[originally published for the “Endless Playlist” series @ Wendy’s Subway]
It comes as no surprise to any self-proclaimed lamb that Mariah Carey should choose a live recording of her 1995 hit “Fantasy” to soundtrack her twins’ birth. Amidst a career and vocal range of dizzying heights, the Daydream lead single stands out as one of the elusive chanteuse's most singular feats. I find myself so often returning to its music video, for a plethora of reasons: the fact that it was shot on-location at Rye Playland, a stone’s throw from my childhood home; it being the first music video that Carey was permitted to self-direct and produce; its effortless consummation of her longstanding flirtation with a hip-pop sound she’d been hitherto dissuaded from pursuing by her racist and abusive manager-cum-husband. And then, of course, there is the unmistakable joy of watching Carey relinquish control as soon as she seizes it, roller skating and coasting with an abandon that feels at once earnest and earned.
Interpolated almost exclusively from a couplet in Carey’s first verse — “Mmm, baby, I'm so into you / Darlin', if you only knew” — and lacking an obvious chorus altogether, Q’s “Take Me Where Your Heart Is” gives us the ascent of the ride without the payoff of the fall, teasing out the sweltering, Summerian jubilance of its source material into a sensuously slow burn. If “Fantasy” is an eighties funk-tinged paean to rapturous love, then Q’s rendition takes us to the unsung side of the fantasy: before the chorus, the windswept hair, or the cathartic surety of falling, when all that remains is a vision of surrender, an imminence of absolute immolation.