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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Butterfly

Mariah Carey

1997

Buy At Rough Trade
Butterfly
Album Summary

Butterfly is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, released on September 16, 1997, by Columbia Records. The album contained both hip hop and urban adult contemporary sounds, as well as some softer and more contemporary melodies. Throughout the project, Carey worked with Walter Afanasieff, with whom she had written and produced most of the material from her previous albums. She also worked with many famed hip hop producers and rappers, such as Sean "Puffy" Combs, Q-Tip, Missy Elliott and the Trackmasters. With the latter acts producing most of the album, Butterfly deviated from the adult contemporary sound of Carey's previous albums. With Butterfly, Carey continued the transition that began with previous album, Daydream (1995), which pushed her further into the R&B and hip hop market and away from the pop background of her previous work. During her marriage to Tommy Mottola, Carey had little control over the creative and artistic steps she took on her albums, however, after their divorce midway through the album's conception, she was able to reflect her creative maturity and evolution in the album's writing and recording. Carey writes in the booklet of her twelfth studio album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009), that she considers Butterfly her magnum opus and a turning point in both her life and career. Five singles were released from the album; two worldwide commercial singles and three limited promotional singles. "Honey", the album's lead single, topped the charts in Canada and the United States, and reached the top-five in New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. The album's fifth and final single, "My All", became a top-ten hit throughout Europe and topped the charts in the United States. To promote the album, Carey embarked on the Butterfly World Tour, which visited Australia, Japan and Taiwan, with one show in the United States. Butterfly was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards. Butterfly received acclaim from music critics, many of whom embraced Carey's musical transition. Reviewers complimented the album for its mature sound and production, as well as Carey's musical direction. Though released during Carey's heavily publicized conflict with Sony Music, the album became an international commercial success, topping the albums charts in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, as well as the United States. It was certified five-times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States and received the Million Award in Japan. Globally, Butterfly has sold over ten million copies.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.47

Votes

11103

Genres

  • Pop

Reviews

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Fri Mar 19 2021
2

Not unpleasant, and I can see how R&B fans would like this, but it's not for me. Every track sounds exactly the same. Mariah doesn't really sing songs so much as just moan scales.

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Thu May 20 2021
3

World class voice (5) and sub par songs (2) IMO.

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Thu May 26 2022
3

She has such an incredible voice and such average songs

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Mon Mar 08 2021
1

Cars crashing, the sound of metal twisting, two pie tins rubbed together, nails across a blackboard- all these are more enjoyable noises.

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Fri May 14 2021
2

More whining and oooOOoOooOoos than words.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
1

It's pretty bad. It fits every cheesy 90s stereotype, even the guy in the background whispering *MC* and *Break it down*. The only redeeming factor is it gave me a laugh

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Thu May 20 2021
5

I don't think I realized how much 90s r&b was used in Disney movies credits but this really brought me back to childhood. It's definitely a genre I can't totally get into but none the less this album is a gem. Breakdown is my favorite. But how can we get Fourth of July to be an actual holiday classic?

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Fri Dec 08 2023
3

Music to a late-night cuddle.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
2

I know she has an amazing voice, but I find it jarring when she (or anyone) goes really high with loads of notes added in and she isn't even singing words - essentially just showing off. Also, pop r&b is probably the only genre I find virtually no enjoyment in. I don't care if millions of people love this album, objectivity can do one. 4.5/10

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Fri Sep 10 2021
2

Almost 1 hour of Mariah Carey? That is...at least, unexpected. A good album if you want to listen to the same song for 50 minutes. That clean and inoffensive hip-hop/pop/soul mix does not mean anything in the end, but I assume that there are some nice songs for some busy days when you won't turn off your mind and do not think or enjoy the music at all.

