ARTIST OF THE MONTH: MARIAH CAREY
We continue our journey down the road of singing sensation Mariah Carey's fifth studio album "Daydream," which was released on October 3, 1995. This was one of the first CDs I purchased and quickly become a very long love affair with the greatest vocalists, paired with my love for her music that has not only never failed to disappoint but also pulled me through some of the toughest moments of my life. With this album, she continued her relationship with longtime collaborator Walter Afanasieff, with whom Carey had worked on all of her albums up until this point, as well as the legendary DJ/producer David Morales and also with long time collaborator Jermaine Dupri who co-wrote and co-produced the album’s fourth hit single. “Always Be My Baby.”
"Daydream" is the album where she started to spread her wings and immerse herself in R&B and hip-hop. This was clearly showcased in the lead single "Fantasy" that featured Puffy and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, which sent some very questionable vibes to Columbia Records and the public. Combined with the urban change in direction with the breakup with Sony Records executive Tommy Mottola and leaving empty-handed and thus visibly upset at that year's Grammys, it turned out to be one of her best and career-defining work.
Ballads ruled most tracks on the album, and there's certainly no shortage of variety presented in each number. You might be in the mood for an upbeat R&B tune with a bouncy beat and flashy vocal gymnastics, and the smash hits "Fantasy" and "Always Be My Baby" will fit that bill. Then there is the enormous hit "One Sweet Day" that showcases Mariah's vocal arsenal, ranging from mid-range crooning and wispy falsetto to intense belting and complex harmonies. Simultaneously, Boyz II Men have a great performance collectively on the track. The song ended up staying at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a whopping 16 weeks in which she held the record until recently when Luis Fonsi featuring Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee song "Despacito" topped for 17 weeks.
In any case, "Daydream" is an absolute classic of 90s R&B and pop music. Mariah was at her prime vocally; the songwriting is diverse and complementary to the stunning singing and will endure the test of time. Mariah Carey might have been going through tough times, but she still managed to create a great music piece from it all.