That Grape Juice’s Top Underrated Mariah Carey Bops

Published: Friday 3rd May 2019 by Sam

This week saw Mariah Carey presented with the Icon honor at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards. 

And deservingly so.

Few careers can rival the colossal heights Mimi’s has ascended to.

With over 200 million (pure) records sold and 18 #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (which she reminds us “is difficult to get. Not everybody has that”), the legendary chanteuse has blazed a trail and etched her name in the history books. On many a page.

When examining her treasure chest of brilliance, classics such as ‘Hero’ and ‘We Belong Together’ – for many – shine brightest.

However, here at That Grape Juice, we see no time more opportune than the present to delve into some of the diva’s more obscure gems.

Join us below as we countdown TGJ’s Top Underrated Mariah Carey Bops

7) Migrate [2008]

Renown for belting ballads in ballgowns, Ms. Carey also has the unrivalled ability to deliver on a club jam with equal effectiveness.

Case in point this T-Pain assisted classic.

Lifted from ‘E=MC2,’ this Danja production screamed single and to-date has us wondering what the trajectory of the album could have been had this dropped as intended after chart-topper ‘Touch My Body.’ In its place, the syrupy ‘Bye Bye’ was carted out in a fairly contrived attempt at pulling in the Pop crowd and muffled her momentum.

Grating, as this slaps with the kind of ferocity that demands attention from the masses.

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6) Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme) [1999]

Empowerment anthems are firmly established as a cornerstone of Carey’s catalogue.

And while many make-up her list of 18 #1’s, a few have slipped under the radar – like ‘Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme).’

Housed on the ‘Rainbow’ album, the song arrived amidst stormy tides for the singer and her then-label.

But that couldn’t quell the rousing, soul-shaking quality embedded in the uplifting cut – which was co-penned by Diane Warren and produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

Sure, its accompanying video is a dipped in mozzarella, but would it be Mariah if it wasn’t…just a bit?

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5) Camouflage [2014]

While Carey’s 2014 effort ‘Me. I Am…Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse’ arrived during an odd window, the project remains one of the songbird’s most criminally underrated. Though, the difference in vocal clarity varied from song-to-song, some jams – a la ‘Camouflage’ – stood tall. Not just on the LP, but up against some of her most celebrated material.

A piano ballad that put Carey’s vocals at the forefront, it also – by proxy – reminded of her potent pen game as she wails about internal insecurity after a love gone wrong.

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4) For The Record [2008]

Carey’s colossal comeback with the ‘Emancipation Of Mimi’ was largely powered by  mega-smash ‘We Belong Together’ and re-cemented by ‘Don’t Forget About Us’ on the project’s Platinum Edition re-release. Both songs hit #1 and, in doing so, established a new musical blueprint for Mimi: the hand-clap ballad. Or, as we like to call ’em around here, “Ballads That Bop.”

Oft helmed by Jermaine Dupri and/or Bryan-Michael Cox, such sound and subject matter (see: lovelorn) would be terrain the trio would revisit often – with varying results. That said, ‘For The Record’ from ‘Emancipation’ follow-up ‘E=MC2’ remains one of their most compelling takes on the tried and true formula. Particularly as the violin added a fresh dimension production-wise. In trademark form, Carey’s climatic whistle served as both a seal and exclamation mark to the song’s lyrics.

The lack of live performance to date somewhat adds to the track’s legend.

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3) My Saving Grace [2002]

If Mariah’s emotional acceptance speech at the BBMAs resonated, this ‘Charmbracelet’ number is its musical equivalent.

The autobiographical anthem expresses thanks to the Most High and earthy supporters, while unpacking a narrative rooted in peaks and troughs, uncertain identity, and eventual triumph.

Recorded after a period of professional and personal hardships (see: ‘Glitter’ and public breakdown the year prior), this hit home because as clearly reflective as it is of Mariah’s predicament, it’s also universal in its relate-ability.

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2) The Roof [1997]

Label conflicts at the time clipped the commercial wings of this ‘Butterfly’ blazer.

But chart issues withstanding, this deeply personal number showcased how impactful the combination Mariah’s songwriting ability and the voice that mobilises it are.

The definition of immersive, the singer paints a vivid picture of a rooftop romance that lingers in the minds of the protagonists as much as it does in the minds of the listener.

Raw and resonating R&B, this would sit comfortably on Carey’s most recent LP ‘Caution’ without sounding dusty or dated. Much like her, it’s timeless.

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1) Melt Away [1995]

Mimi’s music has always boasted a certain soulfulness, but most Lambs would agree that it wasn’t until 1997’s ‘Butterfly’ that she jumped head-first into R&B as her key driver artistically.

