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They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Episode 38: Mariah Carey - Butterfly 25

This week we are discussing the 25th anniversary of Mariah Carey's landmark album, Butterfly. We touch on some of the hits from her first 4 albums, and talk about how this album helped shift her image into the Mariah that we know today. By the end of the episode, Miguel contemplates joining the Lambily.


Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. We wanted to take a minute to make a small request of all our listeners. If you're listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Goodpods or Podchaser, leave us a five star rating. You can also leave a review as well on Apple, Goodpods and Podchaser. Ratings, and reviews will help us with discoverability. And we want to get this out to as many like-minded folks as we can.

Miguel: We wanna get on the first page of these podcast apps.

Christina: And to move up on the charts as well. So help us get the word out.

Miguel: Make sure to follow and interact with us on social media. We're @troypodcast on the 'gram and the bird. Also check out our website, It's where we post links to a lot of the things that we mention in the show, as well as transcripts and themed playlists that supplement our episodes and more.

Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?

Miguel: Let's do it.


[intro music]

Miguel: Hey, we are back with another episode. I am Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. And we're back, bitches!

Miguel: We are back.

Christina: From our summer hiatus. And two things. Today is my birfday.

Miguel: Woo, woo. [sings] Happy birthday to you.

Christina: Okay, Marilyn. And also today, we're gonna talk about Mariah Carey, specifically the 25th anniversary of the Butterfly album. So we'll touch on her overall career, but we're focusing specifically on this album. Because of the anniversary. Also if we talked about her entire career, that would be like, three hours.

Miguel: Yeah, we don't have that kind of time and we're not gonna put you through that.

Christina: So let's just jump right in then.

Miguel: Let's do it.

Christina: So before we get into Butterfly, let's talk a little bit about what she was known for pre-Butterfly.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I decided to check out the Billboard charts.

Miguel: As you do.

Christina: As I do. And I only looked for songs before Butterfly. Again, 'cause that's what we're focusing on right now.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: She had 16 songs in the Billboard Hot 100[1]. And the most popular ones was "One Sweet Day," which was number one for 16 weeks, and "Fantasy," which was number one for eight weeks. So those were the most highly charted. What other songs do you remember her for from this era?

Miguel: Oh man. Uh…

Christina: A lot.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Let’s see if you can name the 16 songs that you think might have been on the Billboard chart.

Miguel: I can't name the 16. But the songs that I know…because I never listened to a full Mariah Carey album until we started prepping for this episode.

Christina: Right. I was gonna gasp, but I'm not really shocked.

Miguel: No, you shouldn't be shocked because it just wasn't my lane. But I know the hits because they were so huge. Like, she was unavoidable.

Christina: She was definitely out there.

Miguel: Yeah. So it's not like I needed to listen to the albums because the songs were being played everywhere. But "Vision of Love," "Someday," "I Don't Wanna Cry," "Emotions," "Make it Happen," "Hero." You know, all of that stuff.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: All the big ones. What I noticed listening to the earlier albums is they were very pop heavy yet at the same time, there was a lot of gospel melodies as well. But her voice gave it that R&B feel.

Christina: She loved a gratuitous run.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And hitting those high notes.

Miguel: It was R&B adjacent, but not full on R&B. Like, her voice made it R&B.

Christina: Aside from maybe…let's see, "Always Be My Baby," "Dreamlover," "Fantasy." It kind of feels like, you know, those songs that people who audition for The Voice like America's Got Talent or whatever? You know how they'll pick like, these power ballads, where they could show off their voice and like battle with each other? That's a lot of what her music kind of sounded like.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Or just, really kind of like cutesy, mid tempo pop songs. But there was no hiding the depth of her voice.

Miguel: No, not at all. Cause I remember just thinking, Hey, this white girl can sing. Not knowing that she was half black, but…

Christina: I think I always thought she was something...

