Urban Contemporary, 2001
Oh, poor Mariah Carey, her life isn’t exactly glittering at the moment, is it? You know, I have no idea why she keeps passing herself off as some bimbo. If her production credits on Glitter are real (and not one of those “Change a word, take a third” scams), she’s actually a very sharp lady. And Glitter is a surprisingly good album.
Of course, those wanting the old, bland Mariah “Music Box for Tommy Mattola” Carey will be disappointed. She has lost most of her upper vocal range (feel free to speculate how she lost it) and you can hear her really strain and try on the few obligatory ballads here like Lead the Way and Never Too Far. And no, these ballads actually have some substance, and they aren’t just the fluffy Kleenex-ad variety.
But where she shines are in those polished, slick urban R&B grooves. Her cover of Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is just groovy and it just moves. Okay, at first Loverboy seems like an awful mistake ruined by too-many vocal overlayers, but after a few listens, I find that it is surprisingly cute and catchy. Ms Carey makes up for that with her fresh spiced-up cover of Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.
Lyrically, Glitter makes me cringe. Ms Carey really strums up her dumb blonde kitty image with really vapid lyrics (“When he calls, I come all the time” – what? – from Loverboy is a nauseous example). But really, I don’t know what is going on in Ms Carey’s head. Or her publicist’s. Or whoever’s. There’s more to the blonde, vapid, dumb sex toy image she is projecting, or else she wouldn’t make this very focused, very good album. Hmmm.