Entertainment

20 Reasons We’re Still Dreaming Of A Mariah Carey Christmas

‘Tis the season for Mariah Carey. Every year since 1994, the soulful chanteuse’s song “All I Want For Christmas” makes its climb to the top of Billboard charts, making its mark on local radio stations, and proving its staying power as the most deserving modern performance of the classic holiday canon.

1. “All I Want For Christmas” was part of Carey’s first holiday album.

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“Merry Christmas” was the fourth studio album. The agents and studio execs behind her albums had only seen famous singers with waning careers do albums as a last ditch effort to gain money and attention from fans. Initially, they had tried to dissuade the singer from performing the song, but Carey and her then-husband Tommy Mottola decided to do otherwise. went full Christmas.

2. The song was written in 15 minutes.

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Carey co-wrote the holiday hit alongside songwriter Walter Afanasieff, who has admitted in interviews that the speed at which they wrote the song might have been the main contributor to its success. “It was an easier song to write then some of the other ones. It was very formulaic; not a lot of chord changes. I tried to make it a little more unique, putting in some special chords that you really don’t hear a lot of, which made it unique and special. I think that’s one of the components that made it unique year after year. That part of it took maybe an hour, and then I went home.”

3. Carey wasn’t originally interested in recording the album

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In his autobiographical book, “Hitmaker: The Man and His Music,” Carey’s former husband and music executive  Mottola wrote that when Carey first heard of his idea to do an album she said, “What are you trying to do, turn me into Connie Francis?”

4. There are no musicians playing in the song.

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Embracing the digital age, Carey’s co-songwriter Afanasieff arranged the whole thing on his computer. 

4. Mariah’s ex-husband made a cameo in the music video.

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Tommy Mottola made a cameo as Santa Claus in the video. In it he is the one person Carey wanted for Christmas and who ultimately gave her a gift on a red sleigh.

5. It’s not the only song with that name. 

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Mariah Carey’s hit is a true original, but the title of the song had been used before. Just a few years before, country group Vince Vance & The Valiants’ released “All I Want For Christmas is You” in 1989.

6. They love it in Japan.

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“All I Want for Christmas” was a commercial hit in a lot of countries, but the song took on a cult status in Japan. It also topped charts in Hungary, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

7. The song was recorded in the summer.

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The Christmas classic got its start during one of the hottest months of the year. Still, even though the song was written during the hot season, Carey was still able to get into the Christmas mood.  “We had Christmas trees and lights brought into the studio to get us in the mood,” said co-songwriter Afanasieff. “There was even talk of bringing in some snow at one point, but we didn’t go with that, thank God!”

8. The song was a hit amongst goats apparently.

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Back in 2010, a British goat farmer revealed that his goats produced more milk when they were played a loop of Carey’s hit.

9. It’s Carey’s greatest international success.

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The song has reached global sales of over 14 million copies. It ‘s the singer’s greatest international success and the 11th best-selling single of all time.

10. The song still makes that money. 

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As of 2013, the song earned $50 million in royalties. And just when you thought that could be it. The song reportedly gets MORE popular every year.

11. The song got adopted into a book

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The book came out in 2015.

12. The song has three music videos.

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Carey directed a video in the style of a  classic home movie which was filmed by her in Christmas of 1993. She then did, another one inspired by The Ronettes. There’s also a remix one that is animated and featured Lil BowWow.

13. The song has been featured multiple times.

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The song was covered by the likes of Shania Twain, Demi Lovato, John Mayer, and My Chemical Romance.

14. It’s been praised as groundbreaking.

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In an analysis of the song’s harmony, Adam Ragusea of Slate wrote that  “despite its seemingly simplicity, a relatively sophisticated piece of pop songwriting that has more in common with the Great American Songbook than it does with any of its peers on the charts in 1994.”

15. It’s the most successful Christmas song written after 1963.

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The most popular Christmas songs on American radio were all written between 1934 and 1963. That is until Carey’s song came out.

16. The song is every kind of person friendly.

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Co-writer Walter Afanasieff explained that Carey “created a lyric that probably, to this day, is the only uptempo Christmas love song. I think people like this positive love song because it’s interchangeable: Anybody can sing it to anybody. It’s about everybody, and it can only mean one thing from father to child or mother to child or wife to husband. It’s just, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You.'”

17. Justin Bieber recorded a cover of it.

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In 2011, Bieber covered the song in his “Under the Mistletoe” album. Bieber had originally attempted to cut the song in a lower range but Carey proposed that they record the song together as a duet.

18.The song was featured in the 2003 hit film “Love Actually.”

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In a classic cover of the film, Olivia Olsen sang the song in a school Christmas concert.

19. After  Mariah Carey became the first rider on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, the song made an appearance.

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Carey made her appearance in March 2015, and appeared on the show again to sing  “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which was slice with footage of Carpool Karaoke guests singing along as well including Lady Gaga, Elton John, and Adelle.

