Sweet 16! That Grape Juice’s Top Songs From… Mariah Carey’s ‘Emancipation Of Mimi’ [16th Anniversary]

Published: Wednesday 14th Apr 2021 by Sam

Contemporarily, commercial comebacks don’t come any bigger than Mariah Carey‘s seismic return to chart dominance with ‘The Emancipation of Mimi.’

A legendary body of work that is now celebrating its sweet 16th anniversary.

Prior to its release on April 12 2005, the diva’s career was on uncertain terrain.

The underperformance of 2001’s ‘Glitter’ (which has become a legend in and of itself) effectively KO’d the star’s colossal Virgin Records deal; and then 2002 follow-up ‘Charmbracelet’ (her first release for Island Def Jam) did not deliver commercially either — despite favorable reviews and her omnipresence on the media promo trail.

Fortunately for the songbird, the latter LP – her first to be shepherded by LA Reid – would prove to be the calm before the showstopping storm.

For, following the one-two punch thrown by ‘Emancipation’s preceding singles ‘It’s Like That’ and ‘We Belong Together,’ Carey would go on to light the match on one of the hottest streaks of her iconic career. Unquestionably, the album saw her blaze her way to the top of the Pop cultural landscape once again.

With ‘Mimi,’ the star earned her 16th and 17th #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, was certified 6x Platinum in the US (pure sales), and sold over 12 million copies of the album worldwide. For many, the era served as a millennial mirroring of Tina Turner’s’ ‘Private Dancer.’ And arguably such a comeback story and level of success that has yet to be seen since.

In salute of the set’s 16th anniversary, That Grape Juice has tallied our top tracks from ‘The Emancipation Of Mimi.’

Check out the list below…

7) Don’t Forget About Us

With this project, Mimi and her creative cohorts – Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, and Johnta Austin – cemented the “ballad that bops” format and this serves as one of their strongest efforts yet. It’s bested by one other song, but we’ll get to that later.

6) Get Your Number 

Versatility has long been one of Mariah’s strong points and she’s renowned for turning up the tempo with dazzling results. This funkified club jam remains a TGJ favorite and we wish it was given a more measured push. Internationally, it was rolled out as a double a-side with ‘Shake It Off,’ which of course slayed the charts. But, if you ask us, this was always more deserving.

5) Circles

Beyond the album’s titan-sized vocals, ‘Mimi’ really pushed Mariah’s pen-game. Case in point this engaging ballad about being love-lorn. The conviction in the vocal delivery and engrossing lyrics made for a magical match.

4) Mine Again

Ballads have Mariah’s sonic mainstay, but one of our favorite traits of the album is the diversity – even within its slower jams. With this track especially, the pairing of her potent voice with live instrumentation, such as trumpets, flutes, drums makes for audio bliss.

3) It’s Like That

As an era opener and album opener, this banger deserves all of its flowers. Even in being somewhat of a bait-and-switch (given the LP’s more mid-tempo flow), this set the tone on several levels. Plus, “them chickens is ash and I’m lotion” may be one of our most revered Mariah lyrics ever. Like, ever.

2) Fly Like A Bird

A Gospel explosion that, for us, has alternated as our top pick over the years. It’s remained one of Mariah’s too, per her own words and its residence on many of her setlists in the 16 years since it first took flight.

Lyrically and vocally it builds towards an almighty praise break that would have even the staunchest atheist jumping at the pulpit. A classic.

1) We Belong Together

If ‘Emancipation’ is the car, this iconic ballad is the song that drove it to the mountain top. Mastering the elusive art of being both lyrically and vocally astute while melodically universal too, this deservingly dominated with a stronghold like no other. And took its place as one of her career-defining songs, no small feat given the enormity of her smashes prior to that point.


Do You Agree With Our Picks?

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  1. Interac April 14, 2021

    Stay the night.

    • #TheTruth April 14, 2021

      ^^ My fav one, as well as Joy Ride.
      + I Feel It (unreleased song that should have made the final cut).

      The whole album was brillant.
      My favorite after Butterfly.

      • Abel April 14, 2021

        Joyride is my fave too

      • Shayla Queen 👑 April 14, 2021

        Of course Joyride is your fave your dirty b******

    • King of 👑 April 14, 2021

      One of my favorite Mariah Carey songs

  2. Shayla Queen 👑 April 14, 2021

    Yassssss 🔥 I’ve got most of her vinyl reissues now

    • Fancy BISH (FCK Sewer Queen, Maristench, Danzou The Fool & Clarksdump 🤣) 👊🏽💎💋 April 14, 2021


  3. Fancy BISH (FCK Sewer Queen, Maristench, Danzou The Fool & Clarksdump 🤣) 👊🏽💎💋 April 14, 2021

    Yaaas daaaahlings, yaaaaaas lol…loving this article 🤳🏽 And to add to It’s Like That…there is a gospel feel to the bridge area that I instantly recognized while listening to the song for the first time! “It’s my night….leaving it all behind…..” 🎶 It ties in perfectly with the emancipation theme and sets the stage for the powerful Fly Like A Bird, which is absolutely gospel 🙏🏽 Even We Belong Together has gospel undertones to it, in my opinion…who else am I gonna lean on when times get rough? 😇 Mariah was singing for the GODS chile lol 💯 Mine Again is another one with a gospel feel! Funny how TGJ’s top picks are the ones where Mimi took ya’ll to church daaahling lol ❤️

    • 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(💫Perfectly Splendid✨) April 14, 2021

      U don’t sing “ it’s like that“ in a church and that’s disrespectful💅🏿💅🏿 Calling black people ashy chicken???? Go ahead sing that song in wal mart Parking lot h one 🤳🏿🤳🏿

  4. IKNOWTHETRUTH April 14, 2021


  5. Diabetes UNBOTHERED April 14, 2021

    The Emancipation Of Mimi- Metcritic Score 64 (1St wk sales 400+K)

    LEMONADE- Metacritic score 92 (1St wk sales 600+K)

  6. 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(💫Perfectly Splendid✨) April 14, 2021

    Wow! Can’t believe it has been 16 years already💅🏿 That was one of her best eras. We belong together spent 14 weeks at the #1 spot. That’s very impressive 🤳🏿🤳🏿

  7. Moose’s Wig April 14, 2021


  8. 1988 April 14, 2021

    We Belong Together should of won Song Of The Year. It was nominated for both Song and Record Of The Year. I literally heard it yesterday on Spotify randomly and needless to say I didn’t turn it off… Lol It’s pure classic. ❤️

    I know Mariah will find her 20th+ Hot 💯 hit. Emancipation proves all she needs is the perfect melody and her voice sends songs straight up the charts. Happy Sweet 16th! I bet she is feeling the whole Sweet 16 vibe… Lol

  9. BadgyalD April 14, 2021

    One and only ft twista is defo up there for me

  10. Iwhyyyte n bllacc bitchezz April 14, 2021

    Put pink up. Cuz she is versus battle Mariah its was never Whitney Houston. They never gonna release at same time together Mary. Mariah pink. For album of year

  11. Fancy BISH (FCK Sewer Queen, Maristench, Danzou The Fool & Clarksdump 🤣) 👊🏽💎💋 April 14, 2021

    Emancipation was nominated for Album Of The Year at The Scammys too lol 🤣🤳🏽

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