April 20, 2019 / 11:20 AM

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Mariah Carey's 5 Bestselling Albums: 'Daydream,' 'Emancipation of Mimi' and More


Mariah Carey released The Emancipation of Mimi—what many considered to be a comeback for the performer, who was one of the best-selling artists of the '90s—ten years ago on this day. It ended up becoming one of her bestselling releases, so Music Times has gathered up the bestselling of releases of Carey's career, including Daydream, Emancipation and more.

05) Mariah Carey (4.9 million albums sold)

Mariah Carey was destined to be a superstar right from the get-go, even if her best sales were yet to come. When building up a multi-platinum sales effort, nothing does more than the first week of sales. For example, Taylor Swift has sold 4.7 million copies of 1989 to date, and nearly 1.3 million of those copies came during the first week. Carey didn't have that sort of boost from her first week sales however and she had to work uphill to platinum status. Mariah Carey debuted at no. 80 on the Billboard 200 and continued to move forward. The album didn't end up making it to no. 1 until its 43rd week on the charts, thanks to her live performance at the 1991 Grammy Awards. After that it would run until it had sold 4.9 million albums, right on the verge of the becoming her fifth album that's gone more than five-times platinum in the United States.

04) Merry Christmas (5.4 million albums sold)

It's not hard to imagine that Merry Christmas would have been a huge seller, especially with the prominence of her hit single "All I Want For Christmas Is You" every holiday season. The album didn't do nearly as well as might have imagined when it first dropped during 1994 however. The album peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard 200, never getting any higher. What's helped it of course is the aforementioned prominence of the hit single from the album, as buyers continue to come back every year and buy more copies of the record. Heck, it currently still outsells the second Christmas title that Carey released during 2010 (Merry Christmas II You). This may yet be her most profitable album however, as it's sold nearly 5.5 million copies of the record itself plus 14 million copies of the single "All I Want For Christmas Is You," making it the no. 11 bestselling song of all time.

03) The Emancipation of Mimi (6 million albums sold)

As we mentioned before, The Emancipation of Mimi was seen by many as the comeback album after a relative drought of hits for the vocalist. "We Belong Together" would become her first no. 1 song on the Hot 100 since 2000, and further hits would come in the form of "Shake It Off" (which went to no. 2) and "Don't Forget About Us," which would also go to no. 1. Singles don't lie when it comes to Carey, and Mimi would go on to sell more than 6 million copies. Unfortunately the comeback wouldn't last too long: Although the next album E=MC² would go platinum, it would only sell about a quarter of what Mimi had. Following that next release however, Carey has not come close to cracking the million-album mark.

02) Music Box (7.3 million albums sold)

It would be hard to day that Mariah Carey had a sales slump between her first and third albums—we don't really suggest selling 4 million copies of second album Emotions a "slump"—but she definitely brought it hard for her third release, Music Box. Interestingly however, this title—which would go on to sell more than 7.3 million copies—didn't debut at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 either. This time it came in at no. 2 (compared to no. 80 for Mariah Carey) and eventually worked its way to the top, staying there for eight non-consecutive weeks. That makes this her second bestselling album in the United States...but not for the rest of the world. Music Box is actually her overall best-seller, having moved more than 32 million copies around the globe.

01) Daydream (7.7 million albums sold)

Finally, after four previous studio releases, Carey finally got to the top of the Billboard 200 with Daydream. Part of the sales success was thanks to Columbia Records, which dropped the record on October 3. That may seem like eons before the holidays but it played into the shopping season perfectly, peaking commercially during the week of Christmas, selling 760,000 copies. Thanks to that strategic placement and hit singles such as "Fantasy" and "Always Be My Baby," Daydream would go on to sell nearly 7.7 million copies, making it the second highest-selling album of 1996 and the no. 18 bestselling album of the '90s.

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