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Tue Sep 22 2020
1

Not really a huge fan of the whole diva thing (it sounds too much like when people sing the Star-Spangled Banner and they feel compelled to go "AND THE ROCKETS' RED GLAAAAAEEOUUOOAAIIIEEEEEUUUUUER" for some reason). Also not a huge rap guy. Best song: Close My Eyes, which was the only one I really liked and wouldn't be out of place on a Zero 7 album.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

Favorite tracks: Honey, Butterfly, My All, The Roof (Back in Time), Fourth Of July, Babydoll, Outside Least favorite tracks: The Beautiful Ones 9/10

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Thu Jan 21 2021
2

The Roof Shook Ones Part II sample 🔥, otherwise a very well produced album and Mariah Carey obviously has an incredible voice. Just not the type of music for me

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Wed Nov 17 2021
2

Mariah Carey, pop darling, is known for her silky smooth voice which has graced 17 albums thus far. This her 5th album. Do you want to know something I didn't know? Carey is credited as the PRODUCER for this album! He made these songs!! All this time I thought she was a pretty face with a voice being used by other producers in the game, but no! She's the songwriter, producer, did her own background vocals too. That's hilarious. Anyway, this album marks a turning point in her discography (from what I read). She pivoted from a more watered-down adult contemporary pop sound to a more hip-hop + R&B sound. This is evident in Honey, the album's opening track. Unfortunately, Honey is also the strongest track as the rest of the album falls back into slow jams that are just okay. It's a bit disappointing because it feels like I listened to the same song in 10 or 11 different ways, just not very engaging. Mariah Carey is a wonderful voice that is delegated to the same shtick over and over and over again. This is also a divorce album, so maybe it's warranted. Marvin Gaye did it better, in my opinion.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
1

Musical pollution. In the case of the people vs. Mariah Carey, this is evidence for the prosecution.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
5

6/3 Mariah's golden voice over flawlessly executed blends of R&B and Hip-Hop production. Standout Tracks: Honey, Butterfly, The Roof (Back In Time), Breakdown, Babydoll, Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise)

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Mon Apr 19 2021
5

amazing spectacular never the same totally unique

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Fri May 05 2023
5

Mimi's best album by fat, Emancipation might tip her crown but for now, I am a Butterfly stan. Lead single is one of the best songs about (sea-men_ ever and her vocals are incomparable Breakdown deserved to go diamond, I love the layering and the verses, Mariah's pen goes as hard as ever on this album and it's so cohesive and vital to her imperial era. Definitely a leg up from Daydream But surprisingly my favourite song is Fly Away reprise, David Morales popped off with the house remix, something for the gays and girls to dance to in the summertime I see. Happy Pride everyone. That's a real fucking legacy to leave. No notes. Not a single skip.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

There’s some really good tracks on this thing. Very mellow, the group vocals and harmonies are really nice, I think some songs feel maybe a tiny bit redundant. Babydoll is a standout. Feels so sexy and groovy. Honestly I had a great time with this lol

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

Loved the sample from Mobb deep's song (don't know the original sample)

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Thu Oct 29 2020
3

Spotify. Fave song “Honey”. Give me the singles.

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Thu Jan 04 2024
3

In my opinion Mariah Carey's Butterfly doesn't signify her apex, but her decline. Butterfly is the point that she starts falling victim to the 'Diva' personality that would consumer her. The problem is, most of the music on this album is not diva-esque. Why is on this list? I'm not sure when her earlier albums are more representative of her influence. Here she's just a harmonizer that works with the 'Make-It-Big' writers and producers of the era that stumbled upon a formula for hit records. She has the hit records, but the quality of her music is behind her at this point. 2.5/5.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
2

Great voice and respect to her success. Prefer the R&b vibes to the ballads. The R&B stuff is pretty nostalgic of some 90s teenage house party vibes. But on the whole, not for me.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
2

Bit of a gear change from Nick Drake to this one. Gotta say a couple of the poppier tracks are pretty groovy. But her vocalisation is not for me and the rest of the album is just a compilation of RnB ballads which gets boring. Slick production but often feels overproduced. 1 star felt too harsh but it's definitely not for me!

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Thu Jun 06 2024
2

I’m not going to lie to you, we’ve been through far too much for that. I made it through about 30 minutes of this record, started losing interest and then put on Guided By Voices. I hope you can forgive me.

