Fantasy by Mariah Carey
By Ron Powers
The year is winding down and I’ve got just the song to keep your spirits up and hips swaying through the rigmarole of the holidays. With one of the most danceable beats ever pressed to wax, “Fantasy”, by Mariah Carey, sounds as fresh in 2023 as it did the day it hit the airwaves. Upon its release in 1995 the song garnered praise by critics around the world and shot to number 1 on the Billboard charts in the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. “Fantasy” is composed of perfectly catchy melodies, lyrics, and an upbeat feeling that is sure to deliver high spirits and funky fun.
The song begins with an arrangement of dreamy synthesizers conveying an almost fairytale-like feeling. Additionally, we hear Carey’s extended melody notes mix with the music deepening the enchanted vibe. As the brief intro draws to a close, a pause in the music opens a space for Mariah’s iconic high-pitched voice to belt out a culminating melody. This is followed by the song’s ultra catchy beat. A beat that’s been making bodies move for nearly three decades now.
For the verse music, a three-part melody arrangement composed of overdubs sung by Carey provides not only a snappy hook but an airy and soaring feeling as well. Scat guitar is also sprinkled throughout the music enhancing the funky feeling pulsating around this song. Additionally, snare mixed with claps and thumping kick drum hold down the rhythm of the verse while the bass follows the kick deepening the groove. The verse lyrics feature Carey singing about her boyfriend and expressing how attracted she is to him. With its relatable words and perfectly poppy melody, “Fantasy” has had little trouble connecting with millions around the world.
Flowing seamlessly from the verse Carey transitions into one of the best pop choruses of all time. Here the addition of synth pads fill the stereo field and add an expansive touch to the music. Hip hop synth melody lines are also added bringing a fun vibe to the party as they dance around the mix. The chorus hook seals the deal with an iconic topline and multiple harmonies singing the words, “But it’s just a sweet, sweet fantasy baby / When I close my eyes / You come and you take me”. Some finishing touches are added to the vocals as Carey loosely follows the top line with flurries of ad libbed style melodies. This adds a soulful freestyle feeling to the music and keeps things from getting too mechanically pop.
Mariah Carey will be hitting the road this November and December with thirteen concerts lined up around the United States. You can visit mariahcarey.com for the tour schedule. If you’d like to listen to “Fantasy”, or any of Carey’s other pop hits, you can find them on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold. If you’d like to learn more about Mariah Carey you can find information on Wikipedia, Instagram, Facebook, and X.
About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.