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Mariah Carey attends the 2024 Recording Academy Honors presented by The Black Music Collective at Fairmont Century Plaza on February 01, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Mariah Carey is regarded as one of the best singers of all time, so it is only natural to rank the pop star’s best songs. Even if you don’t agree with the New York native’s voice being one of the best, her album sales speak for itself. The self-proclaimed “Queen of Christmas” has sold over 220 million records worldwide. Additional accolades include an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress and the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Billboard named her the top-charting female solo artist, based on both album and song chart successes. Carey is the highest-certified female artist in the United States and 10th worldwide, with 75 million certified album units. She has won 6 Grammy Awards, 10 American Music Awards, 20 Billboard Music Awards, and 12 Guinness World Records.

Rolling Stone crowned the pop diva as the fifth greatest singer of all time on their list of 200. The publication gushed about her range, how she can easily pivot between “a biting, taunting growl to an unreal whistle tone so sharply delivered it could cut steel.” Her mix of old-school soul and R&B with modern pop is what the publication claims sets her apart from other pop stars.

Mariah Carey's 9 Best Songs

(Photo by Diane Freed)

She was born on March 27, 1969, in New York. With her impressive five-octave vocal range, the pop singer rose quickly to superstardom in the early ’90s. Carey’s mother was an opera singer, so after she graduated high school, her mother gave her vocal lessons. Her first professional gig in the music industry was at 17 years old, singing backup for freestyle singer Brenda K. Starr. Carey’s self-titled debut album featured four no. 1 singles, cementing a chart-topping tradition that continued throughout her career.

Then, she secured her reign on Christmas with her 1994 smash hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” As we previously reported, Carey rakes in between $600,000 to $1 million each December from the holiday track alone. In addition to that, she also rakes in $2.5 million in annual royalties, according to calculations from The Economist.

RELATED: Ariana Grande And Mariah Carey Engage In ‘Whistlemania’ On ‘Yes, And?’ Remix

Present-day Mariah Carey’s live performances have been heavily criticized on social media. After a month of traveling for her Christmas-themed tour, fans thought her performances were lackluster. Fans accused her of lip-syncing badly, with video footage of her not appearing to be singing live. Additionally, the mother of two was hardly moving on stage, which gives no stage presence. Seemingly trying to dissuade fans from thinking that is how her upcoming Las Vegas performance will be, she posted herself singing live on Instagram.

Mariah Carey’s 9 Best Songs:

  • 9. It's Like That

    From our favorite album of hers, 2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi, “It’s Like That” is one of our go-to songs. Jermaine Dupri was a constant collaborator on this album and he and Fatman Scoop added their flair to this bop. Some of Mariah’s lines are so catchy and good; who wouldn’t want to be “feelin’ so hot tamale?” The track is fun, bubbly and flirty — all aspects of early 2000s Mariah that we love. The song borrows the hook “It’s Like That Y’all” from the Run–D.M.C. tracks “Hollis Crew” and “Here We Go (Live).”

  • 8. Shake It Off

    Of all of her songs, this is one of Mimi’s tracks that we can confidently hit (most of) the notes. The post-breakup track is empowering for all women who know their worth and how to move on, simply by “shaking it off.” We love how Mariah is telling a story with each part of the song, kind of rapping, kind of singing the lines. The song was blocked from being a #1 hit by here other Emancipation of Mimi hit, “We Belong Together.”

  • 7. My All

    Can we just talk about how gorgeous this music video is? The black and white video of Carey being like the goddess of love, Venus, sitting on a shell wearing retro bathing suits is just perfection. Then cue in the handsome model, who plays her lost lover. In 2020, the singer revealed the inspiration behind the song was her relationship with the then-New York Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter. She states that the song is about her genuinely having to risk her life to have another secret rendezvous in Puerto Rico with Jeter.

  • 6. Don’t Forget About Us

    This song may be about the emotions felt after the loss of a relationship, but the way Carey’s Jermaine Dupri track goes, the song isn’t just sad — it’s also empowering and catchy. What we absolutely love about this song is how Carey plays around in her lower vocal range, only to blow us away with her signature whistle register later in the track. Carey explained that the true meaning of the song is left to be interpreted by the listener.

  • 5. I Want To Know What Love Is

    Foreigner may be the original artist for this classic song, but Carey’s rendition made us forget about all other versions besides hers. Not only is hers as emotional and slow as the rock band’s, but her blessed five-octave range just adds so many more layers vocally. Carey released her version as the second single on her twelfth studio album, 2009’s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.

  • 4. I Still Believe

    Taking things full circle, this song was originally recorded in 1987 by Brenda K. Starr, whom Carey was the back up singer for during that time and helped jump-start the rising singer’s career. Starr gave CBS Records executive Tommy Mottola Mariah’s demo tape, which convinced him to sign her to her first recording contract. In a previous interview, Carey said she added the remake of the song to her #1’s album because “this is the first song that I sang as a professional singer.”

  • 3. Without You

    As one fan perfectly put it in the YouTube comments, “This is the Mariah Carey I’ll always remember. She blew me away with this performance. No bulls—, just sheer perfection both as a voice, and the way she presented herself. Amazing.” With over 430 million views, they are on to something: the Carey classics and her raw voice are what her little lambs love most.

  • 2. Emotions

    We surely can’t hit these notes, but boy, do we try every time! Musically, “Emotions” borrows heavily from ’70s disco to create a winning formula that went on to win her another number one hit in the US. Carey’s vocal range spans more than four octaves on the track, one of the highest notes produced by a human voice in the history of recorded music.

  • 1. We Belong Together

    This was Carey’s big comeback track after a few years out of the spotlight. She said of recording the ballad: “I had the chills. I had a great feeling about it when we finished writing the song, and I was flying back from Atlanta at some crazy hour of the morning… But we were listening to it on the plane ride on the way home, and even from the demo version, I really felt something very special.”

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