Review : Mariah Carey - Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel
AllmusicAny Mariah Carey album carries a lot of weight -- fan dreams, commercial expectations, the prospect of genuine pop thrill, the star's outsized persona -- and 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel is no different. Trailing a pair of hits, "Obsessed" and her anthemic cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," it's a lock for commercial success, and it includes plenty of the soaring vocals and falsetto trills that fans love her for. It's also remarkably unified, with no guest features and a very special coup, in that every song on the album was composed by R&B's best songwriters of the late 2000s, Terius Nash (The-Dream) and Christopher Stewart (Tricky); they give each song the intelligent midtempo bump and grind they've made into a specialty. Personally, it finds Carey probing and investigating her inner life, with lines like "I can't wait to hate you" and "Why you so obsessed with me?" shot at targets both public and private....full text
RollingstoneMariah Carey, comedian? Jokes have never been Carey's forte, but on her 12th album, she gets in touch with her funny bone, adding a cheeky marching-band coda to the thumping club jam "Up Out My Face," threatening to out a cheating lover on national television in "Betcha Gon' Know" ("Oprah Winfrey whole segment, for real"); even poking fun at her own vocal signature, those stemware-shattering falsetto trills ("Love me down till I hit the top of my soprano," she coos in "More Than Just Friends"). The levity reflects the company Mariah is keeping: Every track on Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel was overseen by Carey and the ace duo of The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, who have been known to spice their dense, inventive R&B concoctions with yuks....full text
SlantmagazineMariah Carey has always had a way with words. Despite unlikely pop-song vocabulary like "alienation" appearing in hits like "Vision of Love," her lyrics started out relatively simple. Love takes time. You've got me feeling emotions. Dreamlover, come rescue me. But right around the time she dived out of Tommy Mottola's mansion and into the deep end (of the pool) in her music video for "Honey," Mariah's increasingly multisyllabic language started to feel like compensation for her progressively regressive image—and undoubtedly sent her young fans running for their dictionaries. The album titles, of course, remained elementary (Butterfly, Rainbow, Charmbracelet), but Mariah shifted gears and embraced titular verbosity with her 2005 comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi and last year's Energy Equals Mass Times the Velocity of Light Squared. Her new album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, follows suit.
Memoirs is a purported day in the life of Mimi, and it finds the singer "Having a Typical Emotional Upset" ("H.A.T.E.U."), lashing out at one-time beau Eminem ("Obsessed"), and kicking all kinds of men to the curb (basically the whole album). It's a breakup record, to be sure—this despite its subject being (reportedly) happily married. No matter, Mariah throws more shade than she ever has before, making it her campiest venture yet. "I'm gon' la-la-la-la-la-laugh," she taunts in her best schoolyard sneer on the promising opening track "Betcha Gon' Know." Sometimes the 'tude is sexy ("You a mom and pop, I'm a corporation/I'm the press conference, you're a conversation," she quips on "Obsessed"), other times it's downright cheesy ("See right through you like you're bathin' in Windex"). She also achieves a whole new level of lyrical ridiculousness on "Up Out My Face," with what's sure to be the most quoted passage from the album, involving Legos, the entire Harvard University graduating class of 2010, and an allusion to Humpty Dumpty. Yeah....full text
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