Writer(s): Mariah Carey, Dave Hall (see lyrics here)
Released: July 27, 1993
First Charted: July 30, 1993
Peak: 18 US, 14 CB, 17 GR, 19 RR, 2 AC, 2 RB, 9 UK, 16 CN, 7 AU, 24 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.15 UK, 1.575 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 47.82 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Mariah Carey burst onto the scene in 1990 with her self-titled debut album. It made her a superstar, peaking at #1 for 11 weeks on the Billboard album chart and selling over 15 million copies sold worldwide, fueled by her first four singles topping the Billboard Hot 100. Her second album, Emotions, experimented with house music and more R&B. It peaked at #4 and only sold about half what its predecessor did, but generated three more top-5 hits, including the #1 title cut.
Then Mariah married Columbia’s label chief, Tommy Mottola. He now saw her as “an investment to be protected” SG and the label wanted a full-on pop album with Carey marketed as “an old school balladeer,” SG more like the first album. The result was Music Box, which found her back atop the Billboard album chart with worldwide sales of 28 million, making it not only her most successful album, but one of the best of all time.
While the album “is absolutely choked with puffy, grandiose ballads” SG the lead single, “Dreamlover,” was an exception. Unlike Mariah’s previous chart-toppers, this one wasn’t built specifically to showcase her voice. SG It “is, quite simply, a jam.” SG It “is an effortless floater. It drifts along, euphoric and frictionless, radiating joy in every direction.” SG The song “evokes classic pop without sounding like a savish attempt to recreate classic pop sounds.” SG It “seems to exist out of time.” SG
Mariah co-wrote and co-produced the song with Dave “Jam” Hall, a producer who had worked with Brand Nubian, Heavy D, and Mary J. Blige. They listened to loops from old records, building “Dreamlover” on a groove sample from the Emotions’ 1971 song “Blind Alley.” She’d previously used the groove from the group’s “Best of My Love,” a #1 song from 1977, for her song “Emotions.”
The song also samples Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.” The group was formed by Talking Heads’ members Tina Weymouth and her husband Chris Frantz. Their 1982 hit has been sample dozens of times but this is their favorite. Weymouth said, “I think it reminds her of a happy time in her life, and what she’s done with it is very sweet.” TB
First posted 4/10/2023.