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on January 29, 2013
If you are just a casual Mariah Carey listener and not a hardcore fan, you should know that she switched record labels after 2000. They really should have called this "The Essential Mariah Carey: The Columbia Years". (They have done that with other artists in these collections). So if you are wondering why "We Belong Together", "Shake It Off", "Touch My Body", etc. aren't included here, that's why. You'll have to wait until her current label wants to release a "Greatest Hits Volume 2". I could see that happening following her next album.

The tracklist here is very similar to her 2001 "Greatest Hits" album, but with a couple "hits" replaced with songs that Mariah herself likes. Fans know this. She took out "Someday" and "Forever" - two songs Mariah has made obvious that she does not like. These were replaced with "Vanishing" and "Close My Eyes" - songs Mariah is really proud of and are "fan-favorites". "The Roof" was also added, which casual fans will probably remember better if you looked up the video on YouTube. "Bliss" is an odd addition IMO and should have been replaced with "Crybaby".

The other difference between this and Greatest Hits is that remixes of "Emotions" and "Anytime You Need A Friend" were included instead of the original versions.

So if you are just looking for a 100% Greatest Hits album with the original versions, you should just go with the very similar "Greatest Hits" release from her. In fact, that collection is essentially a chronological singles collection. But if you don't care about "Someday" or "Forever", then definitely get this instead, as "Vanishing", "Close My Eyes" and "The Roof" are better than some of the other songs that were hits.

Only other criticism - who cares that it's a Christmas song... "All I Want For Christmas Is You" should be on this.

Also, if you remember her song with Bone Thugs, "Breakdown", you should know it's not on this collection OR on "Greatest Hits"... so you should definitely download that on it's own or check out "The Remixes" which has that track and some of those popular Mariah remixes you may have forgotten about, like "Always Be My Baby" and "Heartbreaker".

There are quite a few Mariah compilation albums out there. Look around and find the one that fits what you're looking for. Again, to date they are all compiled of her 1990-2000 Columbia days (with the exception that The Remixes has versions of "Loverboy", "Through The Rain", and her song with Busta Rhymes "I Know What You Want"
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on May 9, 2012
This is a great deal for a Mariah Carey cd. It is a two disc edition for a great price with some of her best songs on it. I know that the track listing is almost identical to 2001's Greatist Hits, but they do this with all of the legends like Elvis and the Beatles. They want to keep her music alive and out there, so I appreciate this release. This has reportedly been remastered, so that is a good thing since I believe Mariah Carey has the most beautiful voice the world will ever hear. One thing to remember is that this only has famous Mariah Carey songs from 1990-2000, anything after that has not been compiled into a second greatest hits cd yet.
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on June 20, 2012
Mariah Carey is arguably the best selling female artist in the world (a title that's hotly contested by her equally legendary peers, Madonna and Celine Dion), and the sheer depth of Ms. Carey's catalogue speaks to that. Since her debut in the spring of 1990, she has overtaken Elvis Presley's record of #1 hits on Billboard's Hot 100; the first fifteen of these chart-toppers released during her time at Sony BMG's imprint Columbia Records, and the latest #1 being the Island Def Jam single "Touch My Body".

It's at best a headscratcher, then, that her post-Sony output has been completely ignored by Columbia in favour of a retread of her Nineties back catalogue.

To add insult to injury, however, this 2CD collection also doubles as an inferior re-release of her 2001 collection, Greatest Hits. At least Greatest Hits had the excuse of trying to stem the tide of a dark period in Mariah's career -- a year plagued by anti-Glitter sentiments and the tabloid fodder of Mariah's alleged breakdown -- by reminding the public of her hitmaking past.

The Essential Mariah Carey has no such rationale. With her biggest misstep now more than a decade behind her, and her since having returned to form as an artist, it makes no sense to ignore her more recent releases.