Miguel: Yeah, initially I just thought she was white.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Just because we didn't see much of people back in those days. So the only thing I would really see is like the album cover or maybe a video.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But the more I saw her, it was like, yeah, there's something there.

Christina: Well, I was probably watching more videos of her than you were too.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because I think I put her in the same category as like Paula Abdul, where it's like I know she's not white, but I have no idea what she is.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: You thought she was one of them sangin' white ladies?

Miguel: Yeah, exactly. I thought she was—

Christina: A little Teena Marie, Lisa Stansfield.

Miguel: Yeah I thought she was going down that road. But we're getting off on a tangent.

Christina: We are. We are. But it's interesting that we are talking about this though, because you and I had a conversation, I don't know yesterday, the day before, when I was telling you how I couldn't quite place what makes a song pop and what makes a song R&B, because it's just something that I can hear.

Miguel: Yeah. It's hard to define, but you know it when you hear it.

Christina: Yeah. And I think for me because her first, album came out in 1990, when I was still listening to a lot of pop music. So I think her transition, which we'll talk a little bit more once we get to Butterfly, but her sort of transition into getting a little more urban, more R&B, it went in the same direction as my own personal interests. So for me, it was like a natural progression anyways.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Whereas for like, maybe some of her fans from the early albums, it felt maybe more jarring to them. But to me that was my path too.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So me and Mariah just kind of went along the same path in terms of her making the music and me listening to it.

Miguel: Right. Well, I, as you know, have been reading her memoir and from her first album, I believe pretty much half of it was done before she was signed.

Christina: Oooh okay.

Miguel: So, a lot of the songs were on her demo tape. And from what she was saying, they were a lot more what we know Mariah for now, but Tommy Mottola and, what's his name, Walter or whatever?

Christina: Yeah, I can’t— it’s a long last name.

Miguel: They basically took—

Christina: Afanasieff.

Miguel: Something like that. She said that they basically watered the tracks down to what they ended up being.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So she initially wanted to be a little more, quote unquote street or urban, but that's not the image of her that they wanted to push.

Christina: They're like, let's go with adult contemporary.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: With a hint of R&B.

Miguel: Yeah. And meanwhile, she's listening to hiphop and R&B and whatnot, but they're pushing pop.

Christina: And I guess knowing that now I feel like we could see her trying…

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: To do that.

Miguel: Cause for example, "Make it Happen," that's a gospel record. She talking about being broke, hungry, starving, sleeping under bus benches. All right. She didn't go that far, but.

Christina: She was "hungry and alone."

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: With not "a penny to her name."

Miguel: So that's a very inspirational song. Like "you can make it, make it happen."

Christina: Also, "There's Got To Be A Way" with the church choir singing in the background.

Miguel: Right. So it was there, she kind of had the same issue as Whitney Houston.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: Where they come from these backgrounds but they're not allowed to be themselves.

Christina: Right. So the first time where she was able to do the music that she wanted to do, dipping her toes into hip hop a bit, I would say is "Dreamlover."

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: From Music Box. I remember watching that video and being like "Oh!"

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Because she had all the dancers in her video. She just kept it cute.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And she was in her little Jeep.

Miguel: We know she's not a dancer.

Christina: Everybody's in a Jeep in 1993. But she had the dancers doing the butterfly. I remember the whole dance routine 'cause of course I was copying everything. And it was just like, okay, this is different.

Miguel: Yeah, this is not the Mariah we knew.

Christina: But I like it. And it was produced by Dave Hall who's done stuff for Mary J, Usher and when Madonna was trying to do a little R&B too. So by her working with a different producer than her usual, Walter, Walter A. let's just call him.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I can’t say his last name. It created a different sound. But it wasn't huge departure, I think. It’s her just sort of rebelling a little bit.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I don't know how she was able to get it made just from what you've told me about her book.

Miguel: Yeah it was a struggle and it was just that one song too.

Christina: One song.

Miguel: And had to fight for that.

Christina: But she did manage to squeeze in a little bit more in the next album in Daydream. There was "Fantasy." That was the beginning of the end.

