Music

Mariah Carey might release her secret 1995 Alt-Rock album

“Malibu” is very telling of what we’re missing.

words by: Kayla Carmicheal
Sep 27, 2022

Is there anything that Mariah Carey can’t vocally do? When you think about her eras, the pop diva has covered a myriad of sounds and styles, excellently. She’s been able to bounce back gracefully from things that are enough to make anyone want to quit forever. And now, thanks to her memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, we know that in 1995, it was Daydream by morning and a secret alt-rock album by night.

 

But here’s the thing: This project wasn’t totally a secret. There’s even music videos up on YouTube, like “Malibu” — a fun, electric, and catchy declaration about looking perfect and not caring about anything. “Demented” is the moody ballad — it has a sick drum beat and some of the most grunge camera work and distortion I’ve ever experienced. The infectious bridge, “I crave you til I turn blue” is a slow build up to the powerful “I’m so demented,” screamed at the chorus. It almost sounds like No Doubt or Alanis Morissette.

 

So, pause. Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey, was able to be a part of a grunge band and nobody knew about it?! During her breakout years?! How?

 

 

The making of the record

Let’s take it back to 1995. Carey is being weighed down by the insane demands of her label and desperately needs an outlet where she can do whatever she wants. Something fun, something free. With her producer, she toys around with the idea of making punk music for kicks and giggles. An alter-ego inspired by Malibu Barbie, Sleater-Kinney, and Hole at the helm, expressing everything Carey was feeling. And most importantly — not caring about it.

 

On Twitter, Carey shares this excerpt from her memoir: “I was playing with the style of the breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time. You know the ones who seemed to be so carefree with their feelings and their image,” she recalls. “They could be angry, angsty, and messy…while every move I made was so calculated and manicured. I wanted to break free, let loose, and express my misery—but I also wanted to laugh.”

 

 

And so, the band Eel Tree, and their record, Someone’s Ugly Daughter, sort of just happened. It was low-key, old-school, and free of worries. Carey expresses that the project was “Just for laughs, but it got me through some dark days.” The sessions were so cathartic to her that she began to look forward to the midnight to 6 a.m. romp with her team.

 

It was a completely different element — Carey was able to experiment and build songs naturally. Members of her team mention how they would call whoever came to mind to offer ad-libs and guest spots on the record as needed. It was a breath of fresh air. And then, Sony found out.

 

The making of Chick

When the record label discovered the project, Carey wasn’t allowed to release the it with her vocals. That would compromise the image they were working so hard to maintain. They renamed the band Chick and made her nix some of the record’s explicit lyrics. And the two biggest changes, Clarissa Dane was brought in to record over Carey’s voice and serve as the frontwoman, and the album was moved to Epic Records.

 

In September, with very little rah-rah, the record dropped, “Demented” and “Malibu” serving as singles. And since they didn’t do well, that was pretty much it. Alt radio thought it was too pop to play, and it failed to make much noise.

 

But now, it’s 2022, and Mariah Carey is in control of her career. She found her original record, and she told Rolling Stone that there’s hope for the OG yet, saying it’s something “we should hear, but also, I’m working on a version where there will be another artist working with me…. Possibly something built around the album.”

 

For now, that’s enough for me. From what you can hear of Carey in the two singles, some ad-libs and background vocals, it leaves so much promise for what the OG possesses. Even the two re-recorded singles (the full record can’t be streamed) I love. There’s traces of Carey all over it, from the album art she made to the lyrics where she mentions what she’s going through. I hope Someone’s Ugly Daughter, the Mariah Carey version, sees the light of day soon.

 

 

And if Apple Music could release it in Spatial Audio, that would be great. I’m sure Spotify users have their own version of surround sound.

 

Photo via Getty