With my social life taking a hit during quarantine, I’ve been spending a lot more time reading.
How do you expand your vocabulary?
Do you read books? Articles? Listen to speeches?
I enjoy both of these activities, but one of my favorite ways to learn new words is to listen to Mariah Carey.
A 2015 study by SeatSmart indicated that Mariah Carey had the “smartest lyrics” of any artist. And did you know she writes ALL of her songs?
If you take a close look at some of the interviews Mariah has done over her 30-year career, you’ll notice her incessant effort to be recognized as a both a singer and songwriter. Many know her for being one of the greatest voices of all time, but overlook her songwriting ability.
Mariah says that people even think her iconic hit, All I Want For Christmas Is You, is a holiday song that she covered, but it is complete Mariah original, written by her.
So yes, not only does Mariah write her songs, but she incorporates some million dollar vocabulary words!
Mariah’s Smart Song Lyrics
Let’s do a deep dive on some of the more advanced vocabulary words Mariah has incorporated into her discography over the years.
There’s Got to Be a Way (1990)
Meaning: lack of the means of subsistence; utter poverty.
Lyric: And maybe then the future will be a time / Without war, destitution and sorrow
Meaning: delight beyond measure
Lyric: I was so enraptured / No sensibility to open my eyes /I misunderstood
Meaning: to disenchant
Lyric: I don’t want another pretender / To disillusion me one more time
Meaning: difficult to find
Lyric: Oh, I can’t be elusive with you honey
Meaning: to give in, submit, or yield
Lyric: It’s easy to succumb to overwhelming fears inside
My All (1997)
Meaning: decorated with brilliant colors
Lyric: I can see you clearly, vividly emblazoned in my mind
Fourth of July (1997)
Meaning: being or showing a sign of evil
Lyric: So threateningly, ominously hovering / and the sky opened wide
Close My Eyes (1997)
Meaning: to scatter in various directions
Lyric: I left the worst unsaid / Let it all dissipate and I try to forget
Meaning: unending; without interruption
Lyric: Heartbreaker you’ve got the best of me / But I just keep coming back incessantly
Meaning: sadness; gloom; dejection
Lyric: A boy and a girl befriended me / We’re bonded through despondency
Thank God I Found You (1999)
Meaning: plain; clear; straightforward
Lyric: After so much suffering I finally found unvarnished truth
Never Too Far (2001)
Meaning: comfort in sorrow
Lyric: Incandescent eyes still preserved in my mind / In the memories I’ll find solace
Subtle Invitation (2002)
Meaning: belonging naturally, essential
Lyric: Like you’ll always be, an intrinsic part of me / Even though life goes, ooh
It’s Like That (2005)
Meaning: freedom; liberation
Lyric: It’s a special occasion / Mimi’s emancipation
It’s a Wrap (2009)
Meaning: compliant; cooperative
Lyric: I was oh so acquiescent / But I learned my lesson
Angel’s Cry (2009)
Meaning: common or widespread
Lyric: Limitless, omnipresent kind of love / Couldn’t have guessed it would just stop / And disappear in a whirlwind
Meaning: lacking discretion
Lyric: Oh my love, imprudently I left every cell in me so naked
With You (2018)
Meaning: a feeling of fear or alarm about something that may happen
Lyric: She was full of such trepidation / There in front of the whole damn nation
What’s Next for Mariah?
These songs and vocabulary words just scratch the surface on Mariah Carey’s songwriting talent. This September, she is releasing a new album called The Rarities, as well as a memoir called “The Meaning of Mariah Carey.” I hope the memoir gives us a glimpse into Mariah’s 30-year-career of songwriting and using her voice to make art.