A voice sent from up above
rmcrae | Houston, Texas | 05/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to believe Mariah Carey's been recording for 20 years now, but it's true. She brought something fresh to the music world in the summer of 1990. The shy 20 year old NY native had a strong voice and magnificent whistle register that hadn't been heard since the late Minnie Riperton and Deniece Williams.
Vision of Love was Mariah's official introduction with it's eerie intro and 50s Doo-wop production. She thanks God for guiding her through the pain of her parent's divorce and growing up biracial as well as fulfilling her dreams of becoming a singer. I'm surprised she doesn't like I Don't Wanna Cry. I read that she dislikes it because it "doesn't have a message", but I disagree. Although her lover wants to continue their relationship, Mariah knows things have changed for the worst and wants to end it. Her dramatic vocals bring the song to life.
The new jack swinger Someday finds the singer sassily warning a guy that he'll regret breaking up with her because no woman can compare to her. She then scolds herself for letting a good man go on the stunning ballad Love Takes Time. I love the chorus. "Love takes time/To heal when you're hurting so much/Couldn't see that I was blind/To let you go/I can't escape the pain/Inside/'Cause love takes time/I don't wanna be here/I don't wanna be here alone."
Vanishing should've been a single. The production is bare with just a piano, a choir, and Mariah's gospelish vocals. Sounds like sitting in the front pew at church on a bright Sunday morning. The slow jam All Alone In Love probably would've been a radio hit as well. It has the accessibility of pop, but is also rooted in soul. There's Got To Be A Way is a naive but good intentioned dance track calling for world peace and You Need Me is a pretty dated rock song with guest guitar work from Eddie Van Halen.
Many people call Sent From Up Above filler, but I say it's an underrated gem. The dreamy, 60s/Middle Eastern hybrid vibe is a little out there, but Mariah does her thing on it. She does some awesome tricks with her signature whistle on the reggae tinged All In Your Mind. The only song I don't like is Prisoner. There's something off about it and Mariah's cringe worthy rap doesn't help.
An impressive debut although dated in some parts. Then again, what debut album isn't dated in some way? Not quite timeless, but almost there."