Miguel: For some people.

Christina: For some people, not for her.

Miguel: It was the beginning of the beginning for others,.

Christina: For her. Yeah. But of course the album version did not have the rap.

Miguel: It did not.

Christina: And it was produced again by Dave Hall. But now this is where we learned that there's Mariah Carey the album cuts. And then there's Mariah Carey, the remixes.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Which is two different experiences, most of the time.

Miguel: It really is.

Christina: I mean, there were always those dance remixes. Like, there's always some club dub.

Miguel: Right yeah. 'cause she had production from C&C Music Factory.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: On these middle albums as well.

Christina: I feel like a lot of solo female singers had a lot of dance remixes at the time. Like, their singles would always have dance remixes.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It's kind of a side note. 'Cause I noticed like, Deborah Cox would have them.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And like, um, Whitney Houston. Yeah. There's always some kind of…I don't know why I always remember it being called dub mix but there would always be some, something, right? Something for the "clurbs." Not the the ones we were going to.

Miguel: No, a different experience that I was getting. I wasn't hearing Mariah where I was going.

Christina: Yeah. So Daydream is where we kind of got a peek into what Butterfly would become. Like I was saying, she had "Fantasy." Trackmasters finally got to sneak in there a little bit. Jermaine Dupri got to sneak in there a little bit.

Miguel: He literally got to sneak in there.

Christina: Literally had to sneak in there. So that was where we got "Always Be My Baby." There's a remix with Trackmasters actually for "Underneath the Stars." Which gives you a complete different experience than the album version. And...

Miguel: Your favorite, "One Sweet Day."

Christina: Yes. Okay. So I never really liked "One Sweet Day." It's just too perfectly sweet for me.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I see why people like it because it's a sentimental song. It's just talking about loved ones who have passed away. So it's gonna mean something to a lot of people. But for me, I find there are certain songs there are just too, too sickly, sweet.

Miguel: Yeah we've mentioned this before that you don't like positivity.

Christina: No! That's not it. I just don't like... I don't know what it is, but like, K-Ci and Jo-Jo's "All My Life."

Miguel: Well see, that's different. That's just a bad song. The lyrics are terrible.

Christina: But you know what I mean.

Miguel: I get it.

Christina: About songs that are just they're too...they're too sugary sweet. I don't know how else to describe it. But when I was just going through random singles and stuff on Tidal, I saw that there was a remix called Chucky's remix. It doesn't say who produced it, but I'm gonna assume it was Chucky Thompson, 'cause he was doing a lot of stuff. But I like this one so much better because as we were talking about the difference between pop and R&B, this one feels R&B. Like, even the way Boyz II Men is harmonizing, there's a fuller baseline. If I knew about this version then, I would've definitely listened to it. And I will listen to it more now. But yeah, if you've never heard of the Chucky remix of "One Sweet Day," I would recommend checking it out.

[music break]

Christina: This would be a good time. to go into Butterfly.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: As I was saying, Daydream gave her a little taste into what she wanted to do, but by the time Butterfly rolled around, she was going through her divorce with Tommy Mottola. Or as she refers to him like that guy at the company or something. She won't even say his name.

Miguel: Something like that. I don't remember what she called him and his associates in the book, it was something like prison warden, something really funny.

Christina: Yeah. So now she's like, I’m free to do what I want. So we finally get to see what Mariah is about.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: So you said you had never listened to a full Mariah Carey album, before Butterfly, or just in general?

Miguel: Just in general.

Christina: Buy you…heard Butterfly singles?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Just like with all of her other albums, I know the songs, I just never listened to them one through whatever.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But all of the songs were going to number one and top 10 on the chart.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So I heard them and I knew what they were. I just hadn't listened to an entire album.

