Mariah Carey's 9 Best Break-Up Songs
Since Mariah Carey first broke through with 1990's "Vision of Love," the prolific belter has offered soundtracks for both the lovers and the lonely. It's the latter, though, who get best treated by Carey's heartstring-tugging hits -- name the break-up, Mariah's sung about it.
Whether wallowing (hey, who hasn't been there) or moving onward and upward (preferably in the club), there's a soaring classic from her 25-year-long (and counting) career to help you through.
Here are 9 of Billboard's go-to tracks for when tissues and wine aren't quite cutting it.
Mariah wrote this, the deeply personal title track off her sixth album, while separating from first husband Tommy Mottola. "At that point I really believed that I was going to go back to the marriage -- I didn't think I was going to leave forever," she said later of the song, which she's called her favorite ballad.
“Up Out My Face” (feat. Nicki Minaj) (2009)
Once upon a time, a pre-"Monster" Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey got along well enough to join forces for this empowering song, perfect for letting that special someone know that the ride has come to an end. Sure, the video looks a little like a sexy Target ad -- but who better to lift you out of a funk than two of music's biggest divas (with an assist from The-Dream and Tricky Stewart)?
Sure, Mariah's as good with a kiss-off as anyone -- but on this classic track, she admits that it’s not always the easiest thing. The song's “I can’t wait to hate you" refrain is instantly memorable, and provided fuel for one of the late-aughts' most inspired (and Gucci Mane-featuring!) remixes.
“Heartbreaker” (feat. Jay Z) (1999)
This beyond-addictive single hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 (marking Jay's first), as Mariah proved heartbreak needn't be morose. Get played? Just turn it into a hit song, preferably with production from New York stalwart DJ Clue.
“Shake It Off” (2005)
The title of this irresistibly bouncy track says it all: dump the loser already. "You wasn't worth my time, so I'm leaving you behind," sings Carey -- just two of the countless hard truths she drops throughout the song. With longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri behind the boards for the snappy, Usher-inspired beat, it's hard to go wrong with this one when you're in need of an ego boost.
“Breakdown” (feat. Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone) (1997)
This harmony-laden track had Mariah (and her Bone Thugs cohort) keeping it all too real about how hard it can be to keep things together during even the most amicable of partings. Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone (and some optimistic birds tweeting in the background) flesh out this slow-burning anthem.
"Crybaby" (feat. Snoop Dogg) (1999)
Again, it's all in the title. This vivid single finds the singer unable to sleep, consumed by thoughts of a former paramour. Look out for the video's crucial throwback texting, and angsty food-throwing -- all very relatable.
“Always Be My Baby” (1996)
One of Mariah's most iconic songs takes... well, a more optimistic tack on heartbreak, to put it gently. The almost-threatening track ("Don't you know you can't escape me" "You're never gonna shake me") finds the singer completely certain that her and her beau's parting is only temporary. Good for a confidence boost.
"We Belong Together" (2005)
"When you left I lost a part of me," sings Mariah -- and the whole nation, heartbroken or not, sings along.