Producer: Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, Jr.
Nothing has ever made me regret not going to summer camp more than Mariah Carey’s video for “Always Be My Baby.” But leading a life of bunk beds, tire swings, and moonlit underwater makeouts is not required to understand the sentiment of Carey’s everlasting “moment in time,” that, well, didn’t pan out. The video for the song, written by Carey, Jermaine Dupri, and Manuel Seal Jr., is so charming, so innocent that it temporarily makes you forget that these verses are about a fractured relationship. “Now you wanna be free, so I’ll let you fly,” Carey coos in her breathiest head voice. She “ain’t gonna cry” or beg her guy to stay, but that’s mostly because she is convinced that he’ll come back eventually. Because “time can’t erase a feeling this strong”…right? The words alone convey a sad hope, but no bleakness triumphs over the joyous keyboard chords, the snapping beat and Carey's conviction that it will all work out. This might be the cheeriest torch song ever written. —Christine Werthman