Christina: So the singles that were released from this album, was "Honey," "Butterfly," "Breakdown," "The Roof," and "My All." Three songs, have this sort of new, not only is it R&B, but it's hiphop influenced and then two ballads. So "Butterfly" is a ballad. "My All" is a ballad. But there is also a remix to "My All" that's completely different with Jermaine Dupri, Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz. And then the remix of "The Roof" had the Mobb Deep rap, whereas the album didn't. Although surprisingly, the rap in "Breakdown" was left on the album.

Miguel: It was.

Christina: There is another remix called the Mo Thugs remix that has a little bit more Bone Thugs in it. But it's not too much different from the album version. So I'd say about half of the album is still pretty much traditional Mariah Carey. She's still working with her previous producer, Walter A. And then the rest was like Trackmasters, Diddy, Jermaine Dupri and stuff. So even though this was, I guess her chance to do the music that she wants, she still did choose to stick to some of the more like, traditional Mariah Carey songs.

Miguel: Yeah. And this was probably the last—no, on the next album. I think they did a couple more songs.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: With her and Walter A., but then after that they've been done ever since.

Christina: So what did you think about the album since you were more just familiar with the singles?

Miguel: Well, this was in my lane because you had Bone.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And you know, I'm not really too heavy into Mobb Deep, but "Shook Ones" is by far their best song. So that was a familiar sample. The remixes of all the singles with who's who from the hip hop community at the time. Those were all people that I was listening to. So Da Brat, Jermaine Dupri, Mase and Diddy, The Lox. So I liked those songs. And me not listening to Mariah Carey previously, it's not that I didn't like her, but they just didn't appeal to me in terms of the songs. I thought they were nice, but nothing I would wanna listen to. But this one, I have no problem listening to "The Roof" because of the Shook Ones sample.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Or the "Honey" remix. But that's what I was into.

Christina: All your fave producers.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I feel like this album should have been called The Emancipation of Mimi. But maybe she needed a little more time to uh…

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Figure out who Mimi was.

Miguel: Exactly. This was basically her just being free finally.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Because again, I'm gonna refer to the book and I'm sure if you’re listening to this and you're Mariah Carey fan, you've probably either read it or did the audio book like I did. But it gives you insight into how her life was with Tommy Mottola. And she basically equated it to being in prison.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: And she even called a 20,000 square foot house that she built from the ground up as Sing-Sing. And they had another house and I think the area's called Hillsdale and she called it "hills-jail" so this is the kinda life that she was living.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And around the time of this album is when she was finally able to get away from him.

Christina: Yeah. 'Cause even the "Always Be My Baby" song with Jermaine Dupri, the video was filmed at their home studio.

Miguel: Yeah. They filmed the video and recorded the song at the same time.

Christina: Like they literally had to sneak her out or something, right?

Miguel: She tells a story of giving Da Brat a tour of the house. And there were cameras and microphones everywhere because he was listening to her conversations. So there was one place where she knew there were no cameras or microphones and that was in her shoe closet. So she took Da Brat in there and said, "Hey, you wanna go get some french fries?" So they pretend to go down to the garage so she could quote unquote, show her the cars. And she said she kept her keys in the ignition in one of the cars and they just jumped in and took off. So they went a mile down the road to Burger King to get some french fries and just sit in the parking lot and talk for like an hour. And then Da Brat starts getting these frantic phone calls from Jermaine Dupri, and she says she can hear him yelling, where the fuck are you guys? Get back here to this house now. They're looking for Mariah and they got guns out.

Christina: Oh man.

Miguel: And Da Brat was like, yeah, yeah, whatever. Click. Hangs up. Five minutes later, he calls back screaming again. It’s like, I don't think you understand that they're pointing guns at me and they want her back here now.

Christina: I’m not joking.

Miguel: No. And she said that with each phone call, she could hear how frantic he was getting. So she was like, you know what? We need to go back 'cause she didn't take her phone with her.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And by the time they got back to the house, there were three SUVs loading up with security guys about to go out and look for her.

Christina: That’s crazy.

