At the time of the “Butterfly” album’s release, Mariah Carey told the Los Angeles Times: "At this point, I feel free enough to express what I’m really feeling, without using a smokescreen… It’s definitely an evolution for me." “Butterfly (Made in Austria)” — @mariahcarey
“Butterfly (Made in South Africa)” — @mariahcarey
This evolution meant that there would be a greater acknowledgment of her urban and hip hop influences and the last time that she worked significantly with her original producer, Walter Afanasieff, who had given her signature, ballad-heavy sound.
Butterfly was Mariah Carey’s sixth album and the one where she departed from the formula that had been established on her breakthrough single, 1990’s Vision of Love.
The album was released after Carey’s much-publicised split with her husband and mentor, Tommy Mottola, the then-president of Sony Music Entertainment.
As a result, Butterfly is Carey’s last truly great album to date. The main singles, Honey and My All (both US chart-toppers), demonstrate the record’s two approaches.
It encapsulates her more traditional, straight ballad approach with Latin overtones. Across Butterfly, these styles meld together effortlessly.
However, the real joy is in the relatively dreamy down-tempo vibe of the remainder of the album. The Roof, produced by the then lava-hot Poke & Tone production duo, is probably the best example of this floating, ethereal soul.
Of course, being a Carey album, there is some requisite showboating (Whenever You Call, Outside), but judicious programming makes Butterfly a real treat, and comes recommended to those Carey doubters who have never strayed beyond her singles.
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