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Mariah Carey – #1 To Infinity album review

The diva celebrates her 18 number ones on this new release.

Mariah Carey
Credit: Sony Music

Mariah Carey is one of the most successful artists of all time. Known for her incredible range and power, Carey has scored 18 number 1 hits in the US since she debuted with Vision of Love in 1990. She holds the record for most number ones by a solo artist and is second to The Beatles for most number ones on the Billboard 100. Following her recent move back to Sony Records, her original label home, Mariah is releasing new greatest hits collection #1 To Infinity to tie in with her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace.

Essentially #1 To Infinity is an updated version of Carey’s 1998 greatest hits release #1s. Since the release of that album the singer has achieved a further 5 number one singles, with her last number in 2008 with Touch My Body, taken from her album E=MC2. Unlike #1s, #1 To Infinity is sequenced in chronological order taking you through Carey’s impressive 18 number ones. There is one new track included on the album, Infinity, which Carey is likely hoping will be her 19th number one.

#1 To Infinity opens with 1990’s Vision of Love, a song that reminds you of the huge impact that Carey made when she arrived on the music scene. The song remains one of her finest with her vocal flawless as she swoops and soars over and around the melody. The power of her voice is something that hasn’t been matched by any other female artist and her now trademark whistle register made its first appearance on the track.

For the first 4 years of her career, Carey reigned supreme with her ballads and the occasional uptempo song thrown into the mix. From 1995 she started to exert more creative control on her records injecting hip-hop samples into her sound. This as first noticeable on Fantasy, a song she famously remixed with the late rapper O.D.B, that appeared on her album Daydream. Following her divorce from Sony boss Tommy Mottola in 1998, Carey progressed her sound further mixing pop, R&B and hip-hop which scored her numbers 1s in the shape of the playful Heartbreaker (1999) and the soulful Thank God I Found You featuring Joe and 98 Degrees, which sadly has been swapped out for the Westlife duet Against All Odds for the UK release of #1 To Infinity.

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In 2005 Carey experience somewhat of a career revival with the release of The Emancipation of Mimi. During this period she scored two number ones – the epic R&B mid-tempo classic We Belong Together and a song that could easily have been We Belong Together Part II; Don’t Forget About Us. The last of Carey’s number ones on the album is Touch My Body, taken from E=MC2. That track is a playful R&B tinged pop number that saw Carey place her tongue firmly in her cheek.

Trying to choose highlights from Carey’s number 1s is hard. Vision of Love will always be one of her best but songs such as 1991’s Someday (frustratingly not included on the UK version) and Emotions are right up there with Carey’s best work. Both songs showcase her incredible power and range, and no female singer has been able to match the vocal performances that Carey has given throughout her career. 1997’s Honey, which again married pop with R&B and hip-hop flavours remains another favourite and has featured frequently in her live shows over the years.

#1 To Infinity is a timely reminder of just how much success, and what an incredible artist Carey is. The variety across her number 1s shows that she can lend her voice to pretty much any sound and make it successful. Whilst we’ll always hold a special place for her big ballads, the more recent R&B stylings she’s favoured hold up against her biggest hits too. We’re sure that in the next few years Carey will add another couple of number 1s to her resume which would further establish her as the most successful female artist of all time.

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