As much as we would like to compare Mariah to the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson in terms of status, I think Mariah still has to go a long long way before she could be considered a superstar. I think it’s not the number of sales, but the impact of the music she makes that will determine her status in the end. She may be a certified hit-maker, but not a maker of songs that define generations and culture. Madonna helped usher the 90s sexual revolution, and shaped dance music, and Michael spoke about racial unity, and set the standard for performers. If MC will be known for anything, it will be for her self-help songs, and love songs. Her voice may be the greatest of all, but no one really becomes a superstar for voice and some boring ballads, and besides she shares the stage with Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Moreover, no one also becomes a superstar in R&B. Michael and Madonna are able to re-invent themselves because pop is flexible, and pop is really the music of the world. Mariah is at a very respectable place now in music, but for an artist with so much potential, she should take risks and try to sample new music and new concepts. Whitney, and Celine are singers, but MC is more than that – she’s actually an artist, and if guided to the right direction, she can create music as great as the greatest we know.
Madonna and Michael have become so successful because they are pop artists. Mariah could do more when she’s pop. MC has always taken the “safer” paths, paths that have worked for some artists before. MC was Whitney, Celine, and Minnie on her 1st 2 albums. She was Janet/Whitney hybrid on Music Box and Daydream. She was a Mariah-ized version of Janet/Madonna on Butterfly and Rainbow, while trying to be Prince in Glitter. She then became her 90s self in Charmbracelet, and Beyonce/Usher in Mimi. All her albums were carved out from already surefire themes. I just wish she’d have the courage to create her own concept, a concept that’s entirely Mariah. I say she should try on different producers, and be more extroverted with her lyrics. I just wish she’d be pushed to the direction where she could really experiment with new music (not with new rappers). She can’t possibly be music’s golden singing girl forever… MC can write and produce her own music, for this she deserves more! If stripped off of her popular derivative music, MC is at her roots a genuine artist with a very versatile talent for song-writing and creating new sound.
I see MC as a valedictorian in popular music getting the highest grades (sales), and being taught all her life to be always #1. She’s oriented to getting flawless records, by recording only surefire hits. As a result, what she worked for 10 years already surpassed what Madonna, Whitney, and Michael worked for nearly 20 years. But just like any honor student who gets her first failure (Glitter), MC suffered and got ridiculed, just because all her life she’s taught that it’s all about being #1. But while she remains to be #1 in music because of sales, she’s not the most popular. Instead, the popular are those who grab people’s attention, and those that represent what the majority thinks is cool. Majority of people loves sex and controversy… so when they see somebody proclaiming the message, they buy her gimmick. Mariah has never been “cool” as far as her image is concerned. She always looked somewhat awkward and un-convincing when she changes her image. Well, all I want to say is that she’s got a lot to work on. And considering the reception of people to “Mimi”, people are willing to wait for her to truly emancipate the butterfly within her. As a fan, I just don’t want people to remember her as somebody greater than Whitney or Celine, the best vocalist, or the biggest artist of all time, we really don’t want to always remind people of her sales or records, or her 5 octaves…I want her to be remembered as “simply Mariah, THE artist”.