I have suffered much ridicule for my love of Mariah. It began in 1995 when I bought the Daydream cassette at Wal-Mart. I played it out and especially loved "Always Be My Baby." Next was Butterfly. I still think this is her best and most accomplished album but many have said this was the start of her musical downfall. For once she wasn't singing bland Tommy Mottola-approved material. Gone were the bombast, treacly ballads. A lot of the lyrics on Butterfly were much more complex and sophisticated than Mariah's ditzy image and cheesy album titles would lead you to believe. Who else slant rhymes "butterfly" with "abandonedly?" (is this even a word?) She even covered Prince with "The Beautiful Ones." She was dipping more into urban grooves (sampling Mobb Deep on "The Roof" and her collaboration with Bone Thugs on the sublime "Breakdown"). I remember people's offensive comments on how she was trying to act "ghetto" and "black" to sell records. I just saw it as her doing the kind of music she loved. She also was changing with the times.
I have a love for '97/'98 Mariah but I continue to watch her career, her outfits, and meltdowns with a mix of fascination, horror, and glee. She always seems to be self-deprecating and herself through her ups and downs. No matter what people may say about her, I will always be a lamb.
Lovely video for "The Roof"