First Hit #1: August 4, 1990
The Canadian band Stars recently released a song called A Song as a Weapon. If this is the case, what weapon would artists represent? Whitney Houston is probably a rocket-propelled grenade, even if she’s far off target she had enough power to make an impact. Keeping with the era, Janet Jackson would probably be a small handgun, effective when used properly, but not particularly powerful. Today’s subject, Mariah Carey, would have to be a sniper rifle. She’s got a lot of range, and she can be used effectively when someone knows what to do with that range, but when she’s off target it can be a disaster.
Vision of Love, for the most part, isn’t a disaster, but it is a case study of what is right, and what is wrong, with Mariah Carey overall. What is right is the majority of the song, she’s got a good voice, and when she’s showing some restraint she can connect to the vocal and even give it a bit of pathos that it might not otherwise have. She even does her own backing vocal, which is sufficiently different from the lead to give the song texture – Carey is great when layered, possibly because she has that impressive range. Overall, it’s nudging towards being over the top, but it’s a pretty good ballad in an early ’90s mold, at least for a little while. But, unfortunately, because she’s got that range, she’s got to show off, so at about the three minute mark she has to break off and sing all the notes. Now, instead of hitting the target she takes out the windows of city hall and accidentally wounds a passing cyclist.
Vision of Love is a great showcase of Carey’s voice, and also evidence that maybe someone should tell her she doesn’t need to use all of it all the time.