Miguel: So that's the kind of stuff she was dealing with.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Jermaine's back at the house being interrogated. He didn't even know they were gone because he was in the studio apparently. And she just took off. He's in studio with Xscape. And they're out getting fries. And he's being held at gunpoint.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Demanding that she be brought back.

Christina: He's like, I didn't even know they were gone.

Miguel: Exactly.

[music break]

Christina: Knowing what you know about Mariah's background now, 'cause obviously we didn't know any of this.

Miguel: No not at all.

Christina: Do you view the Butterfly album differently?

Miguel: I do. And not only because of what she was going through at the time, but now knowing her songwriting process as well. Because for example, "The Roof" is about Derek Jeter. She was sneaking around with Derek at the time, and this was like their first time actually hooking up and meeting in person.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: They met at a party, exchanged numbers, and they're doing this dance for months texting and sneaking phone calls. And that was the first time that they were able to get away by themselves.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: They went onto the roof of his apartment. It was a rainy night. They kissed. She sneaks back home. She said, as she's driving home, she turns on the radio. "Shook Ones" is playing. She gets home, takes a shower. She's laying down. The lyrics start coming to her. "Shook Ones" is still playing in her head. There's "The Roof." So just knowing things like that helps me have a better idea of who she is as an artist.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: Because I, again, wasn't really familiar with her songwriting either. But now knowing how she's putting all of these personal experiences into it, I'm gonna go back and listen again to see what else I can pick up.

Christina: Okay. So did you go through all her previous albums?

Miguel: I did.

Christina: Or anything after?

Miguel: I listened to the ones before and I listened to Rainbow and Glitter after.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I haven’t gone past that yet.

Christina: Alright. So now that you've had time to actually sit with the full album, do you have a favorite song?

Miguel: I do. Actually there are two and it would be obvious. "Breakdown" and "The Roof." Those are my two favorites.

Christina: Me too.

Miguel: I don't think that is a surprise.

Christina: Not "4th of July?" Or "Whenever You Call?"

Miguel: "4th of July" was cool. Those were cool, but no, it's those two.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: Mostly, "The Roof" though.

Christina: The one time you, uh, like Mobb Deep.

Miguel: I like Mobb Deep in small doses. I can't do full albums. But "Shook Ones" is undeniable.

Christina: I prefer the one with Mobb Deep in it, not the album version. 'Cause—

Miguel: Either one, I'm good with either.

Christina: 'Cause the album version just has them doing the "I got you stuck off the realness" but it's more a background.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But yeah, I prefer the one with Mobb Deep in it. The thing that I do like about "Breakdown" is whether she was doing her pop songs or her more R&B or quote unquote urban songs, she basically sings the way Mariah sings.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But in "Breakdown," she actually changed her cadence to sing more in the style of Bone Thugs. So that was interesting.

Miguel: Yeah. I go back and forth with which one I think is better. "The Roof" or "Breakdown." But looking at the track listing, you would think that "The Beautiful Ones" would be my favorite song.

Christina: Yes, since you are a Prince fan.

Miguel: But you know I don't like covers.

Christina: You generally don't like covers. But this is a good cover.

Miguel: It is. But I…

Christina: We talked about this. We had a covers episode where—

Miguel: We did.

Christina: You broke down why you didn't like this.

Miguel: Yes. I’m not gonna get into it again. But you can listen to that episode where I discuss why I don't like this version of "The Beautiful Ones."

Christina: I like it. And I'm looking at my notes right now and it's supposed to say "The Beautiful Ones" featuring Dru Hill and it's been auto corrected to "dry hill."

Miguel: Dry Hill.

Christina: I don't wanna get off topic too much, but I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before. I think when we were talking about male R&B groups, but for some reason I just never liked Dru Hill. Even though I feel like I should, just because of the way they sing. But since Sisqo's voice is basically K-Ci 2.0, I could enjoy his voice.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Because it's like this ain't a Dru Hill song. This is him and Mariah singing a Prince song.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So I really like Sisqo in this song as well because...I don't know, he's not singing about "thong-th-thong, thong thongs." But like, I always like his voice.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I just don't like the songs.

