Today we celebrate Mariah Carey’s classic album ‘Butterfly’, which turned 21 this month.
Its title track is this week’s From The Vault pick.
They say “if you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours.“
Said sentiment was echoed in the beautiful ballad, one of the last written and produced by Carey alongside Walter Afanasieff.
Due to a technicality at the time, the song wasn’t eligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100; still it reached the sixteenth position on the Hot 100 Airplay count.
It wasn’t properly released in Europe, so never reached the heights of Mimi’s previous and subsequent successes. Still, it remains one of the songbird’s most celebrated tracks by her fans – especially given that butterfly has ever been her spirit animal.
Carey has stated that the lyrics to the song are the words she wished her former husband, Tommy Mottola, would have said to her towards the end of their relationship.
In bringing the powerful anthem to life, Carey enlisted director Daniel Pearl –who delivered a stunning visual.
The star is seen somewhat captive in a gloomy house, finally breaking out at the track’s climax. Soon enough, speculation started about whether the video served as symbolism about her deteriorating marriage to Mottola.
[Fun Fact: Part of the clip was based on Tennessee Williams’ book ‘Baby Doll,’ which is also the name of a song on the ‘Butterfly’ LP.]
Over two decades later, Carey’s sixth effort has aged like a fine wine (tasting better with time); it’s a project she candidly embraces as her favorite body of work ’til this day — and understandably so!
From its perfect dosage of Urban and Pop, to lyrical content that delved into love, heartbreak, sex, bi-racial discrimination and liberation; it’s a timeless piece of art which is a perfect testament to what “Mariah Carey” has brought to the world during her illustrious career.
Thank you for the music, MC!