ORG XMIT: NYK504 Singer Mariah Carey performs on NBC's 'Today'… (BRENDAN MCDERMID / REUTERS )
‘Me. I am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse”
2 out of 4
In many ways, Mariah Carey—who’s either deeply troubled, absolutely bat[bleep] crazy or both—was Britney Spears before Britney Spears. Both were young artists kept on a tight leash who skyrocketed to astronomical fame, then cracked and got real weird for a few years until the inevitable comeback. The difference is that Mariah legitimately has a phenomenal voice.
But instead of letting her powerful pipes stand as the centerpiece on the atrociously titled “Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse,” said chanteuse has fallen victim to the trends of the times. She throws in as many back beats, beeps, boops, drum machines and vocal manipulations as possible. One track is actually called “Money ($ * / ...)” and features horns, Fabolous rhyming “hollandaise” with “lingerie” and ... WAIT, HOLLANDAISE AND LINGERIE DON’T RHYME.
You are Mariah [bleeping] Carey! The album’s title suggests you know this. But do you recall that you have a five-octave vocal range? You are the opposite of the reason Auto-Tune was created.
Really, this isn’t a terrible album, though. First single “#Beautiful” allows Mariah and guest Miguel to show off. “Make It Look Good” has a fun, sassy beat and makes good use of harmonica. Immediately following is “You’re Mine (Eternal),” a lovely ballad that features juuuuust a little too much background action. “You Don’t Know What To Do” (feat. Wale) is a danceable little bit of funky disco.
Then we drop right back into the bog of weird. Mariah clearly was inspired by Beyonce’s “Blue” and decided to feature her twins, Moroccan and Monroe (referred to as “Dembabies”), on “Supernatural.” What happens when you can’t do something better than Beyonce? Do it bigger! “Supernatural” is like “Blue” but with 90 percent more cooing, giggling, “I love you, mommy” and Monroe saying, “I’m a chanteuse.” To which Mariah replies, “I know you are, dahling” in her best Cruella de Vil voice.
So “MIAMTEC” is one half of a darn good album and one half of an album that makes me want to break things. I suppose that’s not horrible from a woman who owns an actual ring that looks like a Ring Pop.