Some may look at me sideways for the title of this post, but look on! I’ve been a Mariah Carey fan since Music Box in 1993. It was the first cassette tape I ever owned and at age 9, I wore it out. Now, 21 years later Mariah Carey’s still in the public eye and every now and then releases an album.
Her new album’s title, “Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse,” is just as disjointed as some who are not Mariah fans feel that her later body of musical work is. However, I am a fan and the title does not bother me. A complaint about Mariah’s later work is that it is “overproduced,” and this album will in no way put that criticism to rest. However, what it does do is carry her back to her love of hip hop while at the same time displaying her raw vocals more than her last album, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.”
So why is Mariah still EVERYTHING? For one, she’s still sassy. If you don’t think so, just listen to ‘It’s a Wrap,’ a song which features a guest appearance by Mary J. Blige. This is one of my top three songs on the album. As you can guess from the title, it is a breakup hit for the masses and as Mariah’s vocals come in proclaiming, “Yet another early morning and you walk in like it’s nothing…” my first thought was “Damn, she is in rare form!”
My other top picks from the album are ‘camouflage’ and ‘Heavenly.’ ‘camouflage’ is one of the few ballads on this release and is classic Mariah, so I have to love it. ‘Heavenly’ is her take on the old gospel adage ‘I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.’ I must admit, Mariah shines when singing gospel songs, which explains why they are so heavily included on her Christmas albums. ‘Heavenly’ is no exception and is sure to be one of everyone’s favorites.
Further, Mariah does not have to please anyone at this point. Yes, she wants to sell records and sell out shows, but really the lady has done her thing for years and at this point anything else is icing on the cake. I like that she is doing what she wants with her music now, if she wants to do a song of runs, she does it. And that does happen on this album.
Go out and buy the CD, download it. It is largely mid-tempo and features guest appearances from Nas, Miguel, Wale, Fabolous, R. Kelly, and Mary J. Blige.
And yep, this disc includes “Beautiful” with Miguel. The single was released last summer and fans have been waiting for the album ever since. It is a great addition to your summer music playlist. Thanks Mariah, you elusive chanteuse.