Our Ten Best- Episode 40: Mariah Carey B-Side Tracks
Mariah Carey has been a #1 top charter for the last two decades. She is indisputably the best-selling female recording artist of all time. Mariah’s career includes a wide ranged catalogue of albums such as studio albums, compilation albums (such as The Remixes, The Ballads, The #1s), and even a Greatest Hits Album. No singer of her calibre is complete without a Christmas CD, and of course, she has one of those too. What she does not have, and should in my opinion, is a release of “B-Side” and Rare tracks.
For those of us brought up in the mp3 generation, a “B-Side” was what one would call the other song in a released radio single found on a cassette, or record. Basically, you turned the tape or album over to reveal a special song that was only found on the single, not the studio album. Those of us with CDs often had a second track with our purchase of the radio hit.
These are some of Mariah’s best ‘B’s which totally qualify as ‘A’s…Most can be found on i-tunes, and even on Amazon or Ebay. Trust me; they are well worth the search.
10. “Everything Fades Away” : This track is a love ballad, which is lyrically amazing, yet it does not show off Carey’s 5-octave vocal skill. There is an R&B feel to this song, which includes a lot of her back up vocalists doing plenty of work as opposed to most tracks. There is a whole section where they are singing most of the time, and often feels she takes the back burner. Nonetheless, it is still a great song, and does have a powerful finish.
9. “Do You Think Of Me?”: This is ballad with a rather poetic touch to it. There is repetition of the innocent romantic question: ‘When the nights are long and cold, Do you think of me?-Am I the one you are dreaming of? Do you think of me?” It is sweet, its Carey at 23 years of age still channeling her inner schoolgirl, giving the song what feels like the longing for a high school crush. Again, another song that does not shine with the 5 octave belting, but still charming enough to top the list.
8. “Merry Christmas”: The re-release of this album in 2005 was a dual disc which featured not only Carey’s wintry seasoned music videos, but also the B -Side accapella version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” The track had not seen the light of day since 1994, yet it should have been featured on the album from the start. It has to be said: She can never go wrong singing accapella. This song was on point, on key, and very difficult to master sans musical instruments. With her background singers singing with a gospel-inspired sound, this is certainly a song that allows Carey to display her vocal best. The song is short, yet sweet and definitely gets you in the Christmas Spirit.
7. “Slipping Away”: It has a melody you can’t shake, and again, gives Carey a chance to sing about longing, and how a relationship is well, ‘Slipping Away’. It’s an upbeat ballad, without her high note bird call, but it’s still quite catchy and could have easily been a successful mainstream track.
6. Technically this next song is not a B-track, yet is a quite a find. Carey collaborated with Wal-Mart in 2000 to put out an exclusive limited edition 5 song CD entitled “Valentines.” I came across this by luck browsing the section that year for singles to add to my own collection, and was certainly not disappointed. The CD includes “Vision of Love”, “My All”, “Underneath The Stars”, and “Breakdown” (the first two went #1). The final track is Carey’s version of “Do You Know Where Your Going To? (Theme form Mahogany)”. This song is one of her best remakes. The ballad is beautiful, making you think of personal philosophy (“Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to?”) and finishes with a high note that will give you chills. It is highly recommended song.
5. “Cant take that Away (Mariah’s Theme).” While it did not go to #1, the single was a success, and included a B-track (on some versions only for reasons unknown), her live rendition of “Lovehangover/Heartbreaker” from VH1’s Diva’s 2000 (which on a side note was never released on DVD rumored to be due to Diana Ross not being happy with her own performance). It is fun track composed of two great R&B pop songs. As a medley, this live track has everything from a slow ballad start, to an upbeat center that makes you dance, to a high note finish where you hear the crowd begging for more. Anyone who has seen her can tell you that she is incredible live. This is proof.
4. Once again, Carey cannot go wrong with accapella tracks. “My All/ Dont Leave” is an accapella remix which was released on the “My All” single and is also featured on Carey’s remix album. Again it is a medley composed of two songs very nicely sung by Carey and her background vocalists and will have you tapping to the rhythm and beat of this track. She belts out her vocals without strain, and does not bore you with an expected high note cameo appearance. By having the right background track, I see no reason why this R&B piece would not have been a successful club song.
3. “Secret Love” was only released in Japan where Carey is considered a queen.This song however, can also be found on a US Limited Edition “Shake it Off” single from 2005. It is a great dance track that has Swizz Beatz written all over it. It’s catchy and fun and will have you singing all day.
2. The 2010 Winter Olympics had many great artists backing it up. Carey’s rare single “100%” is an inspirational song that certainly fits the mood of the games “I’m a believer, not just a dreamer, I’m giving everything I got…Cause I’m walking outta here a champion either way babe”. It has a gospel/ R&B sound and reminds me of Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” due to its build up to a victorious powerhouse ending.
1. Why wasn’t this song a #1 released hit? If I ever find Mariah this is the first question I must ask. “There For Me” is one of Carey’s most powerful and compelling ballads to date. Carey, and writers Diane Warren and David Foster wrote this rare gem. Released in 2001 as a B-Side to “Never Too Far Away,” a “Glitter” soundtrack song does not get the credit it deserves because it has been associated with the ill-fated film. “There For Me” is reminiscent of ’90s Carey and is a fan favorite. It is a ballad that is great for a father-daughter dance (I used it for my Sweet 16), a must have for any collection, and I probably could not do justice describing. Yes, it is that Great.