20. Some people have been a grinch about it.

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In 2015,  conservative magazine writer Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard wrote”‘All I Want’ is a bit of musical misdirection, a love song swaddled in Christmas clothes (velvet miniskirt, Santa cap)… The seasonal references to reindeer and snow and Santa and Christmas trees are used as a means to convey the singer’s earthier, and less Christmassy, need for a hunk-a hunk-a burning love.”

LOL.


Read: Up Next: Meet Melymel, The Dominican “Mamá del Rap” Ready To Be The Global Matriarch Of Spanish Hip-Hop

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These Empowering Latina Jams Are Perfect To Add To Your Galentine’s Day Playlist

Entertainment

These Empowering Latina Jams Are Perfect To Add To Your Galentine’s Day Playlist

Happy Galentine’s Day, mamis! What, you never heard of the holiday? According to Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, who made it a thing, “it’s only the best day of the year.” And she ain’t lying. Galentine’s Day, observed February 13, is a day to celebrate love — between your hermanas!

As the fictional character played by Amy Poehler in the series said, it’s “ladies celebrating ladies.” Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s a time to bring your closest gals together, either for brunch, evening cocktails, mani-pedis or an old-school slumber party, and bask in the beauty, love and joy of your friendship.

No Galentine’s Day commemoration would be complete without some girl power tunes. Here, a celebration playlist you and your bella squad can bang out to while toasting to being ride-or-dies.

1. Remind your mamis what’s in store for them this Galentine’s Day with “Ladies Night.”

This Lil’ Kim classic, featuring Boricua Angie Martinez, Left Eye, Da Brat and Missy Elliot, will undoubtedly get the squad hyped for the Galentine’s festivities to come.

2. Today’s all about feelin’ good, so you have to bring out Demi Lovato’s “Confident.”

On Galentine’s Day, you shower your femme squad with compliments — as you probably do any day of the week — and try your best to make sure the whole gang knows their worth.

3. Remind your nenas they are bomb just as they are with Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo.”

Sure, if we’re being real with our chicas, as we should be, there’s room for all of us to grow as individuals, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t great already. Colombiana Li Saumet will have all the gals loving on themselves, and all their complexities, with this 2016 banger.

4. If this is a single ladies kind of festivity, pull out Paloma Mami’s “Not Steady.”

If your squad is the type that yells “soltera para siempre” as they toast their champagne, you need this chilena’s bop about not wanting to settle down blasting at the pari.

5. Remind your amigas that lovers “Can’t Hold Us Down” with this Christina Aguilera and Lil’ Kim classic.

Even if your squad is mixed, with single ladies and mujeres in relationships, both will appreciate la ecuatoriana’s still-relevant message about not letting your boo, or the patriarchy, keep you down.

6. After all, you can’t tame a boss bitch.

Just ask puertorriqueña Kelis, whose 2006 jam “Bossy,” featuring Too $hort, will have all the girls embracing their inner jefa.

7. Ride out with the nenas as the car radio blares Selena Gomez’s “Me & My Girls.”

Pre-game: check. It’s time to hit the dance floor, and this young mexicana will have you and your chicas feelin’ alive and set to shake the night away.

8. Put your worries aside with Mariah Carey’s “It’s Like That.”

As the venezolana says, “no stress, no fights … no tears, no time to cry.” Tonight is all about you and your girls livin’ it up. So heed Mariah’s advice and “open off that Bacardi” and feel “so hot tamale.”

9. Feelin’ it yet? Good! ‘Cause Cardi B’s “Money Bag” is about to have all the mamis twerking.

Like the dominicana’s own “bloody gang,” your crew is so bad that you’re out on the dance floor lookin’ “like bridesmaids,” so do like Cardi and drop that confident ass low.

10. But make sure Ivy Queen’s “Quiero Bailar” reminds everybody else that this is a Galentine’s Day party.

Swaying those hips is catching some attention. No one hates when some of the girls dance up with folk who aren’t in the crew, but let the Bori reggaetonera let the desperadxs know this is a girls’ night and the crew is going home together — punto.

Read: Watching Women In Her Life Abandon Relationships When Romance Arrives, This Latina Is Calling For A New Love Hierarchy

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Día De Los Reyes Was The First Time I Allowed My S.O. To Experience My Culture

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Día De Los Reyes Was The First Time I Allowed My S.O. To Experience My Culture

For many who regularly take part in the holiday season, Christmas traditions are strongly tied to religious beliefs and practices. The ways in which the customs around the holiday season are carried out often deeply rooted in cultural rituals and they often vary from family to family. For my Puerto Rican family, the holiday season is drawn out well past the first of January when radio stations reel back on the jingles and Mariah Carey classics. For us, the Twelve Days Of Christmas sales or songs we know of don’t relate to the days leading up to December 25, but rather the twelve days in between Christmas Day and January 6 The Epiphany, a biblical day that marks the final leg of the  Three Wise Men’s journey to deliver gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus Christ.

Día De Los Reyes has always been an especially important day for my family. The fact that “reyes” is my mother’s maiden name has only made the day a little sweeter.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

A more popular holiday back on the island, my abuela and abuelo Reyes brought their traditions to the mainland with them in the 1950s.

