The Weekly Rewind: 30 years later, audiences still ‘Obsessed’ with Mariah Carey

Weekly Rewind Graphic

Mariah Carey’s modern Christmas classic “All I Want for Christmas is You” (1994) returned to the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, her fourth consecutive year in the region. Because of this, Carey has made a considerable resurgence to the mainstream in recent years. The last (and only other) Christmas song to hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts was in 1959, so Carey’s achievement is one of incredible proportions. Carey has charted 19 No. 1 hits on the Hot 100, the most among solo acts, and only one away from the all-time record held by the Beatles (20). 

One has to ask: Is this Carey’s opportunity to make history? Aided by her recent collaboration with pop superstar Ariana Grande and a viral dance challenge to her song “Obsessed” (2009) in 2019, Carey could accomplish the extraordinary: a second comeback.

In 2001, Carey experienced a highly publicized breakdown when her career began to stall after 11 years. Despite the lackluster reviews for her following projects “Glitter” (2001) and “Charmbracelet” (2002), Carey once again proved her resilience by returning in 2005 more mature and just as successful as ever. Carey released her 10th studio album, “The Emancipation of Mimi,” in 2005. Her album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and Carey saw her first chart-topper in over seven years. “We Belong Together,” the second single off of “The Emancipation of Mimi,” went on to become the 14th most successful song in Hot 100 history, cementing Carey’s legacy. 

After “Touch My Body” went No. 1 in 2008, Carey didn’t see the summit of the Hot 100 until “All I Want for Christmas is You” topped the chart in December 2019. Though in recent years, Carey’s presence in the mainstream has been making another triumphant revival. In 2018, Carey released her 15th studio album, “Caution,” and she received her highest score on Metacritic. The following summer, Carey’s 2008 single “Obsessed” went viral on TikTok, with now over 3.3 million videos using the song. Months later, Carey saw “All I Want for Christmas is You” hit No. 1 for the first time and completed a successful hat trick within one year: critical acclaim, a viral hit and a No. 1 song. Not only did Carey revive her career in the mid-2000s, but she has successfully reintroduced herself to the mainstream.

Carey can keep this momentum going, and she has the potential to tie the Beatles with 20 No. 1 hits. Without any new studio albums since “Caution,” Carey can now effectively promote her new image with her recent mainstream presence under her belt. She has endured the test of time with her Christmas classic, demonstrating her ability to stay relevant with listeners 26 years after its release. Carey has overcome a public breakdown and still returned to pop stardom flawlessly. Her talent is evident in her track record, and if there’s anything Carey can do, it’s complete another successful comeback.


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