Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The #36 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Music Box" by Mariah Carey

This summer, Inside the Rock Era is featuring The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era*.  One by one, we are saluting each of the albums by describing what it was that enabled the album to reach this elite list, how it fared in terms of sales, singles, airplay, chart performance, awards won and a special Inside the Rock Era exclusive called Track Rating*, which essentially measures the consistency of the album.

Here we are all the way up to #36.  It belongs to singing sensation Mariah Carey.  Carey hasn't produced anything in quite some time that measures up to her first few albums, but this one does indeed measure up.  It reached #1 for eight weeks, spent another eight weeks at #2 and two at #3.  Music Box racked up an impressive 33 weeks in the Top 10 and 128 on the album chart (over two years).  Like Faith before it, Music Box reached 10 million in sales.  This one had a bit better Track Rating*, and that is what put it here at #36.  The album also hit #1 in Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.K.

Four singles helped publicize the album, with two of those--"Dreamlover" and "Hero" reaching #1 and going on to become two of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era*.  "Without You" was a top three song and a huge international hit while "Anytime You Need a Friend" was the other release.  "Music Box", "All I've Ever Wanted" and "Never Forget You" are other outstanding tracks.

Carey was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards for "Dreamlover" at the 1994 presentation and for the same award for "Hero" at the 1995 Grammies.  She won American Music Awards for Favorite Rock Female Artist in both 1993 and 1994 for this album and Billboard Music Awards in 1994 for Top Pop Female Artist, Top Singles Female Artist, Top Hot Adult Contemporary Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album Female Artist.  Mariah captured the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Top Pop Female.  Carey won ARIA Music Awards for Most Popular International Solo Single, Most Popular Album of the Year (Music Box) and Best Chart Album Performance, also for Music Box.   

Carey was nominated for Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist in 1993, Favorite Rock Female Artist in 1994 and Favorite R&B Female Artist at the American Music Awards in 1993 and 1994.  She was also nominated for Top Singles Female Artist in 1993 at the Billboard Awards and for Top 200 Album Artist, Top Pop Artist, Top Singles Female Artist, Top R&B Female Artist, Top R&B Album Female Artist and Top R&B Singles Female Artist at the 1994 Billboard Awards.  Carey was also nominated for Best International Female at the BRIT Awards.

The album Music Box gave Carey a nomination for Top Female Album Artist, another for Top Billboard 200 Album at the Billboard Music Awards and yet another for Best Female Album of the Year at the Soul Train Awards.

"Dreamlover" also won a Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Airplay Track, an ASCAP Award giving Carey a Pop Songwriter Award and a BMI Pop Music Award giving Carey Songwriter of the Year and was nominated for Favorite R&B Single at the American Music Awards.  "Hero" won Carey awards for Pop Songwriter and Rhythm & Soul Songwriter at the ASCAP Awards and Best Pop Songwriter at the BMI Awards and was nominated for Billboard Music Awards for Top Hot 100 Airplay Track and Top Hot 100 Singles Song.  "Anytime You Need a Friend" also earned Carey Pop Songwriter Awards at both BMI and ASCAP.

Music Box:
1.  "Dreamlover" (Mariah Carey, Dave Hall) --3:54
2.  "Hero" (Carey, Walter Afanasieff) --4:19
3.  "Anytime You Need a Friend"  --4:26
4.  "Music Box" (Carey, Afanasieff) --4:57
5.  "Now That I Know" (Carey, David Cole, Robert Clivilles) --4:19
6.  "Never Forget You" (Carey, Babyface, Daryl Simmons) --3:46
7.  "Without You" (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) --3:36
8.  "Just To Hold You Once Again" (Carey, Afanasieff) --3:59
9.  "I've Been Thinking About You" (Carey, Cole, Clivilles) --4:48
10.  "All I've Ever Wanted" (Carey, Afanasieff) --3:51

Carey of course doesn't play any instruments and rarely writes her own music.  So she has a lot of people to thank for her albums.  Walter Afanasieff, who wrote the music to many of her songs on Music Box, also played keyboards and synthesizers, Dave Hall also played keyboards and synthesizers and handled the rhythm programming, David Cole played keyboards and Babyface played keyboards and percussion and helped with backing vocals.  Much of the "music" is actually a computer and programming was handled by Ren Klyce, Gary Cirimelli, Ricky Crespo, Shawn Lucas and James T. Alfano.  Michael Landau played guitar on the album, Kayo played bass and Robert Clivilles played drums and percussion. 

Cindy Mizelle, Mark C. Rooney, Melonie Daniels, Kelly Price and Shanrae Price provide background vocals.

Music Box was recorded from April of 1992 to May of 1993 and Right Track Studios in Sausalito and the famous Record Plant in Los Angeles.  Carey, Dave Hall, Afanasieff, David Cole, Clivilles, Babyface and Daryl Simmons worked to produce it.  Carey, Dave Hall, Afanasieff, Clivilles, David Cole and Babyface helped with arranging the order of the songs on the album.  Bob Rosa, David Gleeson, Dana Jon Chappelle, Acar Key, Frank Filipetti and Jim Zumpano were the engineers, Mick Guzauski mixed Music Box and Bob Ludwig mastered it at Gateway Master Studios.  The album was released August 31, 1993 on Columbia Records.

MariahMusic Box places at #36 All-Time.

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