; "To The Floor" with Nelly). The second half of the album isn't quite as sharp, though, with
a few undistinguished midspeed tunes - "I Wish You Knew"; "Joyride" -
en route to the gospelly closer "Fly Like A Bird" (produced with Jam & Lewis understudy Big Jim Wright).
The album was re-released late in the same year with a few bonus tracks including the ballad "Don't Forget About Us."
"Cruise Control" indeed. A disappointing, trite followup, especially considering the three-year wait. Carey serves up one featherweight dance track after another - "Touch My Body" (yet another #1); "Migrate" - with serviceable hooks but no striking melodies. The few ballads are even less rewarding: second single "Bye Bye" is a prefab attempt at a tearjerking grief anthem, made more excruciating by Carey's insistence on rhyming "cousins" with "grandmothers." And a shocking number of midtempo numbers leave no impression whatsoever ("I'll Be Loving You Long Time"). Her voice sounds good when you can actually hear it over the backing tracks ("I Wish You Well"), but she rarely gives herself much to do.
Dupri is back on a couple of tracks ("Last Kiss," perhaps the one worthwhile tune); otherwise, it's a parade of the same producers every other pop singer is using: Stargate ("I'm That Chick," with a cloying quote from Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall"); Tricky Stewart; Scott Storch ("Side Effects"); Swizz Beatz.
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (2009)
Carey turned the disc over to Stewart and The-Dream, and they ride their usual hobby horses: the Rihanna-style Caribbean-accented "oh" ("Standing O"); the whistling keyboard lines over slow subwoofing (leadoff single "Obsessed"). That will date the record for future listeners as infallibly as the 1985 DX7 sound, but their bag of tricks does add life to the slower numbers ("Inseparable").
Also, Mariah's paying attention to what she's writing again, so even the clichéd dance tracks are stuffed with tasty hooks ("Betcha Gon' Know") and clever lines ("Up Out My Face"), while the love songs are sublime ("Candy Bling"; "Ribbon"). And unlike a lot of recent R&B, the singing is still front and center: Carey goes from low-register pleading ("The Impossible") to ultra-high soaring ("Angel (Prelude)") with impeccable control. In keeping with her tradition of kitsch covers, there's a reasonably tasteful run through Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is."
Merry Christmas II You (2010)
Like Carey's previous Christmas album, a mix of traditional numbers and originals, each with either overblown orchestrations ("O Little Town Of Bethlehem/Little Drummer Boy"), or R&B arrangements ("The First Noel/Born Is The King").
Carey's new compositions vary widely in both tone and quality: there's the hopelessly overwrought "Christmas Time Is In The Air Again" (written and produced with Mark Shaiman). There's a silly but fun dance track/football cheer ("O Santa"). And blessedly, there's one transcendent, gorgeous soul ballad: "When Christmas Comes," a collaboration with James Poyser. Carey seems to be genuinely in a good mood these days, and her giggling/chuckling asides are often infectious (the club dance take on "Auld Lang Syne"). Nothing will become a perennial classic like "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (remade here in an "Extra Festive" version), but there's plenty of well-crafted entertainment if you've already got the holiday spirit.
Produced by Carey and many of her usual suspects (Dupri, Cox, Randy Jackson, Big Jim Wright).
Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse (2014)
Okay, at this point she's just trolling us with these intentionally awful titles.
Throughout, Carey and her usual producers (plus Hit-Boy) take on all the fashionable dance-pop styles, from retro (the disco pastiche "You Don't Know What To Do" with Wale; the hip-hop homage "Dedicated" featuring Nas) to nowtro ("Thirsty"). It's rarely exceptional but often enjoyably mediocre ("Supernatural," featuring backing vocals from Carey's kids; "Faded," a stripped-down electronic ballad in the "We Belong Together" vein). The palatable but skippable cover is George Michael's "One More Try."
There are several pseudo-gospel inspirational numbers, probably too many ("The Art Of Letting Go"); Carey saves the best for first with the knockout slow R&B "Cry." (she's kinda trolling with the punctuation too, as on "#Beautiful," an insubstantial duet with Miguel).
Bonus tracks include duets with Mary J. Blige ("It's A Wrap") and R. Kelly (a remix of "Betcha Gon' Know").
As Baby Jane said, you can lose everything else, but you can't lose your talent... Never count a songwriter out, because even after many, many years of embarrassing behavior in the public eye, someone like Carey can still come back with a song like "With You" - intimate and true as anything by a 70s singer/songwriter, brand name-droppy and self-referential as any hip hop hit, and melt-in-your-mouth melodic.
