As much as it frustrates me, Mariah Carey’s recent struggles to score her trademark top hit single, and now, a sluggish start for her excellent Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, makes sense. As my friend and literary bae, Rich, pointed out in his review at Gawker, much of Mariah’s public imaging is associated with her success. So, the failure of her seven or so first singles (to be fair, “#Beautiful, which did sell a million copies despite not climbing relatively high on the Hot 100) and her netting the lowest first week sales for an album ever is relevant. It’s no less annoying, though.
Well, depending on who’s doing the dissecting. No, Mariah is not the top seller she once was, but for those trying to discredit her over 2009+ record, it feels like some bratty child beating Bruce Jenner in a race now as if he isn’t and forever will be the gold medal winner of the decathlon.
Rihanna may very well take Mariah’s no. 1 singles record from her, but it would be tainted given Mariah was never just a featured artist on her hits and hers were amassed over a much lengthier period. And Mariah will now and forever will be the biggest selling female artist of all time. There’s no changing that, so if it matters that much to her and anyone else, she’ll always be the belle of the ball in some respect.
Personally, I don’t especially care anymore. I think if nothing else, this is all a sign for Mariah to let the music mesh with her maturation. She could go do a jazz album and likely be the biggest winner of the Grammys at night. She could tap all of the people she paved the way for – too many to name – and use them to sell the way so many of them have exploited her template. This means you Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and again, so many others.
Or she can just do what she did with this album: Make a fantastic project for those who continue to be as passionate about her music now as they were then. And make no mistake, Mariah’s 2000s catalog is a lot stronger than many of her critics give her credit for. Then again, when were critics ever especially kind to Mariah Carey?
That aside, have never done a track-by-track review, but a friend and lamb requested and now I am finally obliging.
Initially, the only thing about the opener of Mariah’s 14 album was the punctuation in the title. I didn’t think it was a bad song, but I wasn’t circling any of the moons surrounding the planet resides on over it either. A few days later, something changed. I paid more attention to the lyrics and Mariah’s delivery and suddenly the song resonated with me differently than it did in those first listens. There’s a level of vulnerability in this song – namely that acknowledge of one’s own fault in the decline of a relationship – that made me think about my own recent dealings. Damn you, Mariah. In the best way imaginable.
Also: She sounds fantastic.
I love that she’s singing the “Mike Will Made It” tag. God, I love this woman so much. This song isn’t what I expected to hear from a Mimi x Mike Will Made It collaboration, but it’s one of my favorites on the album. Again, this song makes me feel a way. What the fuck, Mariah? Must you always make me simp so hard motherfuckers want to toss my head in their bosom? I miss bae.
“Dedicated” feat. Nas
BUT THAT’S YOUR NOSTALGIA.
I immediately fell in love with this song. She had me at “I’ll just sit right here and sing that good old school shit to you. I won’t fool you. I won’t make you be my own. And oh, baby, you know.” I like that Mariah worked with a young producer like Hit-Boy, but didn’t go chasing trends. Well, not on this track anyway. She sounds exactly what she is on this song: A 40-something woman who is mature, but not menopausal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Madonna. It’s just..here, Mariah sounds sweet and funny and confident. “Dedicated” reminds me of “Candy Bling,” a damn gem if there ever was one. Shut up. It is a gem. So is this song. Gems, dahling. Gems.
“#Beautiful” feat. Miguel
This song came out 100 years ago and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. If anything, I love it even more now that I’ve had to revisit it. It still sounds like a Miguel song featuring Mariah Carey, but it’s sublime. I wish they had worked together more on this album. Surprised Mariah didn’t reach out again given “#Beautiful” sold a million copies and made it all the way to the Top 20 on the Hot 100 — not Mariah’s best overall, but certainly her best chart performance in years.
This song is basically “Mulattos In Paris.” The song’s purpose is, was, and forever shall be to make you bop. Mission accomplished, girl. My bop was immediate. When I heard “UH, YA THIRSY. UH, YA THIRSTY. UH, YA THIRSTY.” my ass was sold. READ, QUEEN MIMI. I’m literally saying that as I type it. I’m such a stan.
One thing about post-maudlin ass ballad Mariah Carey is that you’ve discovered how good she is at reading the fuck out of people. See “Heat” and “Obsessed,” which is one of the all-time best diss records ever. Shut up, it is. How can you not cackle at “Outside the club, @ing me constantly?” And her laughing at “Oh, you a G now?”
Neither is as great as “Them chickens is ash and I’m lotion,” but acceptable all the same.
