Sunday, 25 May 2014

Album Review: Mariah Carey - 'Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse'...

This week, Mariah Carey drops her 14th studio album 'Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse.' Following motherhood, and a controversial stint on American Idol, Mariah focuses solely on the music despite quite a few false starts. Now that she's 25 years into her career, MC is ready to make an impact once again with this project, which has been a work in progress for four years. The album features appearances from Nas, Wale, Fabolous, Miguel, and her twins. Plus, production from Hit-Boy, Jermaine Dupri, Rodney Jerkins, Mike Will Made It, and more. Check out my track by track review below!

Cry - Those crying for some old-school Mariah can now wipe away those tears and shut up. In all its piano-laced glory, this has similar vibes to 'Vanishing' alongside some 90's ballad realness. She drowns herself in sadness while seeing her happiness slipping away. A little random that she would give the album such a sombre opening but in a way, it re-introduces the listener to those post-birth vocals. And they never went away. 4/5

Faded - Relative to anyone that is just coming out of a break-up. The layering of vocals are stunning and her signature whistle notes at the end showed this really was her colossal moment. Mike Will Made It also laced her up with a really hot beat, which serves as one of my favourite songs on the album. 4/5

Dedicated - This "ladidadida" hook is so damn catchy. Mariah and Nas find themselves chilling in '88 when Hip Hop music was at its coolest. As a result, MC wanted to bring back some nostalgia, which she didn't fail. Of course nothing beats their 'Make It Last' remix but it was nice seeing them hook up again. 3/5

#Beautiful - opens with a solo 60s style guitar, and provides the summery throwback of a finger-snapping love anthem. When it was released, I applauded Mariah for stepping out of her comfort zone and doing something different. The breezy number is really good for letting you daydream about love affairs and romantic picnics. I just wish it was more Mariah on the record because it came across as a Miguel track with MC as the guest feature. 3.5/5

Thirsty - I love feisty Mariah. We saw how she's not one to hold back on 'Obsessed' and others, and this serves as flawless shade to whomever she's speaking of. The song is trap beats mixed with hip-hop production and reaches out to the younger audience who love all things celebrity culture, Hollywood and Instagram. Although Hit-Boy recycled Jay Z and Kanye's 'N*ggas in Paris', Mariah does compensate by owning the record in the end. 3/5

Make It Look Good - Stevie Wonder offers his talents to this throwback jam by doing that harmonica in the background. The song definitely has an old Motown feel to it, a lane owned by legendary Wonder himself during the 80s. It has positively rubbed off on Mariah and I only wished that he shared his vocals on the track as well. 3/5

You’re Mine (Eternal) - This romantic piano ballad feels very formulaic Mariah. On multiple occasions, she's tried to replicate 'We Belong Together' and the mega success that came after it. This gets tediously boring. After all, some formulas are only made to work once. It's still a pretty song but nothing new for her unfortunately. 3/5

You Don’t Know What To Do - The Wale-assisted cut should have been the first single. This is such a catchy throwback disco bop mixed in with a slice of 80s soul. That intro is so gospel and her vocals stand out on uptempo cuts like these. It's just disheartening she spent most of this era releasing ballads to "prove" she can still sing. 5/5

Supernatural - One of the cutest, giggly and sparkly R&B songs you will hear in recent times. Ms. Monroe did her thang here. There's nothing more precious and endearing than hearing a mother's unconditional love for her children and those children aka Dem Babies reciprocating that very same love in return. Vocally she went awwwff with that belt at the end and caught my spirit completely. 4/5

Meteorite - Without needing to name drop, she came for the fame hungry 15-minute celebs with Meteorite's Warhol quote, and then continued to inspire. I mean, that's what Mariah does. It's deliciously shady but done so classy. Q-Tip provides the clubby disco beat which is packed with a lot of boogie dance-floor stomp and it's fun overall. Very retro and a throwback to Donna Summer. It had to grow on me at first but eventually it did. 3/5

Camouflage - This is a really pretty ballad despite its crippling heart-wrenching lyrics. She's cruising on it, in dimensional ways providing main and back-up vocals, harmonies and whistle too. It's signature Mariah most of all, and I love it. 4/5

Money ($*/…) - I'm sure this serves very little comfort to all the broke folks out there hearing one of today's richest singers talking about money (and all things luxury) being meaningless. However, this trumpety number, courtesy of Hit-Boy, kind of knocks with its thumping production and Fabulous delivers a really solid verse. 3/5

One More Try - One thing you can not say about Mariah is that she butchers a cover. I don't think I've heard a bad remake from Mariah. You shouldn't touch other people's songs if you can't do them justice and boy, she sure did do George Michael some serious justice. Her low and middle notes really struck a chord on the song and I think George would be beyond honoured with what she did with his song. Everyone gets scared to unmask their vulnerability from time to time so it's an easy song to relate to. 5/5

Heavenly - Mariah loves to end her albums with that inspiring, soul-searching gospel tune. The oldschool pastor preaching his words of praise in the background, the choir and Mariah's significant key changes has you feeling you're encountering a passionate church sermon through song. It's really drum heavy and very uplifting. We all need to listen to music like this every now and then to inspire positive change in our lives. 4/5

Conclusion: This album is her best work since 'The Emancipation of Mimi.' It doesn't trump that album of course but it's better than every album she's released after that one. There is something for the younger generation, the older generation and the oldschool heads who have followed Mariah's career from day one. It is a very solid body of work and I'm happy to say she did not disappoint with this album.

Toya gives 'Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse' 4/5 stars.
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