Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey , 6/10
Emotions , 4/10
Music Box , 4/10
Daydream , 5/10
Butterfly , 5/10
Rainbow , 5/10
Glitter (2001), 3/10
Charmbracelet (2002), 3/10
The Emancipation Of Mimi (2005), 5/10
E=MC2 (2008), 4/10
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (2009), 4/10
Me I Am Mariah the Elusive Chanteuse (2014), 3/10
Caution (2018), 3/10

Mariah Carey (born in New York in 1970 of mixed-race parents) is an astonishing vocalist, equipped with a five-octave range and a register that competes with Whitney Houston's. Her melisma singing on the high notes became soon legendary. Unfortunately, she has wasted her career singing lame soul-pop ballads. Thanks to her artistic prostitution, Mariah Carey was the best-selling female performer of the 1990s.

Coached by her mother (an opera singer), Carey wrote her first songs with keyboardist Ben Margulies, while working as a waitress and janitor. She struck gold after she was signed (and romanced) by Columbia executive Tommy Mottola at a party. Her debut album, Mariah Carey (Columbia, 1990), spawned five hits: Vision Of Love, There's Got to Be a Better Way, Love Takes Time, the ballad that established her as one of the greatest interpreters of her time, the Madonna-inspired dance of Someday and the heartbreaking ballad I Don't Wanna Cry. The album will sell six million copies in ten years.

While vastle inferior, Emotions (Columbia, 1991) also sold millions. When the (loud, floor-shaking) title-track reached number one again, Carey became the first artist to have her first five singles all make it to the top of the charts. The album also contains Can't Let Go and Make It Happen.

In 1993 Carey wed Mottola (with a half-a-million-dollar ceremony) and released Music Box (Columbia, 1993), that will go on to become her all-time best-selling album (23 million copies in eight years). The upbeat, whispered jingle of Dreamlover and the solemn, orchestral, piano-driven hymn of Hero were the new hits, followed by All I Want for Christmas Is You (1994). As usual, each song is carefully packaged and masterly executed. However, Anytime You Need a Friend (1994) was better remixed by C&C Music Factory as a ten-minute club dance.

Fantasy, from Daydream (Columbia, 1995), shaken by loud hip-hop beats and focused on the aerial battle of the many voices, debuted at number one, relying very little on arrangement (clapping, a blues guitar, a funky keyboard). One Sweet Day, a slow, emphatic duet with Boyz II Men, did even better, staying at the top of the charts for an unprecedented 16 weeks. Each album was carefully crafted by a fleet of producers for maximum consumption but yielded little in artistic terms. Always Be My Baby is a typical Carey ballad, enhanced by a colorful counterpoint of female voices. Underneath the Stars and Melt Away further display the artful exploitation of emotions on the album.

After separating from Mottola, Carey abandoned her image of mainstream balladeers and suddenly presented a "bad girl" aspect of her persona with Butterfly (Columbia, 1997), a collection steeped in hip hop and rhythm and blues: the futuristic, syncopated Honey, the super-sweet and super-romantic Whenever You Call, the delicate, tender whisper of My All.

#1's collects her 13 number-one singles as well as The Prince of Egypt, a duet with the second most successful female singer of the decade, Whitney Houston.

Carey divorced from Mottola in 1998 but initially the fact seemed to make little difference. The hit of the year was The Roof (Back in Time), which sampled Mobb Deep's Shook Ones Part II. Heartbreaker, from Rainbow (Columbia, 1999), broke the Beatles' record for total weeks that an artist has been at number one on the Billboard charts (but it is nothing more than a reworking of Fantasy). I Still Believe, a relatively trivial romantic ballad, was the second hit. The real highlights of the album, though, are Bliss, six minutes of the hottest soul she has ever recorded, and Crybaby, her best hip-hop imitation yet.

Carey was rarely credited for her own success, but she actually composed 13 of her 14 chart-topping hits.

Carey topped the charts in each year of the 1990s. At 29, Mariah Carey had already sold over 100 million albums. Neither Presley nor the Beatles could claim anything close to her records. She already had a portfolio containing some of the most popular songs of the decade: Vision Of Love (1990), Emotions (1991), Dreamlover (1993), Hero (1993) All I Want for Christmas Is You (1994), Fantasy (1995), One Sweet Day (1995), Always Be My Baby (1995), Honey (1997), Heartbreaker (1999).

In 2000, Thank God I Found You and Can't Take That Away continued the string of hits, but Glitter (EMI, 2001) flopped, her first album not to sell one million copies. She suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for a while. In january 2002 her recording company canceled her contract, one of the biggest in history. Charmbracelet (2002) sounded like a collection of leftovers.

The Emancipation Of Mimi (2005) was not as catchy as usual, her voice was somewhat shaky, its single It's Like That was mediocre and Shake It Off did little with Jermaine Dupri's inventive beat, but the torch ballad We Belong Together and Don't Forget About Us gained her more respectability and reached the top of the charts, allowing her to match Elvis Presley's record of 17 number-one singles. It sold more than four million copies in 2005 alone (the second best-selling album of the year). All in all, it marked a commercial comeback.

The Neptunes produced Say Somethin’ (2006) in the synth-pop style of the 1980s.

