This summer, Mariah Carey is set to make a massive return to the Las Vegas strip. The biggest selling female artist will follow-up her mega-successful #1 to Infinity show, in which she performed all 18 of her number one hits in chronological order, with a brand new residency at titled The Butterfly Returns.
The new show is said to be looser and fun, with a setlist that could include audience requests and fan favorites. While Carey is a proven hitmaker with more number one hits than any other living artist, she is also known for her incredible album deep cuts that often included masterfully layered vocal harmonies and soulful lyrics. Many of these outstanding tracks were overshadowed by the smash hit songs that were given the proper single treatment, but real Mariah fans know that these album cuts are some of her best work.
Here are some of Mariah Carey’s best album cuts…
Underneath The Stars (1995)
Mariah’s blockbuster Daydream album produced some of her biggest hits to date, including “Fantasy,” “One Sweet Day,” and “Always Be My Baby.” But it was “Underneath The Stars” that was perhaps the most groundbreaking and innovative track on the album, with soaring vocals and vivid imagery reminiscing about a past love.
Mariah has always known how to make a melancholy song work perfectly. Here, she candidly opens up about the deterioration of her marriage to then-husband Nick Cannon. Over a thumping beat produced by Mike Will Made It, Mariah lays it all out: “My heart’s hungover but ain’t nothin different, I close my eyes nothin but faded pictures of you…” and later, “I call your name baby subconsciously, always somewhere but you’re not there for me, boy you…. You’re faded.”
The Roof (1997)
“The Roof” is my favorite Mariah Carey song of all time, and it is arguably the highlight of her magnum opus, Butterfly. The sexy groove is set masterfully over a sample of Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones.” Carey opens the song by settling the scene – an unforgettable night of romance atop a New York City skyscraper. “It wasn’t raining yet, but it was definitely, a little misty on that warm November night.” Just then, the object of Carey’s affection enters. “And then you casually walked in the room, and I was twisted in the web of my desire for you. My apprehension blew away, I only wanted you to taste my sadness as you kissed me in the dark.”
If We (2001)
While the movie Glitter was commercially panned, it’s accompanying soundtrack was actually fantastic and unfortunately never got the appreciation it deserved. “If We” was a summery collaboration with Ja Rule and Nate Dogg, the formula for which Jennifer Lopez and Carey’s ex Tommy Mottola infamously stole and rush-released for J.Lo’s “I’m Real (Remix).” As a result, “If We” wasn’t released, and it’s a shame, because it would’ve been a summer beach anthem.
I Only Wanted (2002)
2002’s underrated Charmbracelet album featured some of Carey’s best writing, and “I Only Wanted” brilliant tackles the misery of mourning a lover who simply couldn’t get it right. “I only wanted you to stay, linger and mean the words you said,” Carey sings over a spanish guitar. “Once more into the wind, the embers scatter and the chill settles in.” Haunting and beautiful.
I Stay In Love (2008)
If “We Belong Together” was the original and “Don’t Forget About Us” was the sequel, “I Stay In Love” completed the trilogy. Released as the final single from E=MC2, it received the short end of the stick at the tail end of an album’s cycle, but the track has aged well and still sounds gorgeous and heartbreaking.
More Than Just Friends (2009)
Carey’s label made an infamous gaffe of following up her blazing hot urban smash “Obsessed” with… a remake of “I Want To Know What Love Is”?!?! That really happened. What should have been released as the second single was the flirtatious, catchy bop “More Than Just Friends,” which features Carey at her most fun, singing lyrics like “Slippin in my Jimmy Choos, yeah I got it all cute for ya baby/Nothin like them other girls, I would never be rude to ya baby…”
Do You Think Of Me (1993)
Released as the B-side to her massive 1993 smash “Dreamlover,” “Do You Think Of Me” has become a fan favorite for its haunting delivery and cinematic production. Carey vacillates between dreamy, breathy vocals and passionate belting as she pines for a long-gone lover.
Stay The Night (2005)
Mariah’s massive 2005 comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi came jam-packed with so many potential hits that it was impossible to release them all. The Kanye West-produced “Stay The Night” is certainly an album highlight and features one of her strongest vocal performances to date. The song is perfect for a springtime, windows-down, nighttime drive.
By Rory Arnold, Contributing Writer