For the rest of the world, it’s just another Tuesday in spring. But for the technicolor Dream Lover, 90s pop music fan, today is a holiday. Get out your Casio cassette player from ’93 and slip on your baby-T. Find a butterfly to perch on your finger. Definitely frolic through a field.
Celebrity birthdays are mostly meh, but when I heard it was Miss Mimi’s 42nd, my heart skipped a smooth R&B beat. I’ve loved this lady since I was six years old, still able to screech out the high notes and young enough to not care about doing it in public. She’s the chart-topping-est woman out there, and if that doesn’t impress you, then maybe her ability to span five octaves with her vocal cords will. That’s not a flute you’re hearing, that’s a human voice. Be amazed.
If you ask me, there’s hardly a big-haired woman more deseriving of the diva title. And not to sound too gushy, but this woman’s music has been in the background of some of my most personally pivotal moments. Or at least, the background music playing in the car as I drive around, thinking about these pivotal moments. If I could have recorded every seat-dance and “shoo-be-doo” that happened in my best friend’s Chevy Chevelle, I’d have a full-length film by now. I’d also have the perfect amount texture of curly hair, and wear my overalls with one strap hanging down. Because who else told me about heartbreaker’s and honey’s, and then told me to find the hero within? This lady did. And so beautifully that I would have cried, had my ears not been weeping from audio ecstasy already.
Vintage Mariah [via]
“Now you wanna be free/so I’m letting you fly/’cause I know in my heart/our love will never die” – “Always Be My Baby”, Daydream
It was hopeful and maybe a little too campy to compare first loves to butterflies that we could set free. Fourth-grade science taught me that – no matter how comfy your mason jar home was – they’d probably never come back. Still, this lyric kept young hearts alive and in love even after summer camp had ended. And it gave me a major thing for tire swings.
“Boy, if I do/the things you want me to/the way I used to do/would you love me, baby/or leave me feeling used” – “Heartbreaker”, Rainbow
If I were writing a song about heartbreakers, it would be a lot uglier than this pretty parade of rainbows and melodic riffs. But at least the sweet package helped me swallow the bitterness of my first break-ups. Chased with a giant ice cream sundae, obviously.
“I’m in heaven/with my boyfriend/my laughing boyfriend” – “Fantasy”, Daydream
There’s no major lesson here, beyond the wonders of ethereal imaginatioin. Just go ahead and mark this down as the most hilarious lyric of the entire decade.
“Finally found a girl that you couldn’t impress/last man on the earth still couldn’t get this/you’re delusional” – “Obsessed”, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
Perfect cruising-in-the-Caddy-with-your-girlfriends material right here. What do you do when you’re so amazing, someone is stalking and sexting you?! Cut him off, girl. Or better yet, write a song, telling the world he’s got a Napolean complex. Plus he bathes in Windex!
“I have learned that beauty has to fluorish in the light/wild horses run unbridled or their spirit dies” – “Butterfly”, Butterfly
Here comes that butterfly metaphor again, but I could care less. Even at age nine, I recognized the poetry of Mimi’s lyrics. And this song – about letting love go – is solid enough to make me forgive the manic pathos that came a decade later, in the supremely belt-worthy “We Belong Together”. You don’t want to be anywhere near a forlorn lover in possession of this song.
“There’s a hero/if you look inside your heart/You don’t have to be afraid/of what you are” – “Hero”, Music Box
Cheesy, sure, but what’s a good pop ballad if not inspirationally driven and packed with power notes? Tip: blasting this song in your car’s stereo is the closest you’ll ever be to releasing the level of vocal drama that Mariah does. That’s probably not what she had in mind when she encouraged us to find our inner heroes, but it doesn’t hurt.
top image [via]