Last week, Mariah received her long-overdue Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Why does she deserve it? Oh, maybe because she wrote every song she's released (minus the covers), has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, holds the title for most weeks at #1 (16) and has had 18 #1 singles (only the Beatles have more at 20). I could go on, but this post is already going to be super long so I won't.
What better way to show appreciation for 25 years worth of artistic output than to watch every music video Mariah has produced (minus remixes and feature spots on other people's songs because I have to eventually get back to my life)?
It took me two weeks, but I made it. Some takeaways: Mariah loves small animals, Christmas, singing in the rain, journaling, picking up children, getting revenge, playing evil brunettes, gesturing with her fingers, waving at the camera, and crying single tears for dramatic purposes.
The following is a ranking from worst to best, based on a not-so-scientific formula that factors in storyline, aesthetic and whether the video inspires me to throw up praise hands or not. This is not a judgment on the songs themselves so save your tweets.
Note: Some computers just couldn't handle all this Mariah so look for page numbers at the bottom of the post to navigate through Mariah's career.
So without further ado:
"Endless Love" feat. Luther Vandross (1994)
You know it's bad when you start longing for Michael Bolton.
Highlight: Luther Vandross' I'm-either-going-to-murder-or-have-sex-with-you eyes:
"Angels Cry" (2010)
Basically the same thing as the Luther Vandross video, but with a drenched Mariah and a newborn puppy!
Highlight: Is it even a question?
Concert videos are so lazy. Next.
Highlight: This champagne walk and talk is what Ariana Grande's entire career is based on.
Mariah seethes on a beach. That's kind of it.
Highlight: She's not afraid to go there:
"I Want to Know What Love Is" (2009)
Mariah performs in a CGI baseball field, while super creepy extras look on.
Highlight: This child of the corn:
"Hero" and "Without You" (1993-4)
What did I just say about concert videos? These songs deserve so much more than this. Did her record label run out of money in 1993 or something? It's cute to see some of the awestruck people in the audience, but zzzzz.
Highlight: This fan's defeated reach for Mariah, perfectly timed to "No one reaches out a hand for you to hold:"
"Can't Let Go" (1991)
This music video begins with hands opening to reveal a white rose. And that's the most exciting thing that happens (other than the video ending). Next time you're suffering from insomnia, use this as a sleep aid.
Highlight: Woomp, there it is:
"Almost Home" (2013)
This is essentially the same video as "Can't Let Go," 22 years later. Only, this time, there's footage from a James Franco movie no one saw.
Highlight: Her hand choreography is unparalleled:
"Thank God I Found You" (1999)
If you must praise the lord in a song, at least do it with the Backstreet Boys.
Highlight: From now on, I'm only talking on the phone while reclining on the hood of a car:
"Love Takes Time" (1990)
"I don't want to be here," Mariah sings listlessly on a beach. And we don't want to be here watching this uninspired video. You know it's bad when the highlights are a phone that's swinging off the hook and a silver locket being washed away by a bored wave.
Highlight: Pay phone drama! No word on whether it was outside of a Best Buy or not:
"Triumphant (Get 'Em)" (2012)
Mariah lets Rick Ross and Meek Mill take over her own video, relegating her to a role as the girl who holds up signs at a boxing match. Reclaim your agency, Mariah!
Highlight: I don't think Mariah knows where she is:
"O Holy Night" (2001)
This music video is a shout out to all the times you were bored in church as a child.
Highlight: I wonder if dogs love or hate Mariah's whistle:
"I Don't Wanna Cry" (1991)
Whoever directed this video puts a sepia filter on all his/her Instagrams. A majority of this video involves a distraught Mariah looking broken as she sits next to empty picture frames and random candles, hats and lamps. She really doesn't want to cry...but she does. And her performance forecasts the acting prowess we later see from her in Precious.
Highlight: The two tears that made it out of Mariah's tear ducts, despite all the effort to keep them imprisoned. #FreeMariahsTears!
"Bye Bye" (2008)
Half memorial, half look-y'all-I'm-dating-Nick-Cannon!
Highlight: Only Mariah could put a random bikini photoshoot in a music video about the dearly departed and get away with it:
"Can't Take That Away" (2001)
Mariah watches fan videos about overcoming adversity and then freaks out in the rain.