“Make It Look Good”
There is so much going on in this one song and it’s all good. “Look at what you got me going through. Can’t help myself because you make it look good.” Another song that has me in my feelings. This is melodic masochism. Whatever, sing that shit, Mimi, and play the harmonica, Stevie Wonder.
Side note: “Make it look gooder than them other fools.” So my little brother used to say “gooder” and it used to make me cringe. Looks like you won, Marcus. Fuck it.
“You’re Mine (Eternal)”
This is not a bad song and because it’s sandwiched in between two tracks from the album that I love, I find myself always listening to it. Still, one wonders what possessed her to release this as a single? It’s like a half-assed attempt at duplicating some of the other great 00s in her catalog. Which reminds me: Why was “Yours” not released? Why was yours featuring Justin Timberlake not released? This is Charmbracelet era, non-lambs.
You see how I’m talking about 2002 instead of this song because I already forgot about it (as I’m listening to it now)? Exactly. It’s cute or whatever, I guess.
“You Don’t Know What To Do” feat. Wale
THIS. IS. MY. SHIT. This is by far one of her best songs in years. Why was this not released eons ago? Even if it didn’t perform well, you’d be a damn fool to deny how good it is. Perfectly retro, beautifully sang, and Wale doesn’t make me want to call security to have him escorted off the track.
This is adorable squared and not just because of #dembabies making a grand appearance on the track. I mean, who doesn’t like singing words like “dissipate” in a song? You never let me down, Mariah. Also, I am glad that Monroe is already using words like “chanteuse” to describe herself. That little girl is going to be her mother on steroids. I kind of get the feeling that Moroccan will be a star, too, if for no other reason than he carries Mariah Carey’s genes, which one assumes to be dominate.
Too busy to write a lot of sentences as I have to get up and spin around while holding a glass of sangria. I’ve come to realize that I like house music far more than I ever thought. This song is fantastic and Mariah should record more tracks like them. Well, technically she already did with those 9000 dance remixes she has, right? Well, you get what I mean. Glad Mimi reunited with Q-Tip for he gives her the best shit, every time. Word to “Honey.”
But no really, I’m about to get up and spin. Dance like those old gays I saw at some Harlem park last summer at a “We Didn’t Die!” celebration. No shade.
I always forget what this song sounds like until I hear it. I’m one of those Mariah fans who doesn’t actually like a lot of her ballads. You know, “Hero” ain’t the shit I listen to. I’m all about post-Butterfly Mariah Carey. Well, select works from Daydream have a special place on my iTunes, but I’m touch and go with other earlier album cuts. So, by the time I get to the end of a Mimi album – which is where she now sticks a lot of these sort of songs – I’m kind of like, eh, I guess, girl. I do like this, though. I just don’t rush to hear it. This reminds me of “Outside,” which is a compliment.
“Money ($ * / …)” feat. Fabolous
FUCK YES, MARIAH.
Know that I am obsessed with Mariah singing, “Hit-Boy on the beat, oh yeah, that’s timeless.” Obsessed. Why you so obsessed with me obsessed. I rewind back to that part repeatedly all of the time. This is a favorite. I just finished balling up my fists thinking about how great this song is.
“One More Try”
I don’t care about this song. Sorry, Mariah Carey. CC: George Michael.
“Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up Now)”
Cute. Don’t make that face. This means a lot from a heathen. On to the next track. Shout out to Jesus, though.
“It’s a Wrap” feat. Mary J. Blige
Is this from the never saw the light of day Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel remix album? The acting at the beginning is quite bad, but I love Mary J. Blige so much so I’ll just say whatever, ma’am, you brought it home when you said “shiiiiiit.” “It’s A Wrap” is one of my favorites from Mariah’s last album so to add another one of my all-time favorites to it is just swell to the kid.
I will note that you folks laughing at Mary J. Blige for singing “acquiescent” ain’t even a fraction of a shit. Mary sounds great.
“Betcha Gon’ Know” feat. R. Kelly
I’m surprised Mariah bothered to record with Pissy given he’d be the type to take advantage of her “eternally tween” persona. Why couldn’t we have just gotten “The Impossible” with Jodeci? Ugh.
“The Art of Letting Go”
This still ain’t it.
“Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse”
Mariah, you did not draw that picture at three-years-old. You know what? Maybe you did. Perhaps you should paint more and have a gallery showing. Anyway, you for damn sure are not elusive. I love you like a holiday Duncan Hines yellow cake, but you’re about as elusive as an attention starved selfie-addict on Instagram posting a wordgram that reads “PLEASE LOOK AT ME, BITCH. PLEASE!”
In sum, Mariah Carey’s album is great. Her best in years. She should be proud.