But as Elvis himself said, 50 million—or in Carey’s case, 61.5 million—fans can’t be wrong, said Jody Rosen in Slate.com. Considering that Carey made her debut less than 20 years ago, she deserves a little respect from all “the haters.” Her voice—“that cyclonic force capable of hurtling unnumbered octaves, shattering crystalware, and inducing musicogenic epileptic seizures in Japanese women”—has influenced countless contemporary pop singers, for good or ill. All this tells us is that no. 1 hits are no longer a signifier of true cultural influence, said Mario Tarradell in The Dallas Morning News. Carey’s recent success is a product of the collapsing music industry and the rise of digital downloads. As one of a dwindling number of big-name acts, she has less competition. Still, if she surpasses the Beatles’ record of 20 no. 1s, I’ll shed a tear.
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