With heartfelt, affecting vocals delivering a timely message ("We're in this together"; "it's curious, the fear still holding us down"), a few classic Mariah high notes and a sick beat drop courtesy Jermaine Dupri that accompanies the entrance of Ms. Lauryn Hill's voice (sampled from the Fugees' Grammy-winning "Killing Me Softly With His Song"), "Save the Day" is pure MC goodness.
On a Zoom listening party with fans, journalists and friends just hours ahead of the song's release, Carey said she's always been a fan of Roberta Flack's original recording of the song and that the Fugees' version was her "go-to record" back in the '90s while on tour. "I love Lauryn, I think she's an incredible artist," Carey said. "I was happy that Lauryn wanted to do this moment with me…. I only wanted to do it with her approval and excitement."
"Save the Day" dates back to a 2011 studio session with Carey, Dupri and Randy Jackson, but it wasn't finished until recently when Carey and Dupri separately realized how fitting the song's lyrics were for the world right now. "It happened organically that the lyrics are so apropos to this exact moment," Carey said, with Zoom guest Dupri adding, "To me this is a Mariah Carey record from her heart."
As for The Rarities, Carey revealed it touches on "every era," featuring "a song that could have made it to an album." As an added bonus for the Zoom listening party, she played a snippet of a Jackson 5-esque song that dates back to her 1990 debut. "We went to the vaults and found a lot of what I consider treasures," she said.