After a trying few months, comprising rough public performances, as well as the dissolution of her six-year marriage to Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey has announced her return in a manner fitting only for pop music’s ultimate diva. The theatrical string ascent at the opening of newest single Infinity is a quintessentially Mimi proclamation.
Second only to The Beatles in total Billboard number ones, the legendary super star is releasing the definitive collection of Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles to celebrate her decade-spanning career. Title track Infinity rounds out the 18 chart toppers as the only new track on the album.
Carey puts her songwriting talents to use here, penning both the music and the lyrics, which at times, in true Mimi style, are so kitsch they’re almost genius: “Boy you actin’ so corny like Fritos / Wouldn’t have none of that without me though / Ain’t none of my business, it’s tea though / Outta ammo, gotta reload.” Infinity renders us nostalgic for Carey’s 90s heyday. The post-heartbreak, empowering anthem throws back to the static melodies championed by R. Kelly, before launching into (at times humorously) elaborate melismatic phrases, progressively getting higher until the track closes within Carey’s trademark whistle register.
While Infinity reinstates these defining elements of Mariah Carey’s success, unfortunately the track’s murky production veils her characteristic bell-clear tone. Whether it’s a symptom of time, or technology, Carey’s voice appears consistently breathy, enveloped by a haze of percussion, strings and synthesisers.