It’s a special occasion! Mimi’s emancipation! Well not really.. but it is her ANNIVERSARY! Yes, Mariah Carey’s anniversary (not a birthday, dahhhling!) is reason for us to celebrate and get festive. Today we want to give you guys 12 of the reasons why Queen Mariah is EVERYTHING to her #Lambily.
Many don’t understand the bond between Mariah and the Lambily, but we made this list to help make that crystal clear. On her anniversary we want to celebrate all that she means to us. This list, though, will probably put you in your feelings. If you’re looking for an upbeat, fun moment, we have a playlist for that.
The song that started it all is not only a master class in vocal skill; it is a deeply personal and inspirational song. It is the song that introduced the Lambs to Mariah Carey, and the song that inspired so many artists that followed, like Beyoncé, to become singers. But more on that here. It is for sure a go to on most Lamb’s lists as to why they love her.
“Prayed through the nights/ Felt so alone/ Suffered from alienation/ Carried the weight on my own.”
Mariah’s first gospel-tinged song was also her first specifically personal song; she sings about the hardships and adversity she faced growing up. For many members of the Lambily, “Make It Happen” has been a beacon of light through hard times.
“You’ll never find the answers/ If you throw your life away/ I used to feel the way you do/ Still I had to keep on going”
The cliché go to from Music Box would be “Hero,” but we want to shine a light on a less praised single: “Anytime You Need a Friend” (we won’t even get into the epic 11 minute dance remix slayage today). The song is like an allegory for Mariah’s relationship with her fans – anytime we need a friend, she is there for us via her music. And vice versa, we are always #HereForMimi.
“When the shadows are closing in/ And your spirit’s diminishing/ Just remember/ You’re not alone/ And love will be there/ To guide you home.”
The Lambily’s collective hearts broke in the summer of 2013 when Mariah performed “Looking In” with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Central Park following her shoulder injury and an impending divorce the public didn’t yet know about. Way back in 1995, “Looking In” was the first hint that not everything was so golden in the world of the 90s it-girl. The song’s theme of hiding underneath insecurities is a poignant one for many.
“She smiles through a thousand tears/ And harbors adolescent fears/ She dreams of all that she can never be/ She wades in insecurity/ And hides herself inside of me.”
It’s no secret that Mariah has a lot of gay fans, and “Outside” is one of the reasons why. The song is written from Mariah’s point of view of being multi-racial and never fitting in with one racial group. Of course, the song is a natural anthem for any fan who, like Mariah, comes from a multi-racial background. However, for her gay fans, it represents the struggle to feel comfortable in your own skin when your sexuality is labeled as simply wrong by so many.
“Early on you face/ The realization that you don’t have a space/ Where you fit in/ And recognize you were born to exist”
Many might call the song cliché, but “Can’t Take That Away” is perhaps Mariah’s most confident affirmation of self that she’s laid down on record. Following her divorce and label debacles of the late 90s, “Can’t Take That Away,” appropriately subtitled “Mariah’s Theme,” became her torch song. Its fan-led movement to get the song released as a single also showed just how strong Mimi’s bond is with her fans — because the Lambily succeeded.
“There’s an inner peace I own/ Something in my soul that they cannot possess/ So I won’t be afraid and the darkness will fade”
Written for the infamous Glitter film, “Reflections” is a song about “feeling lost when we don’t have the safety of a family,” in her own words. She gave the song eternal relevance by performing it on national television to benefit foster children and adoption services. “Reflections” is a perfect, well, reflection of how Mariah has been such a humanitarian throughout her career, specifically to benefit underprivileged children. Her quiet yet profound humanitarian efforts is one of many reasons the Lambily loves Mariah.
“A displaced little girl wept tears in silence/ And whispered wishes you’d materialize/ She pressed on night and day to keep on living/ And tried so many ways to keep her soul alive”
After everyone had counted Mariah out following the Glitter fiasco, no one believed she could “make it through the rain” … but she did. The song, while not one of her most popular, has become a quiet anthem within her catalog; a go to for anyone going through a rough patch in their life. You can feel the conviction in her delivery of the final climax and it will undoubtedly inspire you to make through your own storms, too.
“And if you keep falling down, don’t you dare give in/ You will arise safe and sound, so keep pressing on steadfastly/ And you’ll find what you need to prevail/Once you say/ I can make it through the rain…”
Mariah has a lot of songs about being heartbroken, and on The Emancipation of Mimi (one of her least specifically personal albums) this is about as personal as she gets. In fact, it is one of her catalogue most honest assessments of her experiences with love; but you might miss it because of how quickly it flies by. The second verse in particular can knock you clean off your feet with how damn real it is!
“I got to know he won’t betray my trust/ Just like every other motherfucker does/ Is this just an impossible dream?/Baby, too elusive to pursue/It’s been such a sad and windy road for me/Just searching for the truth.”
On “Side Effects,” Mariah reflects on the ways in which her marriage to Tommy Mottola affected her, sharing some pretty heavy information as to the reasons why it was so unbearable. Despite the abuses she sings about, she exemplifies strength in its final bridge, singing “I ain’t gon let it get the best of me.” The song is underscored by a hard-hitting hip-hop beat and, in its best form, features a verse from friend-and-collaborator Busta Rhymes. “Side Effects” is yet another song in which fans can put themselves in her shoes and know that if she can make it through, then they can too.
“Shining like a chandelier that decorated every room inside/ The private hell we built/ And I dealt with it/ Like a kid I wished I could fly away”
If there’s one thing Mariah loves, it’s the nostalgia, and her fans probably love it even more than she does. “Candy Bling” is one of those nostalgic tracks that has a classic hip-hop sample and references to nostalgic memories (a love from the past) and moments (Ring Pops, Spin the Bottle). Naturally, the Lambily ate it up.
“I’m the same Mimi, fame ain’t change me/ Butterfly flow like Muhammad Ali”
There’s no better way to make someone feel like they are close to you, than to share something deeply personal. On “Camouflage,” Mariah sheds light on the reasons why her marriage to Nick Cannon failed with some of the most heartbreakingly personal lyrics of her career. If the song doesn’t make you want to hug her then you are a cold hearted individual. Yet, despite the drama of it all, she’s still standing, and smiling happily. Likely, that is why so many are inspired by her: she gives us hope.
“I cry and cry as you laugh and laugh at the question/ But I need to know/ Weary sometimes when I try to discern our reality.”