The Emancipation Duplication

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 7:44 PM


Artist: Mariah Carey
Title: E=MC2
Release Date: 4.15.08

Few artists last long enough to become as accomplished as Mariah Carey – 18 #1 Billboard singles (averaging 1 per year of her career), 11 studio albums and enough awards to make Kanye throw a tantrum. While the title of her newest album suggests advancement from its predecessor (The Emancipation of Mimi), this project is a mere duplication using the formula that resulted in the best selling album of Carey’s career. Let’s examine: begin with an infectious hit for the clubs, throw in some ballads, toss it up with a few hip-hop collabo’s, sprinkle in Mariah’s juicy falsetto, and close it out with a stirring gospel number. Some say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice… I say it comes pretty damn close. E=MC2 doesn’t quite measure up to Mimi, but it’s a great enough project to continue the comeback of one of the most powerful voices of our time.

Let’s start with the collaborations. Take out Snoop, Twista and Nelly from the last album; substitute T-Pain (‘Migrate’), Damian Marley (‘Cruise Control’), and Young Jeezy (‘Side Effects’). It’s hard to tell whether ‘Side Effects’ was written recently or 10 years ago, with lyrics fresh from a heart break, unfolding the open wounds and residual emotions from her 4-year marriage to Tommy Mottola. However, she quickly turns from prey to predator on the confidently sassy ‘I’m That Chick’: I’m like that ooh wee you’re fiendin to blaze up and taste me, got flava like ice cream, cause I’m that chick you like…”

The ballads on this album aren’t quite the powerhouses that allowed Mariah to dominate much of the 90’s. Still, there’s a worthy mix of melody and the power of both Mariah’s signature falsetto and full-voice vocals. ‘I Stay In Love’ is lyrically reminiscent of her decade-old smash ‘Breakdown’ – minus Layzie, Krayzie and Wish. Then there’s the heart-strong ‘Last Kiss’ for the adversity-defying lovers. Other notable songs on the record include the brokenhearted ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’, and the B. Cox flavored ‘For The Record’, a last ditch effort to reclaim the love.

The vocal highlight of the CD is the gospel infused ‘I Wish You Well’. Armed with a powerful message (Do good to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…) and a stunning display of Mariah’s classic vocals, this track closes the CD on a high note, literally and spiritually. Preceding the closer is the somber ‘Bye Bye’ where the premise of ‘One Sweet Day’ meshes with the production of ‘We Belong Together’.

Mariah wrote/co-wrote and co-produced every track on this project, including the sensual lead single ‘Touch My Body’ her 18th #1 single. She’s poised to tie or overtake the Beatles, who currently hold the title with 20 #1 hits. The one thing this album lacks, however, is the power ballads that have separated Mariah from her competition through much of her career. Still she delivers some of the most relatable lyrical content of any active R&B artist in the game. It seems Mariah has found the happy medium between what her longtime fans have always loved, and what the new generation listens for. So despite the minor shortcomings, we can all be thankful for Mimi’s emancipation…and beyond!

-MackN2U-




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