GT Music

Review: Mariah Carey – Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse

In case you hadn’t heard, Mariah’s back, and she’s got a brand new album...

With her first original album since 2009’s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Mariah Carey is back on the scene, and we’re here to dissect the award winning, multi-million selling diva’s latest effort.

The first track, Cry, serves as the perfect introduction with an overall gospel sound, and initially breathy vocals from Mariah. Until the voice truly kicks in, and we’re treated to the notes we would expect from a woman with an impressive five-octave vocal range.

Continuing onto tracks such as Faded, produced by Mariah and Mike WiLL Made-It, the producer responsible for a large portion of Miley Cyrus’ tracks, and Dedicated (Feat. Nas), which suggest that the album is still building towards something bigger, despite the bass-heavy beats of Faded.

Lead single, #Beautiful (Feat. Miguel) is a great combination of Mariah’s signature voice, with Miguel’s soulful vocal. Although Carey steals the show during her verse, we can’t help but think the song should be called, #Beautiful (Feat. Mariah Carey). It does seem to be dominated by Miguel for the majority.

By the time we reach Thirsty, the album’s fifth track, the album starts to bloom. Layered with harmonies, a typical RNB beat, and an all too infectious hook, we’re unable to tear ourselves away. Mariah’s unresolved note at the end of the song left us wanting more.

Not one to leave us disappointed, Carey teamed up with Jermaine Dupri, who helped write Mariah’s hit We Belong Together, and Bryan-Michael Cox, who penned hits like Burn and Confessions with Usher, to produce four tracks for the album. The outcome: four of the album’s biggest belters.

From the relentlessly disco sounding You Don’t Know What To Do (Feat. Wale), to the immediately dramatic Make It Look Good, or the laidback (albeit incredibly long) cover of George Michael’s One More Try, to the ever so slightly creepy Supernatural. Seriously, it has singing babies in it. It gave us the shudders.

There are plenty of down-tempo moments throughout, with tunes like Camouflage, a gentle piano ballad, or Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can’t Give Up Now), with another lean towards the gospel sound. Then of course, there’s the single You’re Mine (Eternal), which as far as singles go, is pretty underwhelming.

The tracks we left until last are possibly the album’s only low points. Meteorite seems to just go on, with the same beat, and a monotonous bass line. Unfortunately, even Mariah’s high-notes couldn’t save it. Then there’s Money ($ * / …) (Feat. Fabolous), a song that really wants to be good, but somehow fell short of meeting the pass mark. Again, the vocal is spot-on; it just lacks any form of interesting chorus. But then again, there’s always room for album tracks right?

Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, no matter how badly named it may be, showcases Mariah Carey on top form and delivering a series of vocal-gymnastics with her usual confidence and ease, while remaining surprisingly unpretentious and relaxed throughout.

Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse is available on iTunes now

Words Nick Verrell, @nickverrell

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