From the Vault...


Mariah Carey
"MTV Unplugged EP"

© Columbia Records


track listing
  • Emotions
  • If It's Over
  • Someday
  • Vision Of Love
  • Make It Happen
  • I'll Be There
  • Can't Let Go

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    Mariah Carey
    "MTV Unplugged EP"

    The concept of "unplugged concerts" on MTV was becoming a regular event. "Unplugged" indicating no electrical instruments; or "stripped" from the studio techniques used to improve recorded tracks. Basically singer(s), acoustic guitar(s), and an audience. Mariah Carey was one of many to have an "unplugged" concert. On some occasions, the concert would appear on album/cd. In her case, 7 songs would emerge, as MTV Unplugged EP was released in 1992.

    At the time, Mariah Carey's current album, Emotions was released, her second album of her career. From her start, and for her first 10 years, she would achieve one or more songs from each of her albums during each year of 10. A #1 song would emerge from this EP, a very impressive version of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There," featuring guest vocalist Trey Lorenz.

    "Emotions" would be from her studio release of the same name, as it was also #1. "If It's Over" was also from the Emotions album, as it has a rich and powerful gospel feel. (Just amazing that throughout the years, she never released an all-gospel album like this particular track. Sure, some songs from her studio releases did have the gospel touch, but not an entire album of it.)

    "Someday" (another #1 studio hit) would first surface from her self-titled debut, Mariah Carey. Another track from this album, "Vision Of Love" would be her first #1 hit. (And truthfully, I think this song is her best song of her career.) As powerful as this song has always been, I'm sure it was amazing to watch live. "Make It Happen" would be originally released from the album Emotions.

    Her version of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" proved to be a very powerful force. Not only it being the great Jackson 5 song, but it was recorded live, with a great backup of singers, and Carey's powerful voice. It would be the main highlight of the album, as the other tracks were already well-known, and the remaining were mostly album cuts from her most current album, Emotions The EP ends with another Emotions album track, "Can't Let Go."

    Again, Mariah Carey's voice of most of the tracks shines in a gospel feel. As mentioned, she never recorded an all-gospel album like these songs. The well-known #1's were done well, maybe just not as done well as the original studio versions. It's the live atmosphere in performing these tracks without the studio tricks that made each "unplugged" concert unique.

    This was only an EP, and I often wonder if there were only songs performed, but didn't make the EP. Maybe these were the only 7 tracks performed on the show. In resesarching, there wasn't a mention of other songs, likewise an expanded version of the concert. MTV's Unlugged was on for one hour. All 7 tracks clocked in at 28 minutes. Of course, during the concert event, commercials were presented, taking up more time. But only 7 tracks within one hour, makes you think there might have been at least two, or maybe three more that were performed. After listening to this EP, you're waiting for more, but you realize this was part of a live television show, under an hour time limit. (An interesting note -- Randy Jackson was the bass player. Randy, of course, would be one of the original judges on American Idol. And I'm sure it was Randy's help in getting Mariah Carey to judge alongside him in Season 12. Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban also joined as judges. It would be only one season as judge for both Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Randy Jackson left as judge the following year to become a mentor. He left the show after Season 13. Keith Urban still remains as judge, now in it's 14th season. His fellow judges are Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. The three judges have been together for two years now -- Seasons 13 and 14.)

    I only give it two stars, although I never did see the concert live, or even after the performance. Based on listening alone, you're wanting more. Mariah Carey's star was just shining, as she had only two albums released at the time of this concert. Her earliest years were her finest, in my opinion. Listening to songs such as "Vision Of Love," "Someday," and "Emotions" were her proudest moments. Her version of "I'll Be There" became the concert event's main highlight of the evening. These performances are 3-stars each. But as a whole, you're wanting more.

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    Aerosmith--Honkin' On Bobo
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    Luciano Pavarotti--Romantica: The Very Best Of