Prior to then, such soulful sonics manifested in the form of momentary flashes.

One of the most enduring is ‘Melt Away.’ Housed on the solid block of beauty that is the ‘Daydream’ album.

From Carey’s stylised delivery, to the butter-smooth production and vocal stacking, the song – in three minutes and forty eight seconds – captures the nostalgia of the 90s R&B scene. And remains one of the premiere glimpses into the versatility that still lives within one of music’s most gifted Icons!

Do you agree with our picks?

* From our vantage point, ‘The Emancipation Of Mimi’ was swallowed whole by the masses and remains  “the” definitive comeback album and story for the millennial era. As such, it’s near impossible to deem any song on the project underrated. Particularly, as both singles and non-singles continue to garner love ’til this day.

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  1. pat May 3, 2019

    i’m so with Wendy on hating vison of love and hero. add babydoll to this list tho and im all in

    • Lboog May 3, 2019

      DEFINITELY BABYDOLL!!! That’s one of her TRUE BOPS!!

  2. CHINA May 3, 2019

    CHILD. you got it wrong.
    1. FLY LIKE A BIRD. you can’t get any better
    2. FADED – nick done her wrong and here is the story
    3. I WISH YOU WELL – get out and leave mariah’s version
    4. Underneath the Stars – beautiful
    5. All I Ever Wanted – her version of Whitney’s I have Nothing – her 2nd best vocal- ever.

    • BadgyalD May 3, 2019

      Now this is a selection

      • BabygirlD May 3, 2019

        You are a s*** from the 90’s

    • blanco May 3, 2019

      well done great picks

    • The Truth May 3, 2019

      You the real MVP … Sam, pay attention!
      Granted, a Mariah Carey list is ALWAYS going to be very hard to pick. She is a well-known, and yet criminally underrated gem in music history. What a legend she is!

    • Redhawk May 3, 2019

      What’s her best vocal in your opinion?

      • Kleeeeeee May 4, 2019

        Yes what do you think is her best vocal?
        All I ever wanted is amazing.

    • High Price May 3, 2019

      Wow… I have to listen to that “All I ever wanted”

      • Theelusive1 on IG May 4, 2019

        ALL I EVER WANTED or FLY LIKE A BIRD = best vocal

  3. truthtea May 3, 2019

    More Mariah underrated jams:

    All songs from Emancipation that were not released as singles! That entire album deserved a video anthology!

    • Blahzee May 3, 2019

      All facts

  4. Fancy BISH May 3, 2019

    1. Melt Away
    Absolutely! ❤️ If you listen closely, you’ll hear that it inspired It’s Gonna Be Me by *NSYNC.
    2. Outside
    Mariah can bring the goosebumps and the tears 😭 A painfully honest yet beautiful song.
    3. Butterfly 🦋
    This should have been another #1. A masterpiece of a song.
    4. Long Ago
    Another JD produced banger. Those vocals on the second bridge? Sublime 🥰
    5. Make It Happen
    Even though this was a hit, it’s still underrated as it needs to be played by everyone on the daily lol…a beautiful song about never getting in the way of God’s Plan for your life! 😇

    • Kleeeeeee May 4, 2019

      Yes to your list all my faves Long ago is
      Is so underrated and should have been a single. Her transitions are insane in that song

      Now add “There for me” to your list
      And that’s my list.
      https://youtu.be/027a8DFvoBs

      • Fancy BISH May 4, 2019

        Thank you for sharing! I never heard There For Me! And co-written by Diane Warren and co-produced by David Foster at that! 🤳🏽👍🏽🎶

  5. Seth May 3, 2019

    The Roof, Looking In, Stay the Night, Faded, Your Girl, Migrate, #Beautiful and Caution

  6. blanco May 3, 2019

    lead the way … best vocal ever
    there for me
    faded
    i still believe remix with krayzie bone and da brat
    my all so so def remix
    slipping away
    4real 4 real
    miss you with jadakiss
    thank god i found you ft nas and joe
    if we ft ja rule
    to many to type tbf

  7. OurP May 3, 2019

    Till The End Of Time & So Blessed
    THE END

  8. IKNOWTHETRUTH May 3, 2019

    SO WE JUST GONE ACT LIKE

    STAY THE NIGHT

    SIDE EFFECTS

    CAUTION

    GIVING ME LIFE

    FADED

    YDKWTD

    JOY RIDE

    CANDY BLING

    MAKE IT LOOK GOOD

    ARE NON EXISTENT

    LIKE…..THIS SITE BEEN MISSING STEPS LATELY.