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Tue Aug 29 2023
1

Fuck this stupid album. (Lora left me yesterday).

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

This is my wheelhouse! Loved hearing some R&B; takes me right back to my high school days.

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Fri Jun 24 2022
5

I was under the impression that I did not particularly care for Mariah Carey's music. I was so wrong! I really dig this album. Outstanding.

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Sun Oct 02 2022
5

absolute perfection from start to finish.

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Wed Feb 01 2023
5

Mariah Carey Butterfly Honey is a classic. She is really an incredible singer. I love all the super slick production on the 90’s r&b ballads. Well done album the whole way through- I liked the butterfly reprise too. The prince cover is sounds so drastically different from the rest of the album but it works.

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Wed Feb 08 2023
5

Not my usual music, and I find the artist to be unrelatable in interviews I've seen, but this was quite good. Pretty remarkable album, really.

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Mon May 22 2023
5

The best Mariah album hands down

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Thu Nov 09 2023
5

That girl can SING - on top of just loving her notes, I Love the beats, and reminding me of the time.... brings me back. I Love this album.

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Mon Nov 20 2023
5

Another place, another time - to be honest too tied up with work and business to really get the most out of Mariah’s beautiful whistling voice but undoubtedly she is God

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Thu Mar 28 2024
5

Incredible voice and lyrics…Always!!

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Sun May 19 2024
5

solo llevo dos canciones, y sinceramente m tatuaria el album. Chiquito espectaculo, una cosa d locos my all es legal? sin palabras, los tiempos, el ritmo, como juega con los tonos de la voz, la letra... mis bendiciones fouth of july? breakdown? cada cancion m da un microinfarto, que locura estoy blessed

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Thu May 13 2021
4

I forgot that she's much more than "All I Want for Christmas."

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

I liked it more then I expected.

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Thu May 20 2021
4

This is earlier Mariah than I was familiar with growing up, but it's great! Her voice is incredible, and I think it does a great job blurring the lines of pop, R&B, and hip-hop. Felt good throughout. Feels like a 3.5 but I'll round up because I found myself grooving!

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Tue Mar 23 2021
4

Cet album avait marqué mon entrée dans le générateur. J'étais alors rempli d'insouciance, pensant que celui-ci allait m'ouvrir l'esprit. Trois ans plus tard, la seule chose que j'ai réussi à ouvrir est le crâne de Robert après l'avoir rué de coups.

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Mon Sep 06 2021
4

This album was good. Silky smooth R&B. However, I didn't completely enjoy all of the songs. 4/5 stars.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
4

Solid mix of tunes. A little slow for my liking, but it's cool to see the variety of music genres she brings into her music

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Mon Mar 07 2022
4

Is good, not a big fan of the constant yodeling.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
4

Big. Time. Pop. Record. When it was popular I was oh, so, too, cool. I was a dummy then. But I was also distracted by music like Radiohead's "OK Computer," which I think is a worthwhile endeavor. So, I'm giving this record a 4/5 for the impact it had on the people I know who loved it (almost every girl in my life between the ages of 2-20).

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Mon May 09 2022
4

Really good album, great beats, harmonies and melodies. Mariah’s singing is still amazing all these years later

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Fri May 13 2022
4

syrupy sweet and very "discount sexy" -- breathy hooks and moans, Donna Summer did it better. But Puffy does know what he's doing, it's a solid album.

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Thu May 19 2022
4

overplayed but catchy haha. +1 star because its easy to listen to at work.