Miguel: Don’t like the songs they sing.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So how did this album fit in with everything else that you were listening to in 1997?

Christina: I mean, this fit right in, just because this was kind of like, the height of Bad Boy. You had the Diddy stuff and I was already listening to like So So Def things, Jermaine Dupri things, Mobb Deep. So I was listening to all of this anyways.

You also had a theory in one of our episodes. I think it was—

Miguel: When we did the girl groups.

Christina: The girl groups.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Your theory was that Allure who was signed to Mariah's now defunct record label, which didn't even last that long.

Miguel: It didn’t.

Christina: Um... Allure's first album basically sounds like if Mariah Carey was a group. And it was your theory that that was her testing ground.

Miguel: Yeah, to see if it would work. To see if the public would take to this type of music coming from Mariah Carey, because you can hear her on background vocals.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: And she was writing some of the songs and this was a way for her to test that this sound will work.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Because if you listen to, what's the song? "Head Over Heels"with Nas, it’s basically a song from Butterfly.

Christina: Right. "Head Over Heels." And she's in the video. She, you can hear her in the backgrounds. A lot of the songs—there's "No Question" with LL Cool J.

Miguel: It all sounds like—

Christina: It basically sounds like four Mariahs.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I mean, I'm sure the albums in terms of them being worked on probably overlapped. But Allure's album was released in May of '97.

Miguel: And this was September.

Christina: September of ’97, so they were basically recorded at the same time or around the same time.

Miguel: Yeah, the way I came up with that theory is the way Prince would work whenever he had a new group coming out or he wanted to do some different stuff that was not under the Prince name. He would give "Manic Monday" over here to The Bangles. Or he would give "Cool" to The Time or he would give this song to The Family. It was all him, but he didn't wanna put it out as him. So he could be a little more funky over here. He can be a more, little more pop over here with some Sheena Easton. So I figured she was doing the same thing.

Christina: It's possible, but—

Miguel: It’s possible.

Christina: I loved that album. So I was primed for this album.

[music break]

Christina: Even though I was saying the change in her music also coincided with how I was listening to music, I will say that I remember when this album came out, it was still a little bit surprising to me with her sort of like makeover almost.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Kind of like when I saw the video for "Dreamlover," I was like, oh, this is different.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So there was some like, new Mariah Carey just dropped.

Miguel: New Mariah!

Christina: Yeah. But then after that, I mean...

Miguel: The gates were open.

Christina: The gates were open. She, I mean, she used the "Ain't No Fun" sample.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So like, you can't get more quote unquote urban.

Miguel: She got a song with Westside Connection. So.

Christina: Nore said he had Mariah Carey sittin' on crates.

Miguel: Yeah. So that's who she is.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Like she had this image of being this perfect pop princess, but everything in her background growing up tells us she was the complete opposite. Same as Whitney Houston. What we were given and then what we now know them to be. It was completely different. And I think if we had known what Mariah was really like, early on her career, probably wouldn't have, at least in the pop community, she wouldn't have been as big as she is now. But we still would've embraced her.

Christina: That actually kinda leads into another topic that we had wanted to talk about was, if we felt that this album changed the public perception of her. And it's hard for me to gauge because since I was listening to her from the beginning, I don't think I noticed what, the quote unquote public was saying. But when I was just doing research for this, I found this website called So basically it comes from this book that lists the thousand and one best albums ever.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Or something like that. And so the website basically generates an album day that you're supposed to listen to and people leave reviews. I was actually pretty surprised to see some of these reviews because while I recognized that her sound changed, so much of her was also still the same. Like, she always sang sultry ballads.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: She always did gratuitous runs. She always hit the high notes. So that part didn't really change.

Miguel: It was Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Sean "Diddy" Combs showing up to the party that changed.

