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It seems like so long ago since Mariah Carey has released a full fledged album, and that’s why the anticipation for her 14th release “Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse” is so eagerly anticipated among the Lambily. After #DemBabies, “American Idol”, and a seemingly constant supply of singles, expectations were also high. Mariah talked, for months and months, about the album being more personal, and the title seems to promise a more confessional Diva. On the plus side, the new album is definitely a good one, with some amazing vocals, catchy lyrics and great tracks. On the negative, it’s just another Mariah album that doesn’t fulfill the promise of being a peak into her life. More striking than that though is that the album seems a little too familiar to her previous work, which is personally an off-putting part to the otherwise solid piece of work. Even on the songs I really enjoy, I can’t shake the similarities lyrically and otherwise. “Dedicated”, her love song to Hip Hop, is my initial favorite from the album. But some of the references and general tone remind me of “Candy Bling” from her last outing. The disco-fied “You Don’t Know What to Do” is a great and addictive cut, but the intro seems to harken back to “You’re So Cold” off her sophomore album, not to mention the overall vibe is similar to “I’m That Chick” from her 2008 album. “Thirsty” has a real “Obsessed” vibe, and I feel I could go on and on, and that’s my only real disappointment with the album.
In truth “… Elusive Chanteuse” continually grows on me, and it definitely fills a void in my music library in this otherwise lackluster year in Music. Mariah is definitely in a comfortable place vocally, and she continues to impress with her technique and skill on each song proving she is still a vocal Goddess. The album has a good balance of Urban, R&B and Ballads, and she manages to bring her full power in each genre she attacks. The emotional album opener “Cry.” is so engaging with minimal background aide, “Camoflauge” is another emotional moment that shines. “Make It Look Good” is a wonderfully unique track that she kills, and of course the sweet “#Beautiful” with Miguel still evokes a joyous feeling. Good material, but just not too much that’s really refreshing and new from her.
The content is still mostly relationship centered, thus similar to her previous material, so I don’t see a confessional angle to “Me. I Am Mariah…” at all. That is, other than the adorably sweet “Supernatural” featuring #DemBabies. And potentially “Thirsty”, which may or may not be addressing rumors of divorce from Nick Cannon. Other than that, the music is, dare I say… generic lyrically, because I don’t feel like I know her any better. But, this is probably just another case of my expectations ruining a good thing, because “… The Elusive Chanteuse” will stand nicely alongside her other material.
Grade: B- Best: Dedicated, Supernatural, #Beautiful