Every year, on the first of November, while children are coming down from their sugar highs and parents are recouping from hours of tricking and treating, Mariah Carey awakes to announce to the world that “it’s tiiiiime!” Houses are still adorned by pumpkins and a sea of foliage, and faux cobwebs are tussled over windows and bushes, but when the Queen of Christmas declares the start of the holiday season, there is no room for rebuttal. And, Carey’s self-penned 1994 colossal-sized hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” is the safest bet to convert any Scrooge into a believer.
In all its cheery glory, that 4-minute-long song has unequivocally become the starting point for season’s greetings. But unlike Carey’s coveted holiday anthem, a darker side to the most wonderful time of the year looms over the heads of many who are in desperate need of some yuletide spirit. A side that is, in fact, the complete opposite of the star’s jubilant number-one hit, and best voiced by another cut from the Mariah Carey Christmas catalog, “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time).”
“Miss You Most” serves as one of the three tracks written and performed by the songstress from her first holiday album, Merry Christmas. A stark contrast from the jingling grandeur that decorates “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from start to finish, “Miss You Most” is a lot less merry and bright, and a lot more teary and dim. As Carey’s voice soars over a quiet, piano-driven backdrop, the song’s agonizing lyrics are a painful reminder of how the season of merriment could also be the most devastating when there’s no one to share it with. “Every other season / Comes along and I’m alright / But then I miss you most at Christmas time,” she sings. Be it a lost love, a former friend, or even death, “Miss You Most” carries the painful sentiments to these kinds of adversities that so many are forced to face in the midst of gift giving and tree trimming – regardless of how much of it they try to avoid. In a 2019 interview, Carey opened up about the song during a Q&A session in support of the 25th anniversary of Merry Christmas. “People tell me it’s a really, brutally sad song,” she said. “Some people get depressed around the holidays, and I totally understand that, that’s why there has to be something for everyone.”
Despite not joining the ranks of becoming yet another holiday classic, Mariah Carey fans have continuously shown “Miss You Most” some much needed love with each passing Christmas. And, even though we’ve never gotten a full live performance of the song by the chanteuse herself (except for a tiny excerpt in 2018), the Christmas ballad has begun to trickle into musical memory in recent years, having been covered by singer-songwriter JoJo and even comedian Billy Eichner on “The Late Late Show” last year. But this isn’t enough for Carey’s army of #lambs, who await and pray that each coming holiday season will be the year that “Miss You Most” earns a spot in any of the star’s seasonal projects. Now, that would really make all of our wishes come true.