Whether you love her (like me) or loathe her (like my wife), you have to admit Mariah Carey has had a pretty amazing career. Miraculous, even. She’s had 19 Billboard #1 hit songs – 19! – which places her only one fewer than the all-time record holders, a mop-top band out of Liverpool called The Beatles, whose last chart-topper was in 1970. Carey’s latest #1, on the other hand, was accomplished just this month, but with a song that she recorded back in 1994. That’s right, Mariah Carey’s modern-day holiday classic, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You,’ ascended for the first time in December of 2019 to be Billboard’s #1 hit song, a nice round 25 years after it first debuted. That, my fellow holiday revelers, is just about a Christmas miracle.
So, no, Mariah’s career did not die a humiliating death following her mortifying Milli Vanilli meltdown on New Year’s Eve, 2016, as some may have assumed. Her inexplicably ubiquitous seasonal tune had 185 million streams last December alone, the song’s YouTube video has been viewed more than 600 million times since 2009, and, anchored by her inescapable megahit, for the last five years Carey has been performing a slate of Christmas shows that just finished this year’s run with a sold-out concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden. You may even remember her song having been performed, with syrupy, heart-tugging merriment, during the climactic scene in the 2003 rom-com, Love Actually, a film which has enjoyed a similarly strange and indescribable holiday longevity. Sure, it’s sappy and preposterous, but still kind of irresistible. A little like Carey herself. In the spirit of this holiday season, I wonder if maybe my wife will revel in its quintessential Christmas vibes and give poor Mariah a break. Now that would be a true miracle.
(a new 2019 video cut, featuring previously unreleased archival footage)
(from “Love Actually”)