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Fri Jun 10 2022
4

I decently enjoyed it. Very smooth r&b with some hip hop vibes thrown in. Mariah’s voice is perfection but on a few songs she only sings in a sort of whisper which I don’t find as great. Quite a few really good songs on here though. 7/10

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

I mean, it's Mariah Carey so it's gonna be good. But that said, this album was worth a listen but not the legendary status where I'd consider it essential for this list. Fave track: "Butterfly", the title track. But this record is no Daydream. Her vocals really "Carey" (har har har) this record. Because even though she has these great whistle tones and amazing technique, and that lives up to the hype, the melodies are meh and the production is just okay. This album reads as much more dated to me than Daydream and the Emancipation of Mimi. And there's the fact that the artist is a serial sexual harasser (funny, isn't it, how the culture dismissed that one during #MeToo) and overalls seems like a shitty person. If I knew her in real life then I'd say I don't know her. Anyway, I digress. Normally this album would be 3 stars but I'm bumping it up one on the strength of the vocals alone.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
4

Nice enough, liked Beautiful Ones.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

I wasn't sure what to think about this album at first. This is after the era where I was aware of what Mariah Carey was doing and doesn't contain any of the songs I think of when her name is mentioned. However, at this point I'm three songs deep in the album and I recognize all of them. Moreover, each song has its own thing going on. Some sound more like her earlier work, some presage some of the movements in pop music that would happen in the early 2000s. The hip-hop tracks provide a good balance to the more straightforward R&B tracks. Her vocals are more subdued than a lot of the vocal acrobatics of her earlier work, though the angelic power of her voice is still evident in every track. I do feel like the album bogs down a bit as it goes, but overall it's still a 4/5

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Sun Oct 16 2022
4

Prachtige stem , mooie songs!

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Sun Oct 30 2022
4

Fantastische zangeres, en iets meer R&B dan ik verwachtte. Je merkt waar Beyoncé de mosterd haalde

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Fri Dec 30 2022
4

I'm not a Mariah Carey fan by any means, but this was a pleasant album to have in the background. There's no question that she has talent and it shows on this album.

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Wed Feb 01 2023
4

God, I love her voice. This is not my favorite album of hers. (Music Box is the best followed by Mariah Carey for anyone who is asking. My All is a banger though which is why it deserves a 4 from me. She really can (could?) sing.

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Thu Feb 16 2023
4

first listen pretty good r&b

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Fri Mar 17 2023
4

me re gusto! fue como escuchar a kali uchis hace 20 años. lo voy a volver a poner, sobretodo para la mañana

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Fri Mar 17 2023
4

SPELLLING! spellling, mi artista favorita de los ultimos años, tiene cosas de mariah carey, la voz, la superposicion de las voces, las melodias, las onomatopeyas "uuuuuuuooooooo" en las canciones, sin el sentimiento y los instrumentos de gospel que tanto identifican a spellling, especialmente turning wheel. Me gustó mucho. También (medio stretch) siento alguuuuuuunas cosas de los bee gees que tambien amo mucho, en las canciones.

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Thu Mar 30 2023
4

I think it's impressive how Mariah can adapt to basically any track. On another singer's record, the gamut of gospel, R&B, hip-hop, and pop might sound strange, but for the most part Mariah fits perfectly in. A few duds here, but otherwise solid album. Favorite tracks: "My All", "The Roof", "Breakdown"

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

Not my music but generally speaking a great commercial album

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Thu May 11 2023
4

vuelve a quedar demostrado que el pop lo es todo para mi. 8/10

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Thu May 25 2023
4

It doesn’t have quite the high moments as Daydream (Fantasy, Always Be My Baby, One Sweet Day), but it clearly builds on and experiments with the success of those hip-hop/soul-influenced-pop formulas. Honey is a smooth album all the way through. Standout: Fly Away was a fun moment. 4/5.

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Fri May 26 2023
4

Classic tracks by a major artist. Not really my jam though.

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Fri Jul 21 2023
4

Disclaimer: I am not an R&B fan, never listened to this album before. This album feels really representative of the time it came out. I was pretty young, but I seem to remember a lot of music on the pop stations around that time having this style of late '90s R&B. Now, again, I'm no expert on R&B, so I can't really say whether Mariah started the wave or just rode it, but this does scratch a certain nostalgic itch for me.

