Mariah Carey was born March 27, 1970. She is a multifaceted entertainer. She is a singer, songwriter, producer, and actress. She is a pop/r&b diva known for her five-octave vocal range and her signature whistle note. She arrived on the music scene in 1990 when she released her self-titled CD Mariah Carey. The CD was an instant smash hit for Carey. She scored about four number one hits from this album. She followed it up with Emotions (1991). Carey had three hit singles from this project. Critics questioned whether the multifaceted entertainer was actually singing on her CDs. She proved the critics wrong by performing on MTV’s Unplugged in 1992. She did an impromptu performance of, “I’ll Be There.” The song was a number one hit for the artist. The powers that be decided to release the show as a CD.
After MTV’s Unplugged, Mariah Carey released the album Music Box (1993). Carey had four hit singles from the album. It would become her best-selling album. Mariah Carey decided to put her hat in the Christmas CD ring. She released Merry Christmas in 1994. Carey wrote three original songs for the album. She wrote, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Miss You Most (At Christmastime),” and “Jesus Born on This Day.” It was a very successful album for Carey. It’s the best-selling Christmas album of all time. It produced one of the biggest selling Christmas singles, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
After the success of the Christmas CD, Carey released Daydream in 1995. She had six singles released from this project. She decided to shift genres and lean more towards an urban sound. This project was the start of Carey’s venture into hip-hop music. In 1997, the singer released the Butterfly album. She released five singles and had two number one tracks on this project. The next album Carey put out was Rainbow in 1999. The singer had five singles from this album. This is her seventh consecutive project to score number one hits. The hits were, “Heartbreaker” and “Thank God I Found You.” In 2001, she starred in the movie Glitter. She also did the soundtrack for the movie. The soundtrack had four singles that made it to radio. After the soundtrack, she put out another studio album called Charmbracelet (2002). The project had three singles to make it to radio. In 2005, Mariah Carey released The Emancipation of Mimi. The CD produced seven singles. After the success of The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey returned to the studio. She released E=MC2 in 2008. Carey had four singles from this CD.
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel was released in 2009. The project had five singles that had radio airplay. Carey decided to release another Christmas CD after the success of her first one. This CD was called Merry Christmas II You. She wrote four original songs for the album. The album had three singles that made it to radio. After she released the Christmas CD, she went back to working on a studio project. Carey released Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse in 2014. The project contained four singles. Caution was released in 2018. Carey had two singles from the project. In 2020, Carey decided to release The Rarities. This project is a collection of her unreleased material. This project was to celebrate the release of her debut CD. She also released a book in 2020 titled, The Meaning Of Mariah Carey.
Mariah Carey has the most number one singles for a female artist. With 19 number one hits, she is only behind The Beatles with the most number one tracks of all time. This top 10 list will be about 10 of her number one tracks. She has a lot of great and popular number one songs so this list was hard to compile.
# 10 – Someday
We open up our top 10 Mariah Carey Songs list with a great track from Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut CD Mariah Carey. It’s a blend of different genres. She combined pop, r&b, dance, and New Jack Swing to create this masterpiece entitled “Someday.” This is the third single from the album. The track is about her ex regretting losing her. She sings the song with a lot of passion as if it’s directed at someone in particular. She sings the song in her normal key and goes up an octave for the hook. It’s amazing how she found a way to insert the whistle note in an up-tempo song. She shows great control because it comes out of nowhere towards the fade out. Carey does runs for ad libs, but she doesn’t hold any notes in the song.
# 9 – My All
Continuing with our Mariah Carey songs list we turn to the song “My All.” The single was released from the Butterfly CD. This is the fifth single from the album. The ballad mixes a couple of genres. She starts the song off with a Latin mix up until the first chorus and then switches to an r&b sound throughout the rest of the song. She returns to the Latin mix towards the bridge and fades out with r&b. There aren’t too many songs on the radio like it, which is impressive. Her vocals are very strong on this track. She sings the verses softly and belts the hook. She sings the song with so much passion you can almost feel the love she has for her former lover. She does belt towards the end, but her signature whistle note isn’t featured on the track. The passionate song is about a woman who wants another night with her former lover. Carey released a remix to the song that has a completely different sound to it. The remix has an r&b and hip-hop sound and samples Loose Ends’, “Stay A Little While, Child.” The remix features guest rappers Peter Gunz and Lord Tariq. It didn’t go to number one, but it’s a good remix to the song. It’s not as good as the original, but it’s worth a listen.
# 8 – Thank God I Found You – ft. Joe and 98 Degrees
The track is featured on the Rainbow CD. It’s the second single from the album. It’s a pop ballad about finding new love. There are a lot of people in this song and it could have suffered from overcrowding. Fortunately, they managed to make the combination work. Mariah Carey paired with writing legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for this track. The song was initially meant for Carey and K-Ci and JoJo from Jodeci. It didn’t work out because they weren’t on the same label as Carey. She called Joe and wanted him to be on the track. He immediately agreed to it. Jam and Lewis wanted 98 Degrees to be featured on the track as well so they could provide harmonies for the song. They all made the right decision with their choices because the song turned out to be a success for all of them. Carey allows everyone to shine in the song.
She does hold back on her power vocals, which gives the guys a chance to shine. The song showcases Joe’s vocals the most. Joe is an r&b singer and this track allowed pop fans to become aware of his talents. His baritone voice is a perfect match for her soprano voice. There is a remix of this song that feature Mariah Carey, Joe, and Nas. The remix is a remake of Keith Sweat’s, “Make It Last Forever.” She managed to keep the hook from the original song even though she changed the verses. It’s an urban version of the pop song.
