It’s been five long years since vocal queen Mariah Carey has released some original material, and the world has been longing for her new instalment; Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse. Previously titled The Art of Letting Go, the newbie has been a work in progress for the last two years post-pregnancy and after Christmas album number two, so there has been a lot of waiting and anticipation for the diva’s return to music with some fresh goods. It will be interesting to hear what’s in store for us with that powerful voice of hers.
Me. I Am Mariah opens up with the breathy ballad Cry, driven by the lush piano chords and Carey’s vocal escalates from a soft serenade to a belt effortlessly; the song is reminiscent of the protagonist’s faults towards the breakdown of a relationship, the dynamic of the track captures that emotion. Faded is a bit more of an upbeat pop track guided by the heavy bass, beats and keyboard and once again the production does wonders for the diva’s vocal; Dedicated has that classic Mariah RnB feel with some assistance from hip-hop artist Nas. Mariah jumps on board the hash tag train with chart topper #Beautiful ft.Miguel, it is easily the catchiest track included on the album, and Miguel hands out all the compliments to make some fans squeal.
RnB bejewelled track Thirsty is also catchy, but it does grow a bit tiring and the instrumentation is repetitive as well; Make It Look Good was different, it’s not often you catch the harmonica in mainstream pop tracks these days, but it worked and made it sound good. You’re Mine (Eternal) is also an album highlight, very heavily produced though. The beginning of You Don’t Know What To Do gave us that exact impression, it began like a ballad and merging Wale’s rap into it was a little bit messy, but once the beat kicked in the track redeemed its shaky start. Supernatural was a soundscape of pop and a special vocal appearance made by Carey’s twins, it is a sweet collaboration; Meteorite was a pop/RnB merger which wasn’t as melodically captivating or memorable as previous tracks from the album, Camouflage shows us more of that breathy quality to Mariah’s voice that is nice and sweet and Money ($*/…) features hip-hop resident Fabolous for another RnB experience.
Mariah takes on George Michael’s gold-certified 1988 hit One More Try and does it some justice, both artists have powerful voices and Carey’s take on the number is certainly something to brag about. Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can’t Give Up Now) also does wonders for that powerhouse of a voice. The deluxe edition of I Am Mariah features It’s A Wrap, a duet with fellow diva Mary J. Blige; a pop/RnB concoction showcasing two of the most beautiful voices in music, it’s the perfect collaboration. Mariah teams up with another musical icon, R.Kelly, for the RnB ‘caught in the act’ track Betcha Gon’ Know; the deluxe edition ends with The Art of Letting Go, the self empowering break up song that will inspire all those broken hearts out there.
Despite all the delays and issues prior to its release, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse isn’t a weak release for the diva; the album is with it vocally, contemporarily and worth the wait for most of those who highly anticipated some new Mariah material. Although the album doesn’t live up to some of her earlier releases, a hand should be held out to shake Mariah’s hand for keeping up with the shape of the industry; that powerful voice of hers can have many uses imaginable in classical music, but she has managed to stick with the times and it seems she will continue to do so until her retirement.