“Fantasy” arrived at a critical moment in human history. Heretofore, Mariah Carey was the pretty girl next door with a golden voice. Enter the O.D.B., Wu Tang clan member, multiple drug offender, and all-around batshit personally with a heart of gold.
No one knew it in 1995, but “Fantasy” would more or less serve as the the template for the rest of Mariah’s career arc. And the it was an absolute monster of a song. It echoed out from underneath rocks buried underneath other rocks. It was a force of nature even in the salad days of FM radio.
Why should you care? Well, for one it hits the absolute sweet spot of the venn diagram between Sweet, AOR-Mariah and Sexpot, R&B-Mariah, without any shade of the “Glitter”-era, Trainwreck-Mariah. It’s not the album cut, but make no mistake, the “Bad Boy Remix” is 90s canon.
Need more evidence? It’s an honest to goodness Puff Daddy REMIX! A pre-overexposed Puff Daddy remix, no less. The Tom Tom club never sounded so good.
Still not convinced? Take a deep breath and listen to Mariah’s vocals. This is what singing sounded like pre-autotune. Her voice is an unbelievable instrument and, at the time, the only person really in her class was Whitney Houston. Even on this relatively light track, she manages to bend and twist nuance out of the lyrics in a why that, in hindsight, feels like a revelation. Who else can sing like this today?
I deem Mariah a totally acceptable Best-Selling artist of the 90s.
EVERYBODY ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE!?
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