# 7 – I Don’t Want To Cry
This song is featured on Carey’s debut album Mariah Carey. This is the fourth single. The ballad is a mix of soulful r&b and pop. The song is about refusing to cry over a lost love. It has a soft beat and it gives Carey a chance to showcase her amazing vocals. She proves why she’s a power diva with this track. She sounds very similar to Whitney Houston. She builds up to her powerful vocals towards the end of the song without missing a beat. She sings in a lower key at the start of the song and works her way up to her amazing power vocals. She does little runs throughout the track. She doesn’t utilize her whistle note, but it wasn’t needed. Her vocals were enough with out the note being featured. This is one of her debut singles, but she sounds as if she was singing for years on this track.
# 6 – Love Takes Time
The song is also on Carey’s debut album Mariah Carey. This is the second single from the CD. It’s a pop and adult contemporary track. The song is about someone trying to get over the loss of a lover. She pulls her vocals from her diaphragm when she sings the hook of the song. It gives her voice a soulful sound and works brilliantly for her. She sings in her upper register for most of the track. Her signature whistle is featured towards the end of the song. She belts towards the end of the song as it fades out. She’s the only vocalist featured on the track, which is a nice touch. She didn’t need anyone else to sing background vocals in the song. She is the star. She channels her inner Whitney Houston on this track. You could easily forget she isn’t Houston on this song because Carey sounds so much like her.
# 5 – We Belong Together
The song is on the Emancipation Of Mimi album. It’s the second single from the album. This song features lyrics and samples from Bobby Womack’s, “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” and The Deele’s, “Two Occasions.” It’s about a woman who wants her lover to come back to her. This single proved to Carey’s critics that she could have another number one hit. The critics were ready to write her off because of the issues she was having with her record label. She changed labels once she divorced record producer Tommy Mottola. The song was considered a comeback for her. The track is one of her longest running songs at number one. The two samples make the r&b ballad pop. She does something different with the lyrics for this track. She sings the verses a little fast, but it was a nice flow. Carey sings most of the song in her lower register until she gets to the end of the song. She belts a little when the song fades out. She holds a note at the end of the song.
# 4 – One Sweet Day – ft. Boyz II Men
This is the second single from the Daydream album. The inspirational ballad is about missing someone who passed away and seeing them again in heaven. She wrote the song when producer David Cole passed away. She also wanted to dedicate the song to her fans who lost loved ones. This is the first duet Mariah Carey sang on her CD. Carey and Boyz II Men were a vocal match made in heaven. Their voices blended well together. She sings the song in her upper register and it works with their tones of voices. Boyz II Men have a mixture of tenor, baritone, and base vocals, which work well with her soprano voice. This is the perfect pop song for fans of that genre. Carey has vocal battles with Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris throughout the song and it’s a fabulous touch. There weren’t any winners because they were all vocal champions. There aren’t that many artists who could hold their own against Carey, but they proved they were strong contenders. It’s not a surprise this song was one of her longest running songs at number one.
# 3 – I’ll Be There
This remake appears on Carey’s MTV Unplugged CD. She decided to sing the song on her special at the last minute. She sang the song with Trey Lorenz. This is her sixth number one song. She sticks with the same format as the original version of the song. She changes the lyrics to make it gender appropriate for her. She sings the song in her normal key and belts at points in the song. She allows Trey Lorenz to shine in it. His vocals are amazing on the track. Lorenz is her background singer and proved he could be a lead singer. He sings a note in falsetto in the second verse of the song. It was risky because of how high he went up, but it worked brilliantly. The song was a big hit and she took a risk covering it. It’s one of the Jackson Five’s biggest hits so she took a chance recording it when it was going to be compared to the original. Her version of the song is just as good as the original. Her version has more vocal gymnastics than the original and that’s not an easy feat. She proved to her critics she was able to sing live with this song.
# 2 – Vision Of Love
“Vision Of Love,” is Carey’s debut single from her first album Mariah Carey. The ballad has a pop and r&b beat to it. The song is about the way she feels about her lover. When this single was released, there were quite a few comparisons to Whitney Houston. She sounds very similar to Houston on this track. She sings the song in her lower key when she opens it. She starts belting and using runs throughout the song. She’s also competing with herself with her vocals after the bridge. This is the first song to feature her signature whistle note. She uses amazing control throughout the song. She holds an incredible note at the end. Carey wanted the world to take notice of her strong vocals. She proved she was just as good a singer as Whitney Houston. It’s not a surprise this song made it to number one.
# 1 – All I Want For Christmas
We close out out top 10 Mariah Care songs list with ine of the biggest selling singles of all time. “All I Want For Christmas,” was the first single from her legendary Merry Christmas album. This is one of the songs Carey wrote for the album. This may seem like an odd choice for number one, but it does fit. This track is like the little engine that could. It was released in 1994 and didn’t hit number one until 25 years later. It’s a song that gets constant airplay during the holiday season. The song has an old school sound to it. The keyboard, drums, and bell chimes are the main instruments featured on the track. If she didn’t have the bells and make reference to Christmas in the song, it could have easily been one of her biggest pop songs. She manages to utilize her power vocals in the song. She holds notes at the end of it. It doesn’t have the whistle note, but it wasn’t necessary. The catchy up-tempo song is impossible to listen to without dancing to it. You can’t say that about many Christmas songs.
Mariah Carey Discography:
Released in 1990
Released in 1991
Released in 1992
Released in 1993
Released in 1994
Released in 1995
Released in 1997
Released in 1999
Released in 2001
Released in 2002
Released in 2005
Released in 2008
Released in 2009
Released in 2010
Released in 2014
Released in 2018
Released in 2020
Top 10 Mariah Carey Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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