Hello and welcome to today's Mariah Carey appreciation thread. I should start with a disclaimer: Casual fans may leave here obsessed or thirsty, and lambs quenched.
Let's be honest with ourselves: Mariah has delivered countless gems over her illustrious 27-plus years in music, all recorded at the tender age of "eternally 12," but we're here to celebrate the songs less celebrated. Of course, no one wants the challenge of picking a finite number of songs to pay tribute to. It's frivolous. Even more futile would be to list these songs in order.
So let's do both.
But before we choose Mariah Carey's 10 most underappreciated songs, some guidelines:
"Mimi Math": Like Mariah, I've spent untold hours perfecting the sequencing of this track list. Also, like Queen Mimi, I understand greatly the musical consequence of these songs. The formula for this list is scientific: Take the actual perceived musical value of the song and subtract the overall popularity, equaling total level of "underappreciation." Overall popularity can also be substituted for "Lamb Appreciation," where appropriate.
Editor's note: I challenged myself to withhold the quintessential go-to deep cuts: "Looking In," "Prisoner," Mariah favorite "Underneath the Stars," "Vanishing" (her single-greatest recorded vocal performance *of* *all* *time*). I wanted to try to surprise even some hard-core fans, all the while paying tribute to the gloriously bountiful sonic deliverance of the woman with more Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s than any other solo artist in history.
Here are Mariah's 10 Most Underappreciated Songs, in descending order:
10. " Do You Think of Me"
I do. I think of you all the time. Flawless '90s B-side of "Dreamlover." Fan favorite, but makes such an impression that it deserves further recognition.
9. "Thanx For Nothin'"
No, thank you, legend, for this easily overlooked track buried in the second half of the E=MC2 track list.
8. "Make It Look Good"
Sock Hop Mimi reporting for duty. Stevie Wonder on harmonica. Done.
7. "Stay the Night"
Sponsored by M&Ms. "They come in a package you can carry wherever you go..."
5. "Thank God I Found You (Make It Last Remix)"
The way she make, me make, me make, me feel. And don't forget her iconic look from the video. Mariah has a way of crafting remixes that play against type from the single, creating two standout hits (see: "We Belong Together," "Heartbreaker," "Fantasy").
4. "The Roof"
This song complemented her personal story so powerfully during the Butterfly era that it remains one of her greatest achievements in conveying vulnerability in love.
3. "There for Me"
And now you know. Glitter-era B-side. This is the deepest of the deep cuts.
2. "Lead the Way"
Arguably her strongest vocal performance of the 2000s. This goes far beyond merely "underrated" in valuation as it was cannonballed by the biggest drama since 1901: The Great Glitter Saga. Also, note the longest recorded note of her career (21 seconds, kids). Shout-out to Ally McBeal for the song's feature (and a Mimi-on-the-stand cameo) in 2001.
1. "It's a Wrap"
You did not expect this. This is the most refreshingly creative song Mariah has written and performed in recent memory. It tops this list for a number of reasons, led primarily by its consequentially challenged promotional cycle. It did receive at least one televised performance. Mary J. Blige even recorded a duet with Mariah for the track, pegged for a special-edition re-release of Memoirs featuring duets that was ultimately scrapped (yes, the era that provided every news show the only available B-roll for the Mariah/Nicki American Idol saga of 2013).
The fact that this song could even bring together such modern-day R&B legends as Mary and Mimi is a feat worth commemorating. The duet did eventually appear on a bonus edition of 2014's Me. I Am Mariah..., but the five-year gap tempered the track's bite. Interestingly enough, "Wrap" encapsulates Mariah today, eight years after its release: a champagne-pouring diva who isn't afraid to put her foot down with her man, as she unleashes the fury of a scorned woman in the classiest way possible -- in perfect pitch.
Bonus: "Alone in Love"
For the nostalgia, one rarity, selected by the legend herself. Credit Mimi's recent bed-lounging-in-diamonds Facebook live Q&A moment.