Highlight: From 100 to 0 in 1 second. Such range!
"Love Story" (2009)
This takes self-indulgent to a new level. Directed by and starring Mariah's ex Nick Cannon, this video begins with "This is the love story of Nick and Mariah" and ends with "Happy anniversary, Nick and Mariah." You can imagine everything in between...except for the cute Hello Kitty band-aid Mariah has on. Bet you didn't see that coming.
Highlight: The way Mariah hams it up, no matter the circumstance:
"Anytime You Need A Friend" (1994)
This music video settles the did-her-label-run-out-of-money-in-1993 question. They sure did. Mariah sings on a rooftop and next to a stairwell. The end. Step it up, people!
Highlight: I think Mariah might have founded "Yaaasss!"
"Right to Dream" (2008)
Mariah finally sticks to her New Years' resolution to journal more. Also, evades her abusive husband and the law. Nbd.
Highlight: This police-evading Thelma and Louise maneuver:
"Oh, Santa!" (2010)
I love Christmas music. I don't love this.
Highlight: Did you know that Mariah's high notes don't work if she doesn't use her fingers?
"One Sweet Day" (1995)
This song is so legendary. It spent 16 weeks (!!!) atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is the longest running number one song on the chart to this day. It's too bad that the most exciting thing that happens in the video is a freight elevator ride.
Highlight: Alerting PETA:
"Bringin' on the Heartbreak" (2003)
Mariah dresses up like Stevie Nicks and hangs out in a phone booth before getting in a helicopter and performing with Carmen Electra's ex.
Highlight: Mariah drives her own limo...in pretty serious wedges to boot:
"When Christmas Comes" (2011)
John Legend comes over. Mariah enjoys herself and sometimes has curly hair.
Highlight: The dude who showed up in a Snoopy costume:
"Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem, Fireworks Version)" (2010)
This is so low budget, it's kind of glorious. All Mariah does is play with her hair and wave cutely in front of underwhelming green screen fireworks. But somehow she pulls it off.
Highlight: How can you not love her?
"Vision of Love" (1990)
Mariah sings to an ominous tree swing from an empty room reminiscent of Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me" music video (minus the dramatic curtains and dead motorcycling boyfriend, plus the Windows cloud screensaver).
Highlight: This random fluffy cat:
"My All" (1998)
Mariah falls in love with a shirtless lighthouse keeper and sings about him, while relaxing in a large seashell. No, really.
Highlight: When Mariah tries to prove that there was enough room on that door for both Rose and Jack:
"Get Your Number" (2005)
You remember Roger from Sister Sister? He was always bugging Tia and Tamera, coming over uninvited? Jermaine Dupri is the Roger of Mariah videos. Always around when you need him not to be. Go away, Roger/Jermaine!
Highlight: This lady got her number bedazzled on her nails. And Mariah's high notes just get wackier and wackier as the years go by:
"I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time" (2008)
Mariah hangs out in her bikini A LOT.
Highlight: And she swims with a dolphin!!!
"Don't Stop (Funkin' 4 Jamaica)" (2001)
Mariah and the most annoying rapper around head to the swamps of New Orleans for a rager.
Highlight: Mariah's ego got so big it splintered off into triplet form:
"You're Mine (Eternal)" (2014)
Mariah is a topless sea nymph. Said lack of top prevents her from doing her favorite finger gestures while singing high notes. This makes sea nymph Mariah sad.
Highlight: But then she figures it out!
Mariah's sleeping pills aren't working so she takes a bubble bath, gets drunk, eats junk food and then collapses on the couch. Just another Tuesday at Mariah's house!
Highlight: Mmm, Fruity Pebbles:
Jermaine Dupri continues to bug.
Highlight: This nhft kitty:
This song is fire. This video is, um, not. Mariah writhes on a motorcycle and dances in a barn for Miguel. He even instructs her to spin in circles. He should be dancing for her, like the boys in Mariah's greatest early videos (foreshadowing/spoilers!).
Highlight: Mariah goes to lick Miguel's ear, but then thinks better of it:
"Don't Forget About Us" (2005)
Mariah tries to reenact that pool scene from Showgirls.
