Protest as she may -- and she does, claiming in the liner notes that #1's is "not a greatest hits album! It's too soon, I haven't been recording long enough for that!" -- it's hard to view #1's, Mariah Carey's first compilation, as anything other than a greatest-hits album.
Carey was fortunate enough to have nearly every single she released top the pop charts. Between 1990's "Vision of Love" and 1998's "My All," all but four commercially released singles ("Anytime You Need a Friend," "Can't Let Go," "Make It Happen," "Without You") hit number one, with only a handful of radio-only singles ("Butterfly," "Breakdown") making the airwaves, not the charts. That leaves 12 big hits on #1's, all number ones. Since Carey's singles always dominated her albums, it comes as no surprise that #1's is her best, most consistent album, filled with songs that represent state-of-the-art '90s adult contemporary and pop-oriented urban soul. That said, it isn't a perfect overview -- a couple of good singles are missing because of the self-imposed "#1 rule"; plus, the Ol' Dirty Bastard mix of "Fantasy" is strong, but fans familiar with the radio single will be disappointed that the chorus is completely missing on this version.
The album is also padded with a personal favorite (her Brian McKnight duet "Whenever You Call," taken from Butterfly) and three new songs -- the Jermaine Dupri-produced "Sweetheart," the Whitney Houston duet "When You Believe" (taken from The Prince of Egypt soundtrack), and "I Still Believe," a remake of a Brenda K. Starr tune -- which are all fine, but not particularly memorable. Still, that's hardly enough to bring down a thoroughly entertaining compilation that will stand as her best record until the "official" hits collection is released.
|Sweetheart / Rainy Davis / Pete Warner||Mariah Carey feat: JD||4:25|
|When You Believe [From "the Prince of Egypt"] / Babyface / Stephen Schwartz||Mariah Carey feat: Whitney Houston||4:36|
|Whenever You Call / Mariah Carey / Ben Margulies||Mariah Carey feat: Brian McKnight||4:23|
|My All / Mariah Carey / Narada Michael Walden||Mariah Carey||3:52|
|Honey / Mariah Carey / Robert Clivillés / David Cole||Mariah Carey||5:00|
|Always Be My Baby / Hal Davis / Willie Hutch / Berry Gordy, Jr. / Bob West||Mariah Carey||4:19|
|One Sweet Day / Walter Afanasieff / Mariah Carey / Dave Hall||Mariah Carey feat: Boyz II Men||4:42|
|Fantasy / Walter Afanasieff / Mariah Carey||Mariah Carey feat: Ol' Dirty Bastard||4:54|
|Hero / Adrian Belew / Mariah Carey / Chris Frantz / Dave Hall / June Shellene / Steven Stanley / Tina Weymouth||Mariah Carey||4:20|
|Dreamlover / Walter Afanasieff / Mariah Carey / Michael McCary / Nathan Morris / Wanya Morris / Shawn Stockman||Mariah Carey||3:54|
|I'll Be There / Mariah Carey / Jermaine Dupri / Manuel Seal, Jr.||Mariah Carey feat: Trey Lorenz||4:25|
|Emotions / Mariah Carey / Sean Combs / Kamaal Fareed / Sass Jordan / David Morales / B.J. Robinson||Mariah Carey||4:10|
|I Don't Wanna Cry / Walter Afanasieff / Mariah Carey||Mariah Carey||4:49|
|Someday / Rainy Davis / Pete Warner||Mariah Carey||4:07|
|Love Takes Time / Babyface / Stephen Schwartz||Mariah Carey||3:49|
|Vision of Love / Walter Afanasieff / Mariah Carey||Mariah Carey||3:31|
|I Still Believe / Antonina Armato / Beppe Cantarelli||Mariah Carey||3:54|