The rest of the album doesn't match that but often comes reasonably close ("One Mo' Gen"): It's a collection of falling in and out of love songs, and rather than shape them into a traditional narrative arc, she alternates the kiss-mes and kiss-offs, stressing the point that love's a repetitious danger (Joni Mitchell sometimes lies, but not this time).
Dupri is back, but mostly it's a fresh crop of younger producers: Blood Orange ("Giving Me Life"), Nineteen85 ("GTFO"), DJ Mustard ("With You").
In the 90s, Carey paid a lot of attention to single releases, usually issuing maxi-singles with multiple mixes -
often radically different from each other - and occasionally a new track or two. Unlike most artists, she frequently recorded new
vocals, and they're often more spontaneous and freer than the originals.
Many of the discs run half an hour or more, and if you like the song in question they're mostly worth checking out.
If you want to be a sorehead, though, you could point out that most of the remixes are in one of two categories:
lengthy club mixes with new instrumentation and re-recorded vocals, generally produced by David Morales,
or rap remixes with the same Carey vocal, a couple of guest rappers (most often Da Brat) and a looped sample.
We don't rate singles, but I've put asterisks next to the most noteworthy ones.
Four formulaic mixes by 80s megahack Shep Pettibone - house, new jack swing, "straight" and "pianopercaloopapella" - featuring his usual
percussion and synth bass, behind the same old vocals. (DBW)
Remixed by the original producers - Clivillés and Cole - but it's nothing special: the "club mix" has a slow gospelly opening, then
kicks into the album version with some added percussion; then there's an instrumental of the same mix, and a copy of the LP version.
And just for sheer unadulterated insanity, there's also a bizarrely inappropriate Pettibone mix of "There's Got To Be A Way," eight minutes
of clattery synth percussion and a hip hop loop section obscuring the midtempo message tune. (DBW)
Make It Happen (1992)
This is an example of the industry standard that Carey soon rose above: a conventional maxi-single, with an extended version, a dub,
and a barely different "dance mix" (by Clivillés and Cole).
* Dreamlover (1993)
The LP version plus five club mixes by David Morales: the keeper is the "Def Club Mix," which reconstructs the light pop song as an urgent
dancefloor driver: Carey belts out the plea "take me away" with gale force.
The "Def Tribal Mix" just drops the keyboards from the club mix, while the "Def Instrumental," "USA Love Dub" and "Eclipse Dub"
are mostly voiceless.
Nothing radically reconceived here: aside from the album track, there's a live version, one more mix of "Dreamlover" (the "Club Joint Mix," by Brian Morgan)
and a moving, spooky non-LP ballad ("Everything Fades Away"). (DBW)
* Anytime You Need A Friend (1994)
I think this was her first dance remix of a ballad, and it was a big commercial and artistic sucess.
I don't understand why more singers don't copy the strategy, becaues it makes a lot of sense: ballads have strong melodies and passionate
singing (if they're any good), so it's only natural that they'll work on the dancefloor if you put a decent beat to them.
The ten-minute "C&C Club Version" has even more vocal power than the album's slow gospel version, the driving rhythms make it more cathartic,
and the piano-based coda is stunning.
"Dave's Empty Pass" is basically the same, while the "Ministry Of Sound Mix," also ten minutes long, replaces the piano with harsh synth
tones - it shouldn't work with the gentle lyrics, but somehow it does.
If only she'd included the seven-minute "7" Mix" - an abridgement of the club version - on the LP and the gospel version here,
it would have balanced out both releases.
The 12" vinyl single has two more ten-minute dance mixes: "All That & More" and "Boriqua Tribe."
Aside from the album version, there are three Bad Boy remixes produced by Puffy Combs, one of which features Ol'
Dirty Bastard, and an eleven-minute "Def Club Mix" by Morales.
One Sweet Day (1995)
As with "Hero," nothing was re-envisioned here: three marginally different mixes, a live version, and a "Def Drums" mix of "Fantasy."
Always Be My Baby (1996)
Maybe it's just because I love the album version so much, but I'm not crazy about any of these remixes: three with Xscape, two of which also
have a rap from Da Brat, and a reggae version with Lil' Vicious.
One of the few maxis I recommend you avoid even if you're a fan and you find it cheap.