On the evening of January 5, each member of my family from grandfather to my youngest sobrino pull out cardboard shoe and clothing boxes (all marked with our names, drawn on and decorated over the years with crayons, markers, and glitter pens) to take part in a tradition that we hold dear in our hearts. After we’ve filled the boxes with snacks like carrots, lettuce, and sometimes grass for the Three Kings’ camels to munch on as they pass through our town we stick the boxes under our beds. Finally, just as we would with Santa Claus, we write the Three Kings–Los Reyes–a handwritten note wishing them safe travels as the journey to see the baby Jesus hoping that as they did with him on that first Epiphany, they’ll leave a small gift or token of some sort under our boxes.

Dia De Los Reyes functions similarly to Christmas Eve in my family. We all wake up and check under our boxes to see if we were good enough this year to receive any gifts. We’d go to mass together, where as kids we’d hope that maybe Los Reyes stayed in town with their camels long enough that day to be at the church community center to pose for photos. We would visit family and eat pernil and arroz con gandules, dishes reserved for celebrations and holidays.

As I got older I went to mass only sometimes and stopped looking to get my photos with Los Reyes.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

I never stopped checking my box for gifts though, or remembering each rey by the names older relatives taught me to write in my letters: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. As an adult I focused on new ways to celebrate “being a king,” as my family would say, and took on the role of expert coquito maker.

When I started dating and began wanting to bring boyfriends home for the holidays, part of my new role during the holiday season also unintentionally became one of both gatekeeper and teacher of my Puerto Rican culture. As a sophomore in college, I brought my then boyfriend home for December for the first time. In my household, Noche Buena, Christmas Day, New Years Day, New Year’s Eve, and Dia De Los Reyes were all days set aside for family, exclusively. I knew not to ask for exceptions, and in the past had willfully or grudgingly passed up holiday and New Years parties to honor the expectation of being en familia.

But in my twenties I badly started to yearn for my first New Years kiss and wanted, even more, to share part of my twelve days of Christmas with somebody who mattered to me.

My parents, on the other hand, were hesitant. Dia De Los Reyes was about Los Reyes, as in my family.

My boyfriend was someone they saw a few times a year and knew of only from phone calls, letters, texts, and video chats. Someone so unfamiliar certainly wasn’t considered family, and moreover someone who wasn’t Latino couldn’t possibly understand the sanctity of the day we’d honored so lovingly all our lives.

Most concerning of all, Dia De Los Reyes is also known among some circles as “the poor man’s Christmas,” my grandparents’ explanation being that back in the days of Jesus, being a king didn’t mean wealth like it means today. It meant that the giftschildren and observers receive in their boxes today are small, like a $10 gift card, socks, some mittens, or maybe candy. The last thing my family needed was for some guy they didn’t know to reach into an old shoebox of all things, pull out socks, and think we were cheap. With some convincing and a little grumbling, my family allowed me to write my boyfriend’s name on a box, fill it with lettuce and put it under my bed on January 5.

That night as I lay in bed, I did feel nervous knowing that I was bringing somebody into such a special part of my life that no one had ever seen before outside of my parents. Earlier in the day, I made sure to explain to him how seriously my family took our family only traditions, and how it wasn’t just about the religious holiday but the namesake that ties us to one another. I felt silly as I highlighted decorating beat-up boxes as one of my favorite traditions, something I hadn’t ever admitted out loud. Quiet and reserved, he listened to my stories but didn’t ask any questions.

In the morning, I still had my family only morning mass and our opening of gifts, but later that day my boyfriend was invited over for pasteles, coquito, and the checking of his first and only Three Kings Day box.

My parents observed with critical eyes as he went through the motions of our traditions, seeming charmed by the gifts of a hat and gloves left resting on top of torn up shreds of lettuce, proof that Los Reyes had come through our house. As he followed our lead I sat hoping that by participating in the events himself, he might better understand where my love for my culture comes from, or maybe even briefly feel the same sense of childhood joy I do on that day each year. Admittedly, it was an awkward day for everyone involved and not filled with all the magic I had hoped for. Nonetheless, I still felt proud of myself for being able to break down a barrier that had long existed between myself and not only romantic connections but a friend, too.

I wanted the opportunity to show those outside of my family the part of my identity that I hadn’t always made transparent in my daily life, even if that meant that they didn’t understand or wouldn’t “get it” at first.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

Even though the person who got to take the test run of my family only traditions and I aren’t together anymore, a few years ago he broke the mold for being able to bring others into a part of my life I was using to shutting so many close to me out of.n Maybe he did think that of us, our gifts, or the day we celebrate as cheap, but after the fact I, didn’t care. In the years that have followed, what has mattered most to me has been that I could start sharing Reyes, this name that laid down the foundation to who I am before I was ever born, and all the nuances that come with it with those I want to know me better.

This Dia De Los Reyes will be one of a few Reyes family festivities that my current boyfriend will be participating in, and another year where my family pulls out his box and welcomes his extra cheer into our holidays. While he’s still learning about my roots, I’m still learning that I can take these moments and use them to bring myself closer to my culture and my loved ones.


Read: Twitter’s Latest Hashtag Fights Back Against The Normalization Of Death And Violence Against Migrant Youth

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