About a year & a half ago when I heard that Mariah was working on a new album with the proposed title of "Sweet Soul Odyssey", I was ecstatic. As a fan, of course I'd been overjoyed at the reception to and success of EMANCIPATION OF MIMI and thought that having regained her supposed lost place in the world of pop music, she'd be confident enough to produce an album of tracks like SUBTLE INVITATION, HOW I WISH U KNEW, FLY LIKE A BIRD, etc. I love those kinds of tracks from Mariah because they're unexpected - they're not hip hop and especially SI has a jazzier production than some of her recent work.
Unfortunately as the time passed I started hearing that this album would NOT be the anticipated soulful music that I'd hoped for but a replica of EMANCIPATION. I hate to compare the two albums but I have to in order to be honest about my feelings for E=MC2. From the 1st time I listened to EMANCIPATION, I loved all but 2 tracks and still to this day, enjoy listening to the album on a frequent basis but after listening to E=MC2 a few times, there are only 6 songs that I love and 4 that I think are just "ok".
This album reminds me of my feelings for her RAINBOW album - there are a few tracks that I like but overall I'm disappointed in it as a whole and skip over more than a few tracks. I feel like with EMANCIPATION, Mariah & the writers & producers worked really hard to present strong tracks and the result is an album that I love while this one seems to want to follow the same production path but with weaker lyrics and unmemorable tracks.
My favorite tracks are:
I'LL BE LOVIN U LONG TIME
I'M THAT CHICK
THANKS FOR NOTHING - just wish JD wasn't "shouting out" throughout
I WISH U WELL
OOC - interesting arrangement, it's growing on me the more I listen to it
My "ok" tracks are:
MIGRATE - it's a catchy track but I really dislike T-Pain and his guest spot really doesn't add anything special
LUV STORY - I'd have liked this track more if JD wasn't screaming all over it
BYE BYE - although I like the lyrics & sentiment behind the song, it just left me "cold" for lack of a better word. Mariah has written other tracks regarding the loss of a loved one that moved me to tears but this track didn't move me in any way
The only other two notable tracks are:
TOUCH MY BODY - I hate this song, truly it stays in my mind like an annoying radio jingle because it's being forced on us on all levels
FOR THE RECORD - the lyrics are really personal and once again, Mariah is letting us in on what marriage to Tommy Mottola was like but the song itself hasn't really resonated with me yet so I feel like it's TMI
As a fan of course I was excited just to get new music from Mariah, I added it to my collection because I want to have a complete Mariah catalog but I can't say that I'll ever get the same enjoyment out of listening to it say, 5 or even 1 year from now - it'll just be in my collection and I might listen to it from time to time.
I'm torn about recommending it to people so I'll just say that if u want to get it, proceed with caution & try to listen to a few clips first. I will continue to wait and hope that we will get a "Sweet Soul Odyssey" from Mariah some time in the future.