By now the standard Morales dance mix is becoming cliché, with the usual programmed drums, ostinato keyboards playing major chords,
and unaccompanied vocal breakdown; it's repeated in a stultifying instrumental version.
One rap version has Mase and The Lox, two of my least favorite rappers ever, while the So So Def mix has JD and Da Brat,
who can be heard on just about every maxi Carey has made.
There's an eight-song maxi with two samba versions, two club mixes, a bossa nova and a partridge in a pear tree, but I've never seen it. (DBW)
* My All/Breakdown (1997)
A random but interesting collection. First, the album's ballad version and a Morales club mix of "My All." Then there's a "Mo' Thugs" remix
of "Breakdown" with 50% more Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and a Mobb Deep mix of "The Roof."
Finally, a transcendent Morales dance mix of "Butterly," confusingly retitled "Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise) (Fly Away Club Mix)."
My All (Stay Awhile) (1998)
Yes, there are two different maxi-singles for this song. (Actually, three including the Mexico-only "Mi Todo.")
There are two "So So Def" remixes, based on a sample of Loose Ends' "Stay A Little While Child" and
produced by Jermaine Dupri, one rap-free and one with Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz. Then there are two Morales mixes suspiciously similar
to the earlier "Classic Club Mix," and as a special added attraction, a Morales mix of "The Roof."
The Roof (1998)
This wasn't released as a single in the US, and I think the maxi was only released in Austria, South Africa and Singapore (!). (DBW)
* I Still Believe (1998)
Mostly this runs according to form: the ballad original, a rap remix (with Mocha and Amil), and two uptempo Morales club mixes ("Classic Club Mix"
and "The Kings Mix").
But track four, the Damizza-produced "I Still Believe/Pure Imagination," is a real find: completely new vocals and lyrics,
a different melody, and a rap from Krayzie Bone... nothing in common with the original song but the title.
* Heartbreaker (1999)
The first two mixes - one with Jay-Z, one with Missy Elliott and Da Brat - are on Rainbow,
but Junior Vasquez's ten-minute "Club Mix" alone is worth the purchase price:
a whirling blend of keyboards, percussion, and an amazing vocal performance from Carey in the great Martha Wash house diva tradition.
Clear evidence both that Carey's recent reliance on guest artists hasn't dimmed her talent, and that she'd be better off without them.
Thank God I Found You (2000)
I haven't picked this up, since it's just two rap mixes: one with Nas and Joe, and one with just Joe (who's on the album version to start with),
plus the album version of "Babydoll."
Against All Odds (2000)
No single was released in the US, but in Europe a version of the song with Brit boy band Westlife was rushed out, and promptly topped the
charts. I have a 12" with four versions of a Westlife-free retro-disco mix produced by the Pound Boys - it's not as much fun as it sounds.
Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme) (2000)
The usual Morales schtick on two lengthy dance mixes, the "Revival Triumphant Mix" and the "Club Mix," and for some reason Carey's vocals are unusually sedate.
I also have the regular CD single, which includes the album version of "Crybaby" and a live version of "Love Hangover/Heartbreaker" recorded at the VH1 Divas Live Tribute to Diana Ross.
Eight tracks - the two from Glitter; three insipid, rushed MJ Cole mixes, two-step or UK garage or something; and three Morales club
mixes - and not one is worth hearing. (DBW)
Through The Rain (2002)
The album version, and three formula dance mixes which reuse the original vocal track: one each by Hex Hector, Maurice Joshua,
and Michael Gray and Jon Pearn ("Full Intention Club Mix").
Boy (I Need You) (2003)
As with "Through The Rain," a minimum of effort - and no new vocals from Carey - went into this. There's a rap remix with Cam'ron,
Juelz Santana, Jimmy Jones and Freeway; there's a remix by The Duke & MVP which sounds much like the original;
the Maurice Joshua mix of "Through The Rain" is revived; and "Boy" video is included as a CD Enhancement. (DBW)
It's Like That Pt. 2 (2005)
Includes a no-rap mix, two Morales mixes, and one "Stereo Experience."
We Belong Together (2005)
Four uptempo mixes of the summer's dominant ballad - two "Reconstruction" by Peter Rauhofer and two "Atlantic Soul" by Craig Christensen - plus the album version. Following the recent pattern, there are no new vocals, and both remixers fall back on the dullest club cliché of the past decade: pulsing synth chords in clavé rhythm.