Mariah Carey’s new album Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse is the singer back to her very best. Chanteuse is French for female singer so I interpret the “elusive” subtitle as meaning nobody can touch her – despite pop’s up-and-coming talent.
With its soulful R’n’B hues, inspiration from her old-school days and collaborations with hottest producers and artists of today, she is still very much a living legend. Here’s my take on the album, song by song…
Cry: One of my favourites. Not only does it showcase Mariah’s vocal ability but you can really hear the emotion and the meaning she puts into it. It shows she is all about the storytelling alongside the vocal tricks. This track resembles the sensational vocals in her rendition of Can’t Live Without You and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up knowing we are in for a treat with this album as I hear that classic Mariah sound.
Faded: A beautiful chord sequence opens this song when Mariah teams up with hot property produce Mike WILL Made It, whose name you may recognise from working with Miley Cyrus. My favourite factor of the the verses is the skippy rhythm and the vocal harmony arrangements that flourish throughout- a quality Mariah is know for. This is the first time in the album we encounter a string of her well-known whistle notes as lead ad-libs, decorating the end of the track.
Dedicated: As Mariah was one of the first females to mix R’n’B/pop with hip-hop, it’s perfect that she has capture this flavour again here. The song’s familiarity makes me smile as it oozes the old-school Mariah that we know and love, combined with a catchy sing-along top line.The “La, da, da, de, da, da,da, da” motif that repeats during the track in different ways is a highlight for me and you can’t help but bop your head to this slow jam.
#Beautiful: Miguel and Mariah work exceptionally well together as a duo on this song with their vocal abilities unmatched. This was an R’n’B/soul/pop song of the summer and I’m sure it has the staying power for many summers, festivals and road trips to come with its feel good, throwback appeal.
Thirsty: Sassy Mariah strikes again with some attitude-inflected R’n’B/pop with a big hip-hop twist proving and reminding us who the real diva still is. It has a fun lyric discussing Hollywood, Instagram and Celeb culture, which has an appeal for youth and party people!
Make It Look Good: Bursting in with a unique intro using only a harmonica is the best way to prepare you for an even more unique track. This is one of my favourites on the album with the R’n’B vibes and the fast vocal rhythms that echo the Emancipation of Mimi days,.. The only thing that would top this for me is if Mariah did it live and Stevie Wonder came on stage to play the harmonica! Make it happen.
You’re Mine: The lighted match at the start of this tune instantly intrigues and engages you with another unique sound we are accustomed to from Mariah’s early days. This is definitely a soft and emotional moment on the record but contrasts with an Oriental hook that makes it stand out from the rest.
You Don’t Know What To Do: This begins with special intro vocals and in a flash reminds me of the Eighties soul classic Somebody Else’s Guy by Jocelyn Brown- but with an edge.
Supernatural: This has the most adorable entrance by Mariah’s little ones aka Dembabies, and feels exciting that we have an opportunity to of hearing potential talents of the future- if they indeed take after their parents. There is nothing more endearing for listeners than hearing a personal song with this feature, which shows the new chapter of Mariah’s life and the overwhelming love for her children she is experiencing.
Meteorite: Club track with an interesting and creative, using an Andy Warhol quote. A super fun song for the dancefloor, ending in powerhouse vocals.
Camouflage: I was ecstatic to hear a gospel choir break out properly in the second verse in among the angelic harmonies, too. The lyric “I camouflage my tears” is a heart-wrenching line but aligns with the sweetest melody.
Money ($*/…): This song is already massively catchy from the start with an in-your-face brass sample in at the top right to the finish. I have a feeling this could be a potential single, with the superb collaboration of Mariah and Fabolous. It is an ultimate feelgood tune with a modern take on a retro sound that makes you want to dance.
One More Try: The organ intro fits excellently with Mariah’s fragile opening runs, which ensures she makes this George Michael original her own. Her voice sounds just as incredible as it did in her early days. Mariah has such such success with covers in the past because she puts her own spin on them completely.
Heavenly: An inspirational and uplifting song that Mariah nails, as she did previously in Can’t Take That Away From Me (Mariah’s Theme) but this time with a dirtiness in the track and, of course, concluding with a key change and unbelievable vocals. It is the perfect end to an impressive yet familiar-sounding Mariah album that resembles her early days…but with a fresh twist.