She has sold millions of records and topped the Billboard Hot 100 on more occasions that any other solo artist but does Mariah Carey have a signature song? Well, we are about to find out via the return of our popular Way Back Wednesday mini series, which is now back by popular demand!
Carey became a global sensation with the release of her debut single, “Vision of Love”, and throughout her impressive 23-year career as a recording artist, she has crafted several hit songs that helped to redefine the landscape of Pop and R&B. From the tune that revolutionised the Hip-Pop movement, “Fantasy (Ft. O.D.B.)” to ballad that spawned countless imitations, “We Belong Together”, Carey has proven herself to be one of the most important singer-songwriters of her generation.
Yet, despite her many success, many of Carey’s fans and critics disagree on the title of her signature song and whether that record even exists. Indeed, with a catalogue as extensive as hers, it is difficult to define such a vast legacy with a single hit.
That’s where we enter from stage right as we attempt to name Carey’s definitive song. Check out the list and join the discussion below:
“All I Want for Christmas is You”
“Always Be My Baby”
“Fantasy (Ft. O.D.B.)”
“One Sweet Day (with Boyz II Men)”
“Vision of Love”
“We Belong Together”
Similar to Michael Jackson, though to much smaller degree, Carey has remained significant throughout several shifts in popular culture. Whether she started a trend or simply popularised it, she has been almost omnipresent as a force in Pop, R&B, Hip-Hop and even Dance music.
For instance, “Vision of Love” took the already popular style of melisma to new heights and the unique arrangement of Carey’s vocals on that song influenced an entire generation of singers, including Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Jessie J, to extend every syllable into a flurry of warbling high notes. “We Belong Together”, on the other hand, did exactly the opposite with Carey’s quick delivery as she rode the production framed by an interplay between a recurring melody and a bass-bumping beat. What followed were recreations by Mary J. Blige (“Be Without You”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”), Beyonce (“Halo”) and Alicia Keys (“No One”).
Of course, there is a special song by Carey that is recognised around the world by people of all generations: “All I Want for Christmas is You”. Unlike her other releases that represent key eras of music, this inescapable tune has returned to the charts every year since launching onto the airwaves in 1994 and will probably play long after many of us have passed. That’s why I nominate it as Carey’s signature hit.