Album Review: Mariah Carey – “Mariah Carey”

Mariah Carey’s self-titled released was her debut album, and it was released in 1990.  This album introduced the world to Mariah’s vocal range and style.  However, unlike the albums she would release in later years, the self-titled debut was a rather straight-forward pop and adult contemporary release.  It definitely has a late 1980s and early 1990s pop sound to it.

The album opens with her debut single, “Vision of Love.”  This ballad really stood out for its time, but it stood out in a good way.  I really like how the song builds in intensity, and how you can hear the genuine emotion in Mariah’s vocal delivery.  The next song on the album is “There’s Got to Be a Way,” which is one of the few songs on the album that doesn’t have to do with love.  This song talks about some of the social issues of the day, and how there’s got to be a way to come together and overcome those problems.

Next on the album is “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” which was the fourth and final single released from the album.  What really makes this song stand out is the fact that Mariah focuses a lot more on the lower registers of her voice, and really doesn’t sing any of her trademark high notes on it.  Over twenty years later, it’s still one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs of all-time.  This is followed by “Someday,” which was released as the third single from the album.  This is an upbeat song about letting an ex know that they’ll be sorry that they let you go, and that they’ll want you back someday.  I’ve always liked the confident attitude that Mariah exudes in her vocal delivery of this song, and it’s one of my favorites on the album.

The album slows back down again with the ballad, “Vanishing.”  This is a very minimal song; it’s just Mariah’s vocals and a piano.  It also really showcases Mariah’s vocal range and abilities.  While this never would have been a good single, I still think it’s a great song.  This is followed by “All in Your Mind.”  This is one of the few songs that I really don’t listen to on the album.  It’s not necessarily a bad song, but it’s one that never grabbed me.  “Alone in Love” is another one of the songs on this album that never did much for me personally; like “All in Your Mind,” this is one I tend to skip when I listen to the album.  Both of these songs are slower in tempo.

“You Need Me” picks the tempo of the album back up in a big way.  Thematically, it’s similar to “Someday”; however, this song is more driving musically than “Someday.”  There’s a very prevalent guitar part that shows up in the song, and that is what ultimately contributes to the “driving” sound.  This is followed by “Sent From Up Above,” which is probably the most R&B sounding song on the album.  However, this is another song on the album that has never grabbed me over the years.

This is followed by “Prisoner,” which is an upbeat song that is much more pop-sounding than “Sent From Up Above.”  In this song, Mariah declares she won’t be a prisoner of someone’s love, and how she’s moving on from that relationship.  The album closes with the ballad, “Love Takes Time,” which was the second single released from the album.  This was actually added on to the album at the last minute, but it makes a great album closer.  “Love Takes Time” is a simple ballad, but it’s a song that’s easy for listeners to relate to.  It definitely ranks up there as not only one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs of all-time, but it’s also one my all-time favorite songs to come out during my high school years.

I think Mariah Carey’s self-titled album showed that she had a lot of promise as an artist.  I have to admit that over the years, I’ve become more and more disappointed in what Mariah has released.  Personally, I still think that, over twenty years later, that Mariah Carey’s self-titled album contains the best songs that Mariah has released during her career.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Mariah Carey that I purchased.


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