…or might have probably never even heard of. Happy birthday Mariah Carey. To honor the legendary songbird, let’s pause on the incessant replays of “Hero” and “Always Be My Baby” and revisit six less remembered hits from her 27-years-spanning discography:
Before and “Heartbreaker”, “You Don’t Know What To Do” and even the recent “I Don’t” existed, the third single from Mariah’s self-titled debut album was her first sassy breakup song. It’s the most upbeat of the four singles issued from that album, all of which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990 or 1991. Mariah likes this one the least though, retrospectively finding it overproduced. When Mariah issued her #1 to Infinity greatest hits album in 2015, she replaced the studio version of “Someday” with a live MTV Unplugged version… which doesn’t have an electric guitar solo.
“Thank God I Found You” (1999)
This ode of romantic bliss and heartfelt gratitude is the last track on Rainbow. It is performed as a three-way duet with Joe and 98 Degrees, both of whom have evidently faded into obscurity… as has this song. However, it still leaves its mark in history as Mariah’s 13th No. 1 hit, because it packs all the goodness of a 90’s ballad. You don’t always have to listen to “Hero”.
People either really love or hate this one. The lead single from Mariah’s studio/soundtrack album Glitter samples the Cameo song “Candy”, so the song has an authentic 80’s vibe acccentuated by pop songwriting that made “Fantasy” and “Heartbreaker” chart-toppers. Alas, “Loverboy” stalled at No. 2 (where it peaked only after a price reduction), becoming Mariah’s first non-Christmas lead single not to lead the Hot 100. Thanks to Glitter‘s failure, Mariah never performed the song until 15 years later on the Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour. And we wonder why it’s forgotten.
“It’s Like That” (2005)
Everyone knows “We Belong Together” but not everyone can remember its preceding single, which served as the official introduction to the era of Mimi’s emancipation. “It’s Like That” is a feel-good R&B party-starter that helped restart Mariah’s reign on the charts. At #16, it was the singer’s Top 20 hit as a lead artist since “Loverboy” four years prior. The music video was filmed simultaneously with “We Belong Together”‘s and together serve as two-part story.
“Don’t Forget About Us” (2005)
The Emancipation of Mimi will perenially be remembered for rebirthing Mariah’s career with that decade’s most successful song, “We Belong Together”. Most people will not remember the other No. 1 hit the album churned via its Ultra Platinum Edition re-release. Written in a similar R&B vein, “Don’t Forget About Us” is the perfect breakup anthem follow-up. No longer regretful, a more accepting Mariah honors the ended relationship with bittersweet memories. It features one of my favorite song lyrics ever: “if it’s for real, it’s forever, so don’t forget about us.”
This Eminem diss song pales in comparison to “Touch My Body” in terms of notability of Mariah’s late-00’s singles. It marked the beginning of a post-prime Mariah, as it remains her last Top 10 hit to date. Nevertheless, you can’t not hum to the “oh-oh-oh-oh” hook at the end of every chorus. When I was 15, I was indeed obsessed with this song.