And when I said that Essential is a double-dip of Greatest Hits, I wasn't exaggerating. The hits "Someday," "Forever" and "Sweetheart" were swapped for three non-commercial tracks ("Vanishing" from her 1990 self-titled debut, "Close My Eyes" from 1997's Butterfly and "Bliss" from 1999's Rainbow), the album versions of "Anytime You Need A Friend" and "Emotions" were replaced by their club mixes, and the cute bonus remix of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" was jettisoned for Ms. Carey's collaboration with Mobb Deep ("The Roof").

And.... well, that's it, really. The Mobb Deep track is the only item that hasn't been on a physical album proper, and was previously only available on the digital edition of The Ballads (also a second-rate collection, given the sheer volume of ballads and downtempo songs Mariah has churned out).

It's rather insulting that such a collection has been released. The existence of both Greatest Hits and 2003's The Remixes in Mariah's catalogue render The Essential Mariah Carey moot. And, as I said, her post-Sony catalogue has also been ignored.

You want to know how egregious that particular oversight is? Well then, here's a list of Mariah's US hits (major and minor) from 2001 to the present day:

1. Loverboy (#2 Hot 100, #1 R&B, - from 2001's Glitter)
2. Never Too Far (#17 AC - from 2001's Glitter)
3. Through The Rain (#1 Dance, #17 AC - from 2002's Charmbracelet)
4. I Know What You Want (#3 Hot 100 & Rap, #2 R&B - from 2003's The Remixes)
5. Bringin' On The Heartbreak (#5 Dance - from 2002's Charmbracelet)
6. U Make Me Wanna (#8 R&B, #9 Rap - from Jadakiss' 2004 album Kiss of Death)
7. It's Like That (#1 Dance, #16 Hot 100, #17 R&B - from 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi)
8. We Belong Together (#1 Hot 100, R&B, Dance, Pop, #3 AC - from 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi)
9. Shake It Off (#1 Pop, #2 Hot 100 & R&B - from 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi)
10. Don't Forget About Us (#1 Hot 100, Dance & R&B - from 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi)
11. Fly Like A Bird (#19 R&B - from 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi)
12. Say Somethin' (#1 Dance - from 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi)
13. Touch My Body (#1 Hot 100 & Dance, #2 R&B, #7 Pop - from 2008's E=MC2)
14. Bye Bye (#18 Pop, #19 Hot 100 - from 2008's E=MC2)
15. I Stay In Love (#1 Dance - from 2008's E=MC2)
16. Obsessed (#7 Hot 100, #1 Dance, #8 Pop, #12 R&B - from 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel)
17. I Want To Know What Love Is (#2 Dance, #10 AC - from 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel)
18. Oh Santa! (#1 AC, Holiday - from 2010's Merry Christmas II You)

True, there's not as many Top Tens as in her heyday, but they do exist, after all. At the very least, the three Hot 100 #1's ("We Belong Together," "Don't Forget About Us" and "Touch My Body") should have been included to round out the collection. At least The Remixes had the decency to include remixes of "Loverboy", "Through The Rain" and "The One," the radio edit of "I Know What You Want" and the track "Miss You."

But The Essential Mariah Carey extends no such courtesies, and thus fails to live up to its name.

This two-disc set could have been a far stronger retrospective of Mariah's chart-topping career but, as it stands, its narrow scope (and the fact that the discs are nowhere near their full capacity) merely makes it a weak echo of her more superior compilations. So, if you can, just find a copy of her Greatest Hits and, if you're into both her club music and her hip-hop collaborations, pick up The Remixes while you're at it. Both together will set you back about the same as (or perhaps even less than) The Essential Mariah Carey... but you'll have twice as much music.

