Urban Contemporary, 2018
I have nothing but respect for Mariah Carey, who keeps coming back despite all the knocks she gets in her personal life as well as career, but Caution has me wondering whether it’s time for her to do some kind of reinvention. The songs here are very generic R&B tunes, with no tracks really standing out in any way.
Sure, GTFO is amusing for a few minutes, with her telling an ex-boyfriend that it’s time for him to move out of her place. “Why don’t you go stay at your friend’s house or something?” she sings in a catty way, and it’s quite funny, until she ruins the magic by repeating that line a few more times. And in A No No, she uses the late Notorious B.I.G’s refrain from Lil’ Kim’s Crush on You pretty well – he’s a slut, he’s a ho, he’s a freak; got a different girl every day of the week – but it’s hard to awed of a song with the good parts coming from someone else’s song. Oh well.
Her voice is really no longer what it used to be, so each track sees her moving from her middle register to some shrill whisper falsetto for the dramatic moments in a predictable pattern. There is hardly any nuance or variation to her vocals anymore, and there are moments when her voice is quite grating on the ears. Ms Carey has a problem when her songs have me wondering whether they would be so much better if they were performed by, say, Ariana Grande. Sadly, the answer is a very likely “Yes!”
The problem here is that Ms Carey is still co-producing and co-writing tunes that do not suit her current vocal abilities. She needs songs that suit and flatter her current range, instead of those that force her to overextend herself and will no doubt sound terrible when performed live. These songs here aren’t those songs, sadly, so Caution is a snooze of an album that only highlights how a good vocalist she once was and is no longer.