• Muzik First

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: MARIAH CAREY

We are looking back at the best-selling female artist Mariah Carey's 1997 album "Butterfly," which will celebrate 25 years since it was first released next year. There is certainly a more personal feel to the album on this album. From the gentle sounds of "Fourth of July" to one of the fan-favourite "Close My Eyes," there are times when "Butterfly" feels much like a musical journey into her life. Though Mariah also got serious about beats—the growing hip hop influence in her work was never as dominant as it was on "Butterfly," thanks to collaborations from the likes of Sean “Puffy” Combs and Q-Tip on the first single “Honey” and a Mobb Deep sample on “The Roof.

Then we have the slow and sweet bit of soul balladry "Butterfly, it has all the makings of classic R&B tune -- softly tinkling piano, a slow-boil rhythm arrangement, and gospel-schooled harmonies on the chorus. What really makes this track stand out is Carey's vocal, which is not only whisper-soft at the song's beginning but then into a beautiful airy falsetto on the second verse. This is undoubtedly one of my favourites as it offers such a perfect blend of music and message.

Several tracks on "Butterfly" have a genuine, nostalgic air that made them feel timeless today as they were in 1997. Only Mariah can deliver such a nostalgic moment as over the last 20 years, all of the album’s twelve tracks have become irreplaceable pieces of 90's nostalgia. The album forever changed Mariah’s career and sound due to her newfound freedom, having recently split from her allegedly oppressive and emotionally abusive husband/label boss Tommy Mottola. It also helped to change the sound of R&B and Pop, as she inspired other Pop/R&B female artists to work with hip-hop artists. On top of that, it opened doors, particularly female artists, to be a bit more introspective in their work.