Throughout last year, we’ve seen Mariah Carey emerge from the dark and almost lowly place where she’s been for the past 4 years, to the sunshiny and spotless beacon where “the” Mariah Carey has always been since her 90s debut. No artist in history has ever had the grander comeback than Mariah Carey has as Mimi. No artist has ever swept almost every other award show than Mariah has. With “The Emancipation of Mimi”, she has received no less than 35 awards, awards which she receive from various groups: music-loving people, consumers, various magazines, worldwide music organizations, teens, and the ever-hard to please Grammys.
It’s true that Mariah has had a gloomy 15 years of Grammy dearth, but in all those years, she’s been nominated for every album that she’s put out, with the exception of the infamous Glitter and Charmbracelet. She’s the only artist in the last 2 decades to be nominated 3x for Album of the Year and Record of the year, and 2x for Song of the year. She’s the 2nd most nominated female artist in Grammy history, and one of the most nominated artists for the top awards. I think that speaks for the quality of music that she has put out. She may not be the best always, but as a multiple nominee (and winner), she’s proven that she’s one of music’s bests. And in all those years that she’s lost to people who are now forgotten by time, she’s never lost her faith in God as she sings about Him in almost every album, and she’s never lost her smile which never left her even in those years when the world she once dominated turned its back on her.
What does Mariah Carey really represent? Mariah represents pop’s guiltiest pleasures. She makes the tastiest music, with the catchiest lyrics, and the most inviting music videos. She makes the music that the majority loves (or secretly love), write lyrics for the people, and sing them with a voice that, for 16 years, ruled the airwaves. She has supported almost every movement in pop, from the early roots of pop/r&b to the fusion of pop and hiphop. She was pop’s defender when the early 90s was ruled by rock and alternative music. She is pop music’s chicken soup… all served with a smile. It is because of this accessibility that she’s loved and loathed by many people. I mean, not everybody loves chicken soup, right? But I’m sure at one point in our lives (be it hater or fan), we’ve been touched by a Mariah Carey song… and tasted chicken soup.
Many people would convince themselves that Mariah’s music is one of music’s most superficial, forgetting that she’s actually the 2nd most nominated female artist in Grammy history. Many would also convince themselves that Mariah’s career is all about Glitter, forgetting that she was Artist of the decade, and one of the most awarded musicians of the 1990s. Many would further convince themselves that she will be forgotten, forgetting that she has been in the industry for 16 years, and in all those years she’s had a track record almost equivalent to that of Elvis Presley (who won just 2 Grammys in his lifetime), with total awards surpassing some of the most successful artists in history. Many would convince themselves that they hate Mariah so much but actually devote their life and energy hating her… for those people, pass on some chicken soup.
Mariah’s comeback is a testament that no one can hold any talent down, especially if it’s one as good and mass appealing as Mariah’s. She will continue to make records, and single-handedly take on the world that has not completely and fully welcomed her return. With her level of achievements, I’m not sure what she’s aiming for next. She’s only 36, a bit too young to become a legend. I mean, most legends we know reach that status by way of influence, hit songs, amount of awards, and longevity… she has a bit of all. But while she’s cooking up her next scheme for domination, pass on that chicken soup, Mariah, and serve it with a spotless smile!