Highlight: The last place you'd expect to find Mariah Carey is on a soccer field...inside a goal, yet there she is:
"I Stay In Love" (2008)
Mariah is a hot showgirl whose boyfriend cheats on her. So she goes on a road trip, blows up her (or maybe his?) car, hitchhikes and I guess everything ends up working out?
Highlight: No better Mariah than a fed-up Mariah:
"Miss You Most (at Christmas Time)" (1994)
Most of this video feels like the part of Home Alone when Kevin is sad that he has no one but a tarantula and starts missing his mom and get scared of the elderly and turns to shoplifting toothbrushes. Mariah is also missing someone. The snow makes her think of that person. But then suddenly the tone shifts and it's spring and everything is awesome! Mariah is on a swing and riding horses through water and stuff. But then it's back to moping because time exists and winter comes back. Move somewhere warmer, Mariah! You should also ask your doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder or at least buy a bright light therapy lamp.
Highlight: Happiness is most easily communicated through horseback riding:
Mariah uses a dating app and acts weird in her closet.
Highlight: This selfie:
"The Roof" (1998)
Another reason the drought sucks: rain leads to really hot hookups.
Highlight: Get it, Mariah!
"Through the Rain" (2002)
Okay, we get it, Mariah. You love singing in the rain.
Highlight: This Michael Jackson "Black or White"-esque face morph almost made me cry. Maybe I've been watching too many Mariah videos?
"Say Somethin'" (2006)
Mariah hangs out with a baby dalmation, Pharrell, Snoop and Vogue's Andre Leon Talley in Paris.
Highlight: In a matter of moments, Mariah reveals a bathing suit (you know, 'cause she's shopping), poses in front of luggage and uses her ancient slide phone:
There's no way around it: this video is about bestiality. Okay, maybe it's a metaphor for how pent up she felt during her marriage to Tommy Mottola or whatever, but there are a lot of questionable Mariah / pony interactions here. Also some weirdo is peeping on Mariah through a hole in the wall. The landlord should really fix that. Definitely Mariah's weirdest music video...and that's saying something.
Highlight: This Mary Katherine Gallagher moment:
"When You Believe" (1998)
The two greatest vocalists of the '90s in one video. I'm so glad this happened. R.I.P. Whit.
Highlight: Unh (turn on the audio for this to make sense):
Mariah gets revenge on boys who once overlooked her in middle school by growing up to be really hot. She sings in front of abandoned trombones and trumpets in a deserted band room. Where have all the children gone? Perhaps wherever Paula Cole's cowboys went? We soon learn that the kids are in another part of the school doing super '90s choreo. Mariah contributes an awkward running man move.
Highlight: The little girl dressed up like Blossom. I see you, girl:
"I'll Be There" and "If It's Over" (1992)
Both of these aren't traditional music videos (the clips are from Mariah's MTV Unplugged), but they still have me feeling some type of way. The vocals are so on point that, without meaning to, I raised my arms in the air as if I had just won a race.
Highlight: Trey Lorenz's high notes at the end of "I'll Be There." What kind of miracle?
"Make It Happen" (1992)
You know that scene in Sister Act when Whoopi gets the party going and those cool girls decide to go to church and then the pope shows up and everyone is grooving and thinking about the apostles? Well, this music video is basically that. Things start off with inspectors coming into the church with flashlights. They want to shut it down! But not so fast! Mariah invites all the races and babies of the world for a Save Our Church concert and wins the day, using her angel voice and her love of god. Amen.
Highlight: This evil man who's plotting something:
The members of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are in this video. That's really all it takes to make a killer video, but there's more: Mariah shows off her butterfly tattoo a bunch, jumps on a bed covered in poker chips (twice) and does some cabaret.
Highlight: This sass:
"Shake It Off" (2005)
Mariah takes a rose petal bath, goes for a walk in her slip, takes a drive through Hollywood and Chris Tucker somehow gets in her car. Some other stuff happens too.
Highlight: These little girls serving it:
Mariah spends a day at the races. If you like cars, flags or the physics involved in barely-there bandana tops, this video is for you.
Highlight: You'll spend most of this video wondering who she's pointing or waving at:
"We Belong Together" (2005)
Mariah leaves some old dude at the altar for a younger dude in Chucks. Attagirl.
Highlight: Gotta appreciate the idgaf-ness of trashing your dress as you flee your own wedding.
