Mariah Carey - Daydream (20th Anniversary Album Review)

"It's just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby..."

Mariah Carey - Daydream (20th Anniversary Album Review)

"It's just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby..."

Saturday, 3rd of October marks the 20th anniversary of Mariah Carey's fourth studio album "Daydream" (excluding "Unplugged" and "Merry Christmas") and so I thought it only right to review this incredible album.

First off, I'd like to just point out that this is not only one of my favourite Mariah Carey albums (second only to "Butterfly"), but also one of my favourite album. Period. 

For me, "Daydream" is Carey's quote-unquote "transitional" album, both musically and vocally. The big sound is still there, but the raw, vocal weight of her self-titled debut and sophomore effort, "Emotions", has been replaced by a lighter, more fluttery sound. Her runs dominate, often eclipsing the lyrics, but they are incomparable. Her unique whistle tone is used sparingly, less as a show-piece, and more effectively in background harmonies such as the beautiful, Lamb-favourite "Underneath The Stars." 

Although dabbling in other genres on previous records, "Daydream" is the first, most obvious step in the direction of hip-hop. "Long Ago" and the B-Side "Slipping Away" are both moody cuts that tread deep into R&B terrain, whilst the now iconic Bad Boy Remix of "Fantasy" featuring the late Ol' Dirty Bastard (O.D.B.) remains a total game-changer.

The record-breaking, chart-topper, One Sweet Day is fuelled by the tight, gospel harmonies of Boyz II Men and the vocal climax between Carey and the boys is still breathtaking. The wham-bam double punch of "I Am Free" and "When I Saw You" are lifted to the heavens by Carey's soaring vocals, the same being said for the "Journey" cover, "Open Arms", with it's delicious A Capella intro. The Babyface-produced "Melt Away" remains an underrated classic, and when viewed with hindsight, album closer, "Looking In" is less of a vapid, "being a celebrity is hard" rant, but a genuine and heartbreaking plea for freedom. 

Finally, enough love cannot be given for my two personal faves: "Forever" and "Always Be My Baby". The former is a 50s-inspired, love ballad with a bridge that contains some of the most stellar runs put to record, and the latter is a 90's, summer anthem (...that guitar intro!!), radiating innocence and nostalgia.

I am in love with this album! Say what you will about Mariah Carey's current music, voice, personal life, behaviour, career... "Daydream" is something that nobody can take away and is a record that I will listen to from now, until... well, you know the rest.