P.S. If you also want an example of a double-disc anthology done right, give a listen to the late Donna Summer's Gold collection, released in 2005 and containing 34 of her greatest hits (a remarkable achievement in updating her previous Anthology, as Donna's catalogue is stretched out over more than 30 years and half a dozen different labels!).
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on May 11, 2012
This is a great collection of songs that showcases Mariah Carey's long-lasting career starting in 1990 through 1999. I'm just a little disappointed that certain songs were not included like "Someday" (instead, replaced by "Vanishing") "Breakdown" and the gospel-brassy inspired "If it's Over". But all in all, it's a great collection for all the loyal Mariah fans out there.
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on May 8, 2012
The fifth compilation released by Sony, The Essential set fills another 2 discs with Mariah's greatest hits, along with a few non-singles the singer is especially fond of, from the first decade of her career, 1990 to 2000. You can find most of these songs on 2001's original Greatest Hits, but this set features club mixes of Emotions and Anytime You Need a Friend (which both can be found on 2003's The Remixes), the Mobb Deep Extended Mix for The Roof (why it wasn't included on the Remixes record, I don't know, but whatever), and swap album tracks Forever and All I Want For Christmas Is You (So So Def Remix) for Close My Eyes and Bliss. If you're a casual fan just getting into Mariah's music, it wouldn't hurt to start here. If you're looking for the Mobb Deep Extended Mix, you can finally buy that track.
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on January 9, 2016
As I became older her duet with the late and great Luther Vandross of."Endless Love" truly speaks to my soul! It's so romantic when I was a kid I wasn't a fan of this song at all now I love it! This cd reflects that Mariah is such a huge talent in the music world! These songs bring back so many memories and even today they still are songs that you can vibe with and just enjoy!
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on January 3, 2015
I actually like this compilation better than the Greatest Hits compilation even though it is missing "Someday". The remixes are kind of cool and I like the omission of "All I Want For Christmas is You". I'd rather hear that song on just the Christmas album instead of on a compilation. I also would have liked to have her performance of "Against All Odds" on here, but it still is a good collection of Mariah Carey songs in chronological order. Plus the songs sound better in the 2012 remastering.
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on November 25, 2012
I have the majority of these songs on my Mariah Carey studio albums and I've heard every single song on here before but I'm guessing (?) these are tracks that Mariah is fond of. I know "Underneath The Stars" is one of her old favorites. I love that song too and think it's a little better than its sister song "Fourth Of July" from "Butterfly".

But anyway, I like how this collection goes on from her first self-titled album to "Rainbow" in order. It really flows well. Some of my favorites from this collection of songs is "Love Takes Time", "Bliss" which hails from the "Rainbow" era and has multiple whistle register notes for the chorus, "I Don't Wanna Cry" which is my favorite from Mariah Carey, "Can't Let Go", The Badfinger cover "Without You" which is a power ballad of love, "My All" which used to be my favorite from "Butterfly" and "I Still Believe" which served as a wonderful cover of Brenda K. Starr's hit from the 80s.

Overall, there are no major complaints from me about this disc. Maybe I'll get it down the road when it becomes cheaper used just so I can have "I Still Believe", the remix to "Thank God I Found You", "Anytime You Need A Friend (C&C Club Version)" and The Mobb Deep version of "The Roof" which I love.

Have a good day, Mariah fans!

4.5 stars.
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on November 23, 2012
I was so excited to find out that Mariah was getting the Essential treatment. I was disappointed to find that it has remixes and it wasn't thirty tracks but besides that it's a great album. I couldn't believe they made her album twenty - eight tracks instead of thirty they couldn't find two more tracks to fill the album? As many songs as this woman has done they couldn't find two more tracks to fill the album. That is the one major problem for me with the album. The other was that they but remixes on the album instead of the regular version of certain songs which I preferred the regular version. Not saying I don't like they remixes but these songs are classics and don't need to be mess with. Like the saying goes if it's ain't broke don't fix it. One of the duets I'm not feeling is Thank God I Found You. I didn't like the song when it got release and I still don't like the song. A lot of fans are saying to stay away from this release because it's just a repackaging of Mariah Greatest Hits but there are mixes, and a duet that aren't on the greatest hits. I love this release more than the greatest hits because in my opinion there better songs on this album.
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on July 7, 2013
Basically never listened to Mariah Carey. I'm 64. Somehow missed her.Did not really care for her on American Idol as a judge. But then I heard her sing on the show. She was incredible. So went to Amazon and bought a a couple of albums. They are wonderful and now I can see why Randy was always commenting on what a great voice she has.
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