  9. Muri May 3, 2019

    You’re definitely missing Breakdown which would me number one on my list but your list is quite impressive and you might just be a lamb with some of these selections

  10. Zion May 3, 2019

    Breakdown is so underrated

  11. ??? May 3, 2019

    lmaooooo gurl plz, 18 number ones is not that hard to get when youre banging the boss at your record label, who do you think jlo learned it from? lmfaooooooooo

    • Bye May 3, 2019

      oh so you think anybody can buy a number one ? So why everybody doesn’t have it ?! I can’t believe how dumb this comment is.

  12. Danny Bey May 3, 2019

    1. FOURTH OF JULY – My all time favorite Mariah song

    2. UNDERNEATH THE STARS

    3. MELT AWAY

    4. BABY DOLL

    5. YOURS

  13. boomkack123 May 3, 2019

    Her catalogue is untouchable.

  14. Lmfao_Hoe May 3, 2019

    Yesss Lambs these songs are so beautiful 😭 I literally just finished listening Slipping Away and Do You Think of Me both that definitely could’ve been on the Music Box if Tommy wasn’t such an ass smh

  15. Lmfao_Hoe May 3, 2019

    Omg we also can not forget Subtle Invitation 🎶 🙌🏾💯

    • blanco May 3, 2019

      yasssss preach 😍

    • Hqnn88 May 4, 2019

      I was WAITING for this to be listed!! And BLISS

  16. Ratedxxx May 3, 2019

    Her voice is so breathtaking…
    Shes already a legend
    She actually sold albums without social media….and she’s actually worth over 500millions…her money is actually real paper…not that bullcrap her peasants are always bragging about..

    Billionaires my axx

  17. Really, Doe?! May 3, 2019

    My pics are as follows:
    1. Money
    2. Stay The Night
    3. Caution
    4. Did I Do That
    5. Breakdown

  18. Meteorite May 3, 2019

    I just need Mariah to release an album of all her unreleased songs

  19. ihate whyte & bckk ppl they both nt sht May 3, 2019

    Recorded after a period of professional and personal hardships (see: ‘Glitter’ and public breakdown the year prior)

    Recorded after a period of professional and personal hardships (see: ‘Glitter’ and public breakdown the year prior),

    Recorded after a period of professional and personal hardships (see: ‘Glitter’ and public breakdown the year prior),

    • ihate whyte & bckk ppl they both nt sht May 3, 2019

      Recorded after a period of professional and personal hardships (see: ‘Glitter’ and public breakdown the year prior),

      This week saw The BEAUTIFUL Icon and LEGENDARY WHITNEY HOUSTON. presented with the Icon honor at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

  20. Music_Matters May 3, 2019

    1. The Roof
    2. Alone in Love
    3. Underneath the Stars
    4. Subtle Invitation
    5. Faded
    6. Candy Bling
    7. I wish you knew
    8. Outside
    9. The One
    10. Always be my baby REMIX XSCAPE

    • Music_Matters May 3, 2019

      11. More than just friends
      12. Breakdown
      13. Make it look good
      14. I’ve been thinking about you
      15. 8th grade

  21. Abel May 3, 2019

    1. Sent From Up Above
    2. Prisoner
    3. To Be Around You
    4. I’ve Been Thinking About You
    5. Long Ago
    6. Melt Away
    7. The Roof
    8. The One
    9. For The Record
    10. Standing O

  22. I hate b&w b itchezz . They both not sht May 3, 2019

    YUP AND ALL them songs could not stop THE WIND OF WHITNEY HOUSTON.SHE was still kicking Mariah fat a ss.. By billboard and, film

  23. Ropeburn May 3, 2019

    Her best song will always be “I Don’t Wanna Cry” as far as I’m concerned.

    • Fancy BISH May 3, 2019

      🔥 🔥 🔥 🎶

  24. Akdmsnen May 5, 2019

    While I love me some my saving grace and ctta, those aren’t bops, they’re ballads.
    Mariah’s TRUE underrated bops (not on that list) are:
    You’re So Cold
    Now That I Know
    Underneath the Stars
    Long Ago
    Fourth of July
    Babydoll
    Breakdown
    Subtle invitation
    I’m That Chick
    I’ll be lovin u long time
    Candy Bling
    You Don’t Know What to Do
    Caution
    A No No
    The Distance
    Giving Me Life
    Stay Long Love You

  25. Jr May 5, 2019

    Wow! Melt Away is one of my favorite underrated jams from Mariah.and I’m a lamb! So glad u guys agreed

  26. Julie May 27, 2019

    I agree with everything you said. Well done!!!!!

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