Christina: Yeeeeah. Cause one person, I took a screenshot, one person's review was one outta five. And they said, "It's pretty bad. It fits every cheesy 90s stereotype. Even the guy in the background." The guy in the background.

Miguel: The guy in the background.

Christina: "Whispering MC and break it down. The only redeeming factor is it gave me a laugh." And there were so many comments that were just saying how all the songs sounded the same. Which is so not true because half the album is, the more R&B urban sound hip hop sound. And then the other half is still previous Mariah. So how can you say—

Miguel: "My All" is on here.

Christina: Yeah. Like how can you say an album with "The Roof" and "My All" sounds all the same?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And you know how we always joke around about when somebody says something that's not racist, but it sounds racist?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: There's a lot of coded language in these reviews. And the fact that the things that they didn't like about the album is what had existed in her previous albums.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Leads me to believe there's something else they don't like. They just don't wanna admit it.

Miguel: Like I said, Bone Thugs showed up.

Christina: So yeah. I definitely think public opinion did change except for the people who maybe weren't so surprised that real Mariah got to be herself.

Miguel: Right. That's the way I looked at it. It was like, hey, she's finally out. Instead of us getting little drops of it here and there. 'Cause you could see that the potential was there, but we just never were able to get all of it out of her. And again, that wasn't her fault. That was the husband and head of her record label. And that sounds like a real conflict of interest there.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: Because how's your husband gonna be your boss as well? So you can't win. You're locked up at home and you can't make the music you wanna make. Bad combination.

Christina: And he makes you make the music at home too.

Miguel: Yeah, it's a bad combination.

Christina: Yeah, just reading these reviews reminded me of the SNL skit "The Day Beyoncé Turned Black."[2] Remember that? So SNL, if you haven't seen it or forgot about it, they did a little skit about how people reacted after Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl. And she did "Formation" and not just the song, but, she took a more, quote unquote pro-Black stance. But it's like, uhhh Beyoncé's kinda always been Black.

Miguel: You just didn't see it because you didn't want to see it.

Christina: So yeah I had to rewatch that skit again just for shits and giggles. I was like, yeah, the day Beyoncé and Mariah Carey turned Black.

Miguel: Yeah, it's basically the same.

Christina: Jumping out of airplanes with The Lox and—

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Certain folks couldn't handle it.

Miguel: It’s like, wait a minute, she's Black? All this time. I thought she was Italian.

Christina: Thought she was just tan.

Miguel: Yeah, her grandfather was Greek or something.

Christina: So because that is sort of the perception of what I remember Butterfly to be just because it's always been held up as, this is the album where Mariah Carey got to free herself.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Re-listening to it from beginning to end, I was actually surprised at how many songs were still sort of pop Mariah.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I was like, I thought this whole thing was gonna be R&B and hip hop.

Miguel: No, she hasn't completely abandoned the pop stuff.

Christina: And she still hasn't.

Miguel: Yeah, because she's good at it.

Christina: I'm sure she still enjoys it.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Yeah, so it was a lot less hip hop than how I remembered it.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And plus I tend to listen to a lot of the remixes. As I was saying, there's album cuts Mariah Carey, and then there's remix Mariah Carey.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Which also, I almost forgot to mention, this album I would say, I don't know for sure but didn't this pretty much start the whole like, collabs with rappers?

Miguel: Pretty much because—

Christina: I mean there were some people doing the odd songs here and there before.

Miguel: There were there were definitely R&B songs with rappers previously, but a lot of those songs would be edited on the radio. They wouldn't play like the Rakim verse of a Jody Watley song.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Or Big Daddy Kane on a Patti LaBelle song. But this album kind of made it more accepted.

Christina: And not only that though, when she made a remix, she made a remix.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: She would re-record vocals.

Miguel: Yep.

Christina: They wouldn't be the same song with a rap tagged onto it. It would be a new song.

Miguel: Yeah. And she said she prides herself on doing that because she wants it to be a completely different song.

Christina: It is.

