After what some fans and music critics would consider to be a disappointing performance on her last studio album, 2008’s E=MC², Mariah Carey is back with her twelfth studio album, Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel, which hits stores today, September 29th, via Island Def Jam Records.
On Mariah’s last album, it seemed as though she tried to recreate the magic of her “comeback,” three years before with Emancipation of Mimi but fell short. However, amid what some saw as mediocre single choices and material, Mariah managed to serve up a gem of a single with “Touch My Body,” which surpassed Elvis Presley for the most #1 singles by a solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was immaculately crafted by the dynamic duo, Tricky Stewart and The Dream.
The chemistry created was undeniable, thus Mariah recruiting the two to write and produce her whole album, with additional production from LOS Da Mystro, with whom The Dream crafted J. Holiday’s smash, “Bed,” and Mariah co-writing.
Memoirs is a solid album for what it is. Let’s face the facts: old-school, ’90’s, belting, diva Mariah is gone. She hasn’t been with us since Glitter era. With this new album, Mariah’s mission was clear: She had to put together material that would appeal to a younger audience, but not alienate fans who have loved the Mariah from years ago. So, the first taste that we got of this “new” Mariah was the “unofficial” first single, “♫ Obsessed.” Some would argue it was a cheap shot at Eminem, with it’s blatant Mariah/Eminem drag look-alike in the video, but many fans were impressed with the first effort, albeit it’s under performance on the charts. And she locked down the streets with her remix with Gucci Mane.
The rest of Memoirs is pretty straight forward: catchy hooks, clever metaphors, tricky vocabulary and cute samples (on “Candy Bling,” Mariah samples “Back in the Day” by Ahmad, while “Inseparable” interpolates Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” and “The Impossible” slyly pulls from Jodeci’s “Forever My Lady”) litter the album. Which is mainly why the trio work of Mariah, Tricky and Dream work so well together.
There are points where you notice the writing and productions style get similar to previous collaborations between the two. “Candy Bling” is merely a reworking of “I Luv Ur Girl,” a favorite from The Dream’s debut album, Love/Hate, while some might confuse “It’s A Wrap” with Electrik Red’s sleeper, “9 to 5″ from their first studio album, How to Be A Lady: Volume 1. But Carey and Dream’s pen cleverly masks the recycling process.
And as usually, the album drags ever-so-slightly towards the end, after the reprise of the bouncy rumored next single, “♫ Up Out My Face.” The ballads, minus “The Impossible” (posted above) get a little syrupy for my taste, and Mariah reverts back to her old fantasy world, returning to corny titles like “Angel’s Cry.”
All in all, Mariah churned out a solid effort that will have her fans’ tails wagging and keep people interested enough to wonder what it is that she’ll do next.
♫ OTHER TRACKS YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR: “Betcha Gon’ Know,” “H.A.T.E.U.,” and “Ribbon.”
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