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Mon Sep 04 2023
4

A fun one with a lot of good see cuts I hadn’t heard! A classic for a reason.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
4

Really good. Could use a few more memorable melodies, but overall good.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
4

This is a classic R&B album of the late 90s, one of the best. Rich production, that utilizes some of the typical bells and whistles of the era, but always keeps Mariah at the center, where she should be. And my, doesn't Mariah sound like an angel? Fave Songs: Butterfly, The Roof, Breakdown, My All, Honey, Fourth of July

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

Butterfly is the sixth album by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey. It's an R&B/hip hop album that is considered a turning point in Carey's career, because she moved away from traditional pop to more urban R&B music. This album is certified quintuple platinum in the US and received widespread critical acclaim. Although this Carey album has a more "urban" feel, she is still able to control her voice to soften it for some songs. She can both belt out loud high's, while charming listeners with airy whispers. This was a big part that made this album amazing. It's a great Mariah Carey album and probably my favorite I've listened to so far.

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Mon Dec 11 2023
4

vildt god imo 🤷 gode produktioner, sindssyg stemme, definitiv lyd for æraen

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Fri Dec 15 2023
4

it's great to listen to someone that can sing really well

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Tue Dec 19 2023
4

Listened Before? Y This has long been one of my 'guilty pleasure' albums. Her voice was peaking on this one, and she avoided a lot of the high-pitched gimmick from her early work. It's appropriate that the first song is "Honey" because that's exactly what her voice evokes. Simply a great pop record. Added to Library? Y Songs added to playlist: Honey, Breakdown

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Wed Dec 20 2023
4

Let me start by saying Mariah has one of the most incredible voices of all time. She shows it off on some of the softer tracks or ballads like Butterfly, My All, Close My Eyes, Whenever You Call (those are my favorites). She absolutely deserves at least one album on the 1,001 list but this is a strange pick for me. Yes, it solidifies her metamorphosis into a new genre. But she started that transition on the previous album Daydream. And if we want to reward her reinventing herself, why not the even more surprising album The Emancipation of Mimi, which was her comeback 8 years later. Or just take her self-titled debut, when she and that voice came out of nowhere. I don't know, this album just doesn't feel like it capitalizes on Mariah's talents like it should even if her songwriting improved (per the critics). It feels a bit like the hip hop is forced in on songs like Honey or Breakdown rather than nicely blending. There just seemed to be a bit more harmony on some of her previous album collaborations (e.g., with Boyz II Men) than here with overlays of P Diddy or Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, though the latter collaboration is better. And The Roof and Babydoll are also fairly hip hop, but sound better to me because they focus more on Mariah with subtle contributions from backup female singers. I don't think this album is quite a 4 but it's at least a 3.5. And I'm giving her a bump for that voice.

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Tue Jan 16 2024
4

Well. Mariah is full voiced and absolutely bringing it here. Her tone is angelic and the songs themselves are catchy and mostly upbeat. The love ballads feel full and sincere and the features work to juxtapose Mariah superbly.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
4

Great voice. Not my favorite style of music.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
4

Pretty good as an album, her voice is lovely and the songs had decent variation. Would potentially listen again.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
4

Not my favorite, but still great!

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Thu Feb 01 2024
4

90's classic R&b. Her voice is still one of the best.

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Sun Feb 04 2024
4

A time capsule. 90s r&b. Mariah Carey elevates this above the usual 90s r&b noise. A truly stunning voice. 8/10

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Thu Feb 15 2024
4

Crazy voice we all know it. I can truly only listen to so many runs in one sitting but good for her. Would listen intently if soemone put it on.

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Wed Feb 28 2024
4

No hay voz como la suya. Podría escucharla para siempre.

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Wed Mar 13 2024
4

Mariah Carey - Butterfly I listened to the first two albums from Mariah, but never really took the time to listen to the the albums that came after. This album has the same feel as those earlier albums, but with a P. Diddy flare. Lots of guest artists from the day as well. I feel like there are better representations for Mariah over this album, but it's still a good album. 4/5

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Sat Mar 16 2024
4

7/10 not really for me but I can still appreciate it :)

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Wed Apr 17 2024
4

Now we're talking! Late 90s diva pop.

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