[music break]

Christina: So for you, where does this rank in her discography? Even though, you aren't so familiar with the discography.

Miguel: I’m not.

Christina: But in your week or so of listening to Mariah Carey.

Miguel: In the ones that I have heard, this is number one on the list.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I'm sure the "lambs" are gonna come after me for saying that.

Christina: I think it depends when, when somebody became a "lamb."

Miguel: That's true. That is true. But I'm gonna go with this one.

Christina: I agree. Emancipation of Mimi is my second favorite one.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: But I think Butterfly will hold a special place in my heart.

Miguel: I respect it.

Christina: I also just wanna mention, there is this B-side. I can't remember what is a B-side to. I think it might be "Always Be My Baby."

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Because I know this was before Butterfly, but there's a B-side called "Slipping Away." And this is also one of those unreleased songs, but fan favorites. And it was finally released in her Rarities album that came out a couple years ago.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: That one's another song that was her trying to get a little more R&B. Cause I think that one was also produced by Dave Hall.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: But that is also one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs.

Miguel: I will have to check that one out as well.

Christina: I listen to it all the time. I have a playlist called faves and it's on it.

Miguel: Of course it is.

Christina: All right. Do you have any other thoughts about Butterfly or just Mariah Carey in general? Oh yeah. You said this is the first time you noticed there's an actual butterfly on the album cover.

Miguel: Yeah, I didn't notice that there was a butterfly on the album cover until earlier this week.

Christina: It’s called Butterfly.

Miguel: I know that but I didn't realize that there was a butterfly on the cover because I just saw her. But now I know.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: That's all.

Christina: Will you be listening to more Mariah Carey from now on?

Miguel: Yes, I won't listen to it excessively, but I will be listening to more Mariah Carey. In the same way that I ended up listening to more Teedra Moses, after listening to you play it all the time and then finally listening to it and liking it.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: I will probably end up listening to more Mariah Carey. I will not be part of the "Lambily" but I will be listening to more Mariah Carey.

Christina: I would say check out The Emancipation of Mimi then.

Miguel: I know some of those songs.

Christina: "We Belong Together."

Miguel: Yeah, I know those. I know the, the hits from that album as well.

Christina: I really like "Stay The Night."

Miguel: But I don't know the, I don't know the album cuts. That's what I need to listen.

Christina: And of course, you gotta go through the remixes.

Miguel: Yeah, of course that goes without saying.

Christina: Yes. Okay. So I guess that wraps that up.

Miguel: Yeah, Butterfly 25th anniversary.

Christina: Also, my birthday!

Miguel: It’s your birthday.

Christina: It's my birthday.

Miguel: This album is a full grown adult, just like you.

Christina: I'm a little bit older than the album though.

Miguel: Just a little bit. You're 27 now.

Christina: I'm 27 now.

Miguel: Okay. If you don't wanna take it.

Christina: Yeah yeah yeah. Actually I don't really care if people know how old I am, 'cause I know I look young, so. On that note.

Miguel: All right. So is there anything else you want to add before we get outta here?

Christina: Well, since it's my birthday, I think, if you're feeling generous, feel free to drop a couple coins in our collection plate.

Miguel: Yeah do that.

Christina: The link is in the show notes.

Miguel: Yeah. Buy us a coffee or a taco or something like that.

Christina: A little treat.

Miguel: Yeah. On that note, we're gonna get outta here now. Make sure to follow us on social media @troypodcast on the bird and the 'gram. You can check us out at That's our website where we have links to the things that we talk about in these episodes, transcripts, all that good stuff, all our previous episodes. So go ahead and check that out. You can follow us individually on social media as well. That's in our show profile. So if you want to follow our personal accounts, you can do that too.

Christina: Since we update so frequently on our personal accounts.

Miguel: Well, if people interact, then I will respond. That's how that works. That's it. So see you guys in about two weeks and go listen to some Mariah Carey. Bye.

Christina: Bye!