Mariah Carey's voice, especially early in her career, was a honey-dipped and golden, with a range that spanned lightyears. Her debut album in 1990 went platinum, spawning four consecutive number one hits on the Billboard charts. Mariah is such a fixture of American pop music that even in 2015, Anne Hathaway can barely contain herself when she's ten feet away.
But my favorite Mariah album isn't that high-charting debut, or the magical Christmas album, or even the highly-praised Butterfly. No, my favorite is Daydream, the 1995 release laden with groovy rhythms that just make you want to dance. Daydream came out 20 years ago in October, but its first single "Fantasy" topped the Billboard Hot 100 20 years ago this week.
In this video, not only does Mariah float around on rollerblades while wearing high-waisted shorts on a magical boardwalk filmed in soft focus, her voice is as seductive and gorgeous as the summer day she skates through. It makes perfect sense that this song was released just as the seasons were changing and fall was encroaching. It's the kind of song that makes you want to be outside, beer in hand, sweatshirt on, dancing through the fading sunlight.
"Fantasy" was the first song by a female artist to debut at number 1, which is a pretty insane accomplishment considering it just happened 20 years ago—and it stayed in the number 1 slot for eight weeks.
Daydream also marks the beginning of Mariah's allegiance to one of the highest-charting boy bands of all time, Boyz II Men, with the marvelous song "One Sweet Day."
"One Sweet Day" performed even better on the charts than "Fantasy"—sixteen weeks at number one. (For a little context, the seemingly never-ending reign of "Uptown Funk" was only 14 weeks long.) "One Sweet Day" is a soaring anthem, filled with emotion, that's dedicated to friends Mariah and Boyz II Men's friends who died in the AIDS epidemic.
The song has so much power that my whole body gets chills every time I hear it. It meant so much to those involved that they refused to create a real music video for it, opting instead for footage of them recording in the studio, because they didn't think they could do the message justice.
Daydream was Mariah's fifth studio album, and though songs like "One Sweet Day" truly made it great, it wasn't critically recognized; it was nominated for six Grammy Awards, and won zero. A huge snub. Even today, Daydream is one of the most highly sold albums in history, and—of course—it's just a really, really great listen.
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.