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Happy Birthday Mariah Carey: 10 deep cuts you need to hear

Celebrate the diva’s birthday with 10 lesser known tracks from her catalogue.

Mariah Carey
Credit: Def Jam / Island

The world’s best-selling star Mariah Carey turns 46 today as she’s in the midst of her European tour.

Over the course of her long and successful career, Mariah has recorded a lot of tracks and there are plenty of gems in her catalogue that deserved much more attention than they got. Obviously not every song can be a single, but there are plenty of deep cuts on Mariah’s albums that could have set the charts alight.

To celebrate Mariah’s birthday (or anniversary as she prefers to call it), we’ve selected 10 deep cuts that you should get familiar with…

10. Looking In

Album: Daydream

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The closing track to 1995 album Daydream, Looking In has long been a fan favourite. One of her most autobiographical and personal songs, it was the first true hint that fans had that not Mariah’s life wasn’t all glitz and glamour.


9. Reflections (Care Enough)

Album: Glitter

2001’s Glitter was universally derided by the critics without any of them actually bothering to take the time to properly listen to it. Regardless of what you think about the film of the same name, Glitter is a solid album and Reflections (Care Enough) is a classic Mariah ballad with soaring vocals and heartfelt lyrics.


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8. Close My Eyes

Album: Butterfly

Another fan favourite, Close My Eyes is taken from 1997 album Butterfly. The track could be seen as a sequel of sorts to Daydream’s Looking In and it continued the theme of a star that was battling insecurities and doubt. It also speaks of being forced to grow up too fast and dealing with the harsh realities of life in the public eye.


7. Faded

Album: Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse

Taken from her most recent album released in 2014, Faded is a song that definitely should have been a single. It’s Mariah at her R&B finest as she laments the end of a relationship over whispery vocals and mighty fine beats.

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6. One & Only feat Twista

Album: The Emancipation of Mimi

2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi was HUGE for Mariah and there were a lot of tracks that could have been singles. One favourite of ours if One & Only featuring rapper Twista. Mariah opts for her trademark whisper vocal on the verses but unleashes her power when needed. Magic!


5. 4th of July

Album: Butterfly

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Another cut from 1997’s Butterfly album, 4th of July is as close to ear candy as you can get. Mariah uses her whisper vocal in layers giving a depth to the song that few singers could ever achieve. The end result is like a sugary daydream as Mariah tells a tale of love and lust.


4. Subtle Invitation

Album: Charmbracelet

2002’s Charmbracelet was seriously under-rated but this track was a highlight of Mariah’s 2003 tour in support of the album. Lyrically the song is a woman telling an ex that she’s still in love with him, despite the fact that he’s moved on. Mariah’s belts at the end of the song are perfect and the understated feel of the majority of the song surprising.


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3. Side Effects featuring Young Jeezy

Album: E=MC2

It’s doesn’t take a genius to work out that this track from 2008’s E=MC2 was about Mariah’s marriage to former Sony head Tommy Mottola. The harder-edged track features Young Jeezy and sees a candid Mariah talking about feeling trapped in a loveless marriage. Despite the polished production, you can hear the pain in this song.


2. Everything Fades Away

Album: Music Box

1993’s mega-selling Music Box may have spawned loads of hits but sadly Everything Fades Away wasn’t one of them. It was only included on the international version of the album and it’s a slice of classic Mariah with its gospel infusion backing her powerful vocals. If she ever sung this one live we’d probably faint.

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1. I Wish You Knew

Album: The Emancipation of Mimi

The final deep cut in celebration of Mimi’s birthday is I Wish You Knew. The track featured on The Emancipation of Mimi and it has that throwback soul feel that is irresistible to the ear. Mariah is on fine form vocally and her whistle register is on point.


Mariah Carey is currently on tour in Europe with The Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour.

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