Urban Contemporary, 2014
Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse must be one of the worst titles ever for any album. Mariah Carey offers an explanation for this pointlessly long and insipid title, but let’s face it, such a title would look stupid on anything that isn’t made by a twelve-year old girl and involves glitter and pink unicorns.
At any rate, this is a troubled effort long delayed as Ms Carey and her team kept scrambling to rethink their plan after the first few singles released prior to this album went nowhere. Well, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse is currently her lowest-selling album to date, and even if I consider the fact that music sales have plummeted into abysmal levels, it’s pretty obvious that Ms Carey has past her sell-by date. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the songs here don’t do much to shake things up or rejuvenate some interest in her brand.
There are some ballads that are – probably deliberately – patterned to remind people of her more famous syrupy hit songs in the 1990s and early 2000s. There are also the more fast tempo collaborations with various urban artists, jams that, again, remind people of her faster hits in those days. Everything here seems to be designed to capture the feeling of Ms Carey at her peak. Alas, this also means that the songs here have a dated feel to them. Worse, the calculated efforts at nostalgia also expose how much her vocals have deteriorated over the years, and the minimalistic production ends up accentuating the sharper and rougher tone of her voice.
Beautiful, which features Miguel, is a lovely song, though. It’s simple, yet full of feel-good and catchy vibes. Too bad the rest of the music here is so geriatric in nature.