Rolling Stone (10/28/93, p.76) - 3 Stars - Good - "...Every song on MUSIC BOX, an album dominated by huge soaring ballads, has been written and arranged as a potential home run...a sustained passion enhances the record's wedding-album feel...."
Q (2/02, p.120) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Loaded with big sentiments and notes that only dogs can fully appreciate, this 1993 celebration of the all-conquering power of love was her defining moment..."
Musician (11/93, p.88) - "...This isn't the flashiest singing she's done, but it's better for its restraint..."
Personnel: Mariah Carey (vocals); Michael Landau (guitar); Walter Afanasieff (Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards, synthesizers, programming); Dave Hall (keyboards, synthesizers, programming); Babyface (keyboards, drums); David Cole (keyboards); Kayo (bass), Robert Clivilles (drums); Ren Klyce, Gary Cirimelli, Ricky Crespo, Shawn Lucas, James T. Alfano (programming); Mark C. Rooney, Cindy Mizelle, Melonie Daniels, Kelly Price, Shanrae Price (background vocals).
Producers include: Walter Afanasieff, C&C Music Factory, Dave Hall, Babyface, Daryl Simmons.
Engineers: Dana Jon Chappelle, David Gleeson, Manny LaCarrubba.
"Dreamlover" was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in the 36th Annual Grammy Awards.
"Hero" was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
Mariah Carey's ascension to the top of the charts is an affirmation of her deep affection for the roots of popular music, to wit, gospel and R&B. She's not the first pop vocalist to find commercial and artistic bliss in black music, but her efforts are among the most heartfelt and convincing. And with the surehanded support of contemporary music's most creative producers and songwriters, Carey has developed a smooth, brassy sound signature all her own.
What makes it all happen is that luminous, vaulting voice, one of the surest most impassioned instruments in all of pop, capable of leaps in register most vocalists can't even imagine, yet alone execute. Her dark ornaments and trilling upper register cries on "Dream Lover" make this plain. On power pop ballads like "Hero" and "Anytime You Need A Friend"--with their gospelish "To dream the impossible dream/The greatest love of all" cadences--Carey's over-the-top expressive range sparks these arrangements to one emotional catharsis after another.
It is Carey's new found restraint--reining in her voice to suit the emotional fabric of each tune--that marks her growing maturity. The lush understatement of her singing and Walter Afanasieff's charts on the title tune, allow the tender grace of the song's lyrics to shine through--without superfluos vocal acrobatics. Ultimately it's Carey's reserves of vocal power, barely constrained on "Never Forget You" (with Babyface), that brings her fans back time and again.
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