"There's Got To Be A Way" (1991)
This song is not great, a "We Are the World"/"I believe the children are our future" wannabe. But the extras make up for it and then some.
Highlights: Taj Mowry (Tia and Tamera's lil bro/Michelle Tanner's friend) being a cute baby:
And this random dude who stands right behind Mariah for much of the video, mouthing the words to her song and stealing the show in the process:
Mariah is LIVING in this video. She's playing with her hair in the back of a convertible and hanging out with a loris at a weird house party. Doesn't get much better than that, right?
Highlight: This cute overload nom nom moment.
"It's Like That" (2005)
Mariah hosts a masquerade. Doesn't wear a mask.
Highlight: The best line in music history:
"Touch My Body" (2008)
Kenneth from 30 Rock fantasizes about racing toy cars and playing frisbee with Mariah, while fixing her computer.
Highlight: Kenneth's high note is actually pretty good:
Eminem has said disgusting things about Mariah, Christina Aguilera, *insert any famous woman's name here* and gays for so long unchecked. Mariah gets even by dressing up like the desperate fanboy that he is and slinging sharp one-liners like:
"Got you all fired up, with your Napoleon complex,
Seein' right through you like you're bathin' in Windex."
Highlight: I kind of want to wallpaper my apartment with Mariah posters now:
"Always Be My Baby" (1996)
A natural anti-depressant. Mariah loves tire swings and it shows.
Highlight: This gravity-defying hair flip:
"I Still Believe" (1999)
Mariah visits the troops as Marilyn Monroe 2.0, stands on a fighter jet and randomly runs away from the camera a couple of times. And it's amazing.
Highlights: Mariah gives Phoebe Buffay a run for her money in the weird runner category:
"Up Out My Face" (2010)
Ever imagine what it would look like if Mariah and Nicki Minaj went shopping at Target as nurses/Barbies? Now you don't have to. Nicki kind of steals the show here, except for when Mariah unleashes this ridiculous lyric:
"If we were two Lego blocks
Even the Harvard University graduating class of 2010
Couldn't put us back together again."
Nicki's Highlight: This subtle psycho moment:
Mariah's Highlight: When she manages to cram the Lego lyric above in one breath:
"Boy (I Need You)" (2003)
This video is bananas in the best way. City-destroying godzilla monsters. Tiny singing fairies. Robots that'll tie your shoelaces. It's all here.
Highlight: This talking pooch and the return of evil brunette Mariah:
"All I Want for Christmas Is You" (1994)
Mariah frolics in the snow in a red ski suit, holds a turtle dove and some bunnies, kicks it with Santa, pets dogs dressed as reindeer, poses in front of actual reindeer and almost get mauled by a little dog. All I want for Christmas is to live inside this music video.
Highlights: Mariah throwing snow sideways in the air so it doesn't get in her hair:
This dog hates the pom pom on Mariah's Santa hat:
If the feeling of YAAAASSSS had a music video, this would be it. It has everything: sunflowers, hot dudes doing choreo in a field, Mariah in a hot air balloon, a miniature pony, a pool party, and on and on. If you can watch this without smiling, singing along or throwing up praise hands, get thee to a doctor.
Highlight: Yes! Let the men grind in a music video for a change!
There's so much storyline in this video that they needed a voiceover. All you really need to know though is that Mariah is a spy who sucks at speaking Spanish and rules at Jet-Ski-ing.
Highlight: Also rules at changing outfits underwater:
Hell hath no fury like a Mariah scorned. And heaven hath no bliss like Mariah doing choreo in a crocheted halter top.
Highlight: This callback to when Dionne found a "cheap K-Mart hair extension" in the back of Murray's car. Neither Dionne nor Mariah wear polyester hair:
Don't let the weird clown at the beginning of this video put you off. Everything that comes after is incredible. The first we see of Mariah, she's roller blading. That's basically enough for a top 5 finish right there. Then comes the roller coast ride (Beyonce's "XO" music video is looking pretty reductive right about now). Mariah manages to look fly and sing along to her song, while dropping several stories. What a pro. Then comes standing up inside a Hummer 'cause why not? Like in the "Dreamlover" video, a group of men engages in choreography in Mariah's honor. Yes. This is how it should always be.
Highlight: I love this girl more than I loved watching all these Mariah videos (and that's a lot!):