E=MC2 (2008), an album heavy on hip-hop rhythms, reached again the top of the charts (Touch My Body the hit). Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (2009), composed by Terius Nash (The-Dream) and Christopher Stewart (Tricky), opted instead for the format of the love ballad, and stood as a sort of adult counterpart to the teenage spirit of its predecessor (Obsessed would become a meme on the Internet ten years later).

#Beautiful (2013) is unusually rocking and distorted. Me I Am Mariah the Elusive Chanteuse (2014) buried her voice in sound effects, and Caution (2018) buried her voice in beats (A No-No repurposes Lil'Kim's Crush on You). Both repeated fashionable cliches hoping that her songs could resonated with the new generation, but the process ended up obscuring her vocal talent and further sabotaged it with mediocre material.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Antonio DiFrancesco )

Mariah Carey (nata a New York nel 1970 da genitori di differente colore della pelle) e` una straordinaria cantante, dotata di un repertorio di sette ottave e di un registro paragonabile a quello di Whitney Houston. Il suo cantato melodioso sulle note alte e` presto divenuto leggendario. Purtroppo, ha sprecato la sua carriera cantando insulse ballate pop-soul.Grazie alla sua "prostituzione artistica", Mariah Carey e` stata l'artista solista femminile che ha venduto piu` copie negli anni '90.

Istruita dalla propria madre (una cantante d'opera), la Carey scrisse le sue prime canzoni con il pianista Ben Margulies, mentre lavorava come cameriera e portinaia. Trovo` l'oro dopo essersi legata (non solo contrattualmente) all'executive della Columbia Tommy Mottola in una festa. Il suo album di debutto, Mariah Carey (Columbia, 1990), produsse cinque hits da classifica: Vision Of Love, There's Got To Be A Better Way, Love Takes Time, la ballata che la consacro` come una delle piu` grandi interpreti del suo tempo, il balletto alla Madonna di Someday e la commovente ballata I Don't Wanna Cry. L'album vender=E0 in dieci anni sei milioni di copie.

Quantunque nettamente inferiore, anche Emotions (Columbia, 1991) vendette milioni di copie. Quando la (rumorosa e scuotente) title-track raggiunse ancora una volta il numero uno, la Carey divenne il primo artista a raggiungere la cime delle classifiche con ognuno dei suoi primi cinque singoli. L'album contiene inoltre Can't Let Go e Make It Happen.

Nel 1993 la Carey sposo` Mottola (con una ceremonia da mezzo milione di dollari) e pubblico` Music Box (Columbia, 1993), che sarebbe diventato il suo album di maggior successo in termini di copie vendute. La lieta, sussurrata cantilena di Dreamlover e il solenne inno orchestrale guidato dal pianoforte di Hero furono le nuove hit-singles, seguite da All I Want For Christmas Is You. Come al solito, ogni canzone e` accuratamente confezionata e magistralmente eseguita.

Fantasy, dall'album Daydream (Columbia, 1995), agitata da rumorosi ritmi hip-hop e focalizzata sulla contrapposizione aerea di varie voci, esord=EC al numero uno, contando ben poco sull'arrangiamento (battito di mani, una chitarra blues, una tastiera funky). One Sweet Day, un lento ed enfatico duetto con i Boyz II Men, fece anche meglio, rimanendo in cima alle classifiche per un periodo record di 16 settimane. Ogni album era accuratamente congegnato per il massimo consumo possibile da una frotta di produttori, ma trasmetteva ben poco in termini artistici. Always Be My Baby e` una tipica ballata di Mariah, innalzata da uncolorato contrappunto di voci femminili.

Dopo essersi separata da Mottola, Mariah Carey abbandono` la sua immagine di esecutrice di tradizionali ballate, presentandosi improvvisamente con un aspetto da "ragazza cattiva" in Butterfly (Columbia, 1997), un disco immerso nell'hip-hop e nel rythm and blues; la futuristica e sincopata Honey, la sdolcinatissima e romanticissima Whenever You Call, il delicato e tenero bisbiglio di My All.

#1's raccoglie i suoi 13 singoli da numero uno piu` When You Believe (che fece parte della colonna sonora del film animato Il Principe d'Egitto), un duetto con la seconda cantante femmina di maggior successo del decennio, Whitney Houston.

Heartbreaker, dall'album Rainbow (Columbia, 1999), batte` il record, detenuto dai Beatles, per il totale di settimane in cui un artista sia stato al numero uno delle classifiche di Billboard (pur non essendo altro che un rifacimento di Fantasy). I Still Believe, una ballata romantica piuttosto insignificante, fu il secondo singolo. I veri centri del disco, comunque, sono Bliss, sei minuti del piu` caldo soul che mai sia stato registrato, e Crybaby, per adesso la sua migliore interpretazione hip-hop. Nel 2000, Thank God I Found You e Can't Take That Away continuarono la serie dei suoi singoli.

Mariah Carey viene raramente accreditata per il suo successo, ma ha effettivamente composto 13 delle sue 14 canzoni al numero uno delle charts.

Mariah Carey e` arrivata al primo posto delle classifiche in ogni annata degli anni Novanta. A 29 anni, ha gi=E0 venduto piu` di 100 milioni di copie. N=E9 Elvis Presley n=E9 i Beatles si avvicinano ai suoi record di vendita.

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