“I Don’t Wanna Cry”

’90s No. 1s Revisited: “I Don’t Wanna Cry”

The fortieth No. 1 song of the 1990s was “I Don’t Wanna Cry” by Mariah Carey. With this track reaching to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, Carey went 4 for 4 with the releases from her debut album. No artist, before or after, has matched or surpassed this feat. This was just the beginning of what would be a record-shattering career for Carey.

Sometimes a hot artist will find a way to send mediocre songs high up the charts simply on the basis of their fame. In this case, as it turns out, “I Don’t Wanna Cry” is a beautiful song in its on right. It’s slow without being boring, and emotional without being too melodramatic. The instrumental arrangement is masterful, and, of course, Carey’s vocals are second to none.

Let’s enjoy “I Don’t Wanna Cry”:

Praise for Carey’s music usually goes right to her voice because it’s astounding what she can do. But we would like to put some attention on what a great track this is, even without vocals. As with her preceding hits, particularly “Love Takes Time,” “I Don’t Wanna Cry” has just the right touches to firmly classify it in the ’90s as opposed to the ’80s. The chord progression at the foundation is elegant and touching, and from a production standpoint, reverb here is clean, the guitar arrangement is tender and emotionally in line with the theme, and even the percussion — though some might find it dated — is perfectly tremendous. And, of course, Carey’s vocals take everything up to a heavenly place. A masterwork, this is.

Was it dope? You don’t send all four releases from your debut album to No. 1 unless you’re the hottest thing around. Carey was the “It” girl of this moment, and this track is a justification, and its success is confirming evidence.

Does it hold up? Yes. Of the four singles from Carey’s debut album, this one actually may hold up best in many respects because it is, in fact, remarkably similar in production quality to one of her No. 1 hits from 2006, “Don’t Forget About Us.” Granted,  that song is now 10 years old, but it just goes to show that what’s old always becomes new again.

Dopeness: 5 out of 5 Birkenstocks

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idontwannacry
Mariah Carey
“I Don’t Wanna Cry”
2 weeks at No. 1, starting May 25, 1991
Preceded by: “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game),” Hi-Five
Followed by: “More Than Words,” Extreme

’90s No. 1s Revisited is a regular feature on “Was It Dope?” where we walk through every No. 1 song of the 1990s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in order, give it another listen, and answer two critical questions: Was it dope? And does it hold up?

– John

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