Now Reading: Why Mariah Carey Will Forever Be An Icon


Why Mariah Carey Will Forever Be An Icon

May 15, 20177 min read

Known as Butterfly and Mimi by her die-hard fans, or the Lambily, Mariah Carey is a musical legend that should be protected at all costs.

However, if you ask a random chunk of millennials today to describe Mariah Carey in three words, a majority would choose the following: Diva, Flop, and Irrelevant.

But the damning mistake that my peers make in choosing such incredulous monikers is that they ignore the reality that their “faves” would possibly have no aspirations to be singers if it were it not for the illustrious Miss Carey.

Although the feud between Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey (in which Demi Lovato has recently inserted herself) is highly acknowledged, what is often ignored is how the former often cites the latter as her top influence – if not her only true influence. However, the earth-shattering superpowers of Beyonce, Rihanna, and Britney Spears all cite Mariah Carey as inspiration for their aspirations of superstardom. In fact, Rock and Roll hall of fame inductee Stevie Wonder credits Mariah as a talent on with the same musical stature of Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.

When people talk about the great influential singers, they talk about Aretha, Whitney and Mariah. That’s a testament to her talent. Her range is that amazing.

So what exactly gives the self-proclaimed ‘Elusive Chanteuse’ the ability to tower above the recently emerging “popettes” that deem themselves as the new voices of the generation?

  1. Mariah Carey’s lyrics prove her to be a poet

The bulk of Mariah Carey’s most popular songs feature lyrics that are predominantly incorrectly interpreted as typical of any pop smash. When Mimi’s methodically timed ability to meld words is assessed beyond surface value, she is seated at a table with the likes of Romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

“My All”

I am thinking of you
In my sleepless solitude tonight
If it’s wrong to love you
Then my heart just won’t let me be right
Because I’ve drowned in you
And I won’t pull through
Without you by my side

In this first verse, Carey displays her knowledge of rhetorical devices such as alliteration [sleepless solitude] and metaphor [because I’ve drowned in you]. Later Carey employs a wide vocabulary [vividly emblazoned] and a simile [like a distant star, I’m wishing on tonight] to create formulate the lyrics that created her 13th #1 to atop the charts on May 23, 1998.

“For the Record”

For the record
You’ll always be a part of me [A reference to “Always Be My Baby”]
No matter what you do
And for the record
Can’t nobody say
I didn’t give my all to you [A reference to 1997’s My All”]
And for the record
I told you underneath the stars [A reference to 1995’s “Underneath the Stars”
That you belong to me [A reference to 2005’s We Belong Together
For the record
It’s obvious that
We just can’t let go of us, honey [A reference to 1991’s “Can’t Let Go” and “Honey” from 1997

On a less well-known song off of MC’s 11th studio album E=MC2, the Butterfly herself utilizes the titles of six of her songs in one carefully crafted lyric. Other lyrical standouts include “Hero”, “Anytime You Need a Friend”, “There’s Got to Be A Way”, “All Alone in Love”, and the Eminem diss “Obsessed”.

2. The ‘Songbird Supreme’ can hit five out of eight octaves 

Don’t believe me? Listen below.

WARNING: you may have to delete all of the songs by your favorite artist and replace them with Mariah’s extensive catalog after you realized their lack of talent as compared to MC’s.

3. Remixes and Urban Hip-Hop features were mainstreamed on pop radio by Carey 

The Fantasy Remix featuring ODB (Old Dirty Bastard) of the Wu-Tang clan was a landmark for hip-hop and urban sounds intertwining throughout pop radio. In the years to follow Fantasy came Honey featuring Mase, The Lox, Breakdown featuring Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, and perhaps most notably to the music indulging youth of today: Heartbreaker featuring Jay-Z. Without Mariah’s affinity for hip-hop features, we possibly would not hear songs with black rap artists on mainstream radio. Thanks Mimi!

4. Mariah is a survivor 

Beyond her undeniable talent, glittery floor-length gowns, and tresses that range from “Honey” to hazel, Mariah Carey is a testament to remaining a force to reckon with in the face of repetitive tribulations.

From June 5, 1993-March 5, 1998 Mariah Carey was contained by one of Sony music’s tyrants, Tommy Mottola. Subsequently, in the late 90s, Mariah was labeled as washed up and trying too hard to be sexy by the public. Next, in 2001-2003, she was labeled as mentally deranged and a 90s fad that needed to stop trying to come back. This was after Total Request Live appearance in which she performed a strip tease and the commercial failure of her movie/soundtrack Glitter. During this time Carey was hospitalized for a mental and physical breakdown. In 2005 Mariah flew straight back to the top (although she had never really left) with her 10th studio The Emancipation of Mimi. Since then the general public has tried to re-establish Mariah as suffering from delusions of diva’s grandeur as a result of her 2016 New Year’s Eve performance – but those people obviously enjoy denying themselves what’s good in life. As for 2017, Mariah is working on a new album and is ready to show the world what they, unfortunately, seem to have forgotten about Mimi.

So if you encounter anyone that is trying to catch the ‘Butterfly’ in a net remind them of the impact, talent, and will power that has conglomerated to create the legend that Mariah Carey is.

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Clay Morris

Clay Morris is a 15-year-old who enjoys reminiscing about the early 2000s, dreaming of being on the front rows of fashion shows, fighting for social justice, and writing about any and everything. P.S. Clay also has a Mariah Carey obsession.