From The Vault: Mariah Carey – ‘Butterfly’

Published: Sunday 23rd Sep 2018 by Joe

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!

Your thoughts?

Posted under:

Comments 18

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. G7Pat September 23, 2018

    Butterfly and velvet rope. 97 was sonic masterpieces

    • Lmfao_Hoe September 23, 2018

      OMG YESS both those albums helped many lives that were dealing with the lyrical contents of their albums at the time. Real music that spoke to their listeners on a whole new level.

      Butterfly, My All , The Roof, BreakDown ,Close My Eyes, Whenever You Call, and Outside

      Velvet Rope, You, Got Till Its Gone, Go Deep, What About, I Get Lonely, and Special

    • MUSICHEAD September 23, 2018


  2. Seth September 23, 2018

    Masterpiece! 97/98 was a great era for all divas, Butterfky, Velvet Rope, Ray of Light, My Love is Your Love, Believe…all diva masterpieces before the teen pop wave

    Mariah should have won multiple Grammys for this. If it was 2018 she would have

    • Lmfao_Hoe September 23, 2018

      Yes and Brandy’s Never Say Never. That whole album is the truth – Angel in Disguise, The Boy is Mine, Almost Don’t Count, Put That On Everything, Have You Ever, and Top of the World

    • JOHNVIDAL September 24, 2018

      Well you forgot to mention the biggest thing in 1997/98, which was Celine Dion´s moment and esecially the Titanic thing. The girl sold like 30 million copies of her own album and at the same time the soundtrack sold another 30 million copies. AT THE SAME TIME! Legendary status forever after such thing. Although yeah, I had forgotten Cher´s Believe was released around that time too. The good old days with unbelievable talent everywhere topping charts.

  3. Seth September 23, 2018

    Also the video for “The Roof” is the best and sexiest she’s ever made

    • MUSICHEAD September 23, 2018

      Yessss. I still remember the first time I saw The Roof video. Getting ready for school one morning and was blown away by how s*** and sultry she was.

  4. Gee September 23, 2018

    Her artistic breakthrough. This album is timeless for many reasons.

  5. DanYiel Iman September 23, 2018

    Wow this is still a cut!!

  6. Meteorite September 23, 2018

    I wonder why she stopped working with Walter Afanasieff? They had such an amazing chemistry.

    • @Kurtz September 23, 2018

      Apparently it was to do with him siding with tommy about the honey video
      I wish they would work together again they were the best team EVER!!!

      • Meteorite September 24, 2018

        I love Mariah however that girl can be so petty at times ?

    • MariahsHoney September 24, 2018

      Mariah explained that on #Petals “So many I considered
      Closest to me
      Turned on a dime and sold me
      Out dutifully
      Although that knife was chipping
      Away at me
      They turned their eyes away and
      Went home to sleep”
      According to some insiders he used to spy on her for Mottola, and sided with him during the divorce.
      He is a snake and f*** him.
      Mariah sure as hell doesn’t need him, but he does.
      I haven’t heard his name since then ??
      Although I’m still in my early 20s ??
      A FAD

      • Meteroite September 24, 2018

        Oh damn I didn’t know all that. I thought it was something as simple him talking to tabloid. Well if that’s the case, no, she doesn’t need him.

  7. MUSICHEAD September 23, 2018

    Butterfly is and will always be my favorite Mariah album. The songs and the voice was in peak form. But the visuals were stunning. The Roof, Breakdown and My All were artistic excellence. And the remixes were classics, especially the club mixes. The My All remixes alone deserved a Grammy. Lastly, Butterfly (the single) deserved the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal.

  8. JOHNVIDAL September 24, 2018

    Absolutely stunning. The beauty in so many songs of Butterfly is too much. It was so fresh at the time, well it keeps sounding fresh. And emotive, s*** (the sexiest her voice has sounded in songs like Honey), still crystal clear belts, the lyrics… Amazing.

  9. The Truth September 24, 2018

    It’s funny about icons like MC, because years before the Butterfly album was released, Mariah had already solidified herself as a legend in 1993, and the girl had not even turned 25 yet.

    She will always be the master of her craft. Butterfly is vocal R&B/pop perfection to me.

Recommended Posts