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random person (Cardiff, Wales)

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Music Box
Music Box
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.69

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's pure vocal heaven!, 28 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Music Box (Audio CD)
Her last two albums contained so much vocal acrobatics, its hard to imagine how she could top them. I guess the key to the success of this album was restraint. It's not that she doesn't use her vocals to their potential, but she holds back until they are really required, and when they come, they come like you've never heard before. I'm not talking about whistle notes, they aren't as overly present here as before, but I mean the intensity and perfection of her melisma, rifts, octave changes, and incredibly beautiful tone. Her voice sounds so smooth and angelic, its unbelieveable. She sounded great before, but in two years, you can notice a slight change in her tone that makes her voice sound so soothing and relaxing. I am more familiar with this than any other album of hers so I may be a bit biased, but here's the details:

1. Dreamlover - One of her most famous songs, very catchy, simple, yet very effective vocally. She manages to make a difficult and complex vocal style sound so simple and easy to sing along to, but if you attempt it, you will not conquer it! 9/10
2. Hero - Probably the first song most people associate with Mariah, her signature song. This is how it was originally sang, not quite the same as now. Her velvety vocals of this era come across perfectly here, every note is silky smooth, the climax is nothing short of goosebump material, and the lyrics simple, yet so uplifting and inspirational. 10/10
3. Anytime You Need A Friend - The theme of self-belief continues here into a gospel inspired anthem, which I feel should've been a bigger hit than it was. It slowly builds into one of the most stunning vocal pieces i've ever heard. 10/10
4. Music Box - Just when you thought vocal heaven was over, Mariah provides one of her most emotional and soothing performances ever. The meaning of the song is deep and can be applied to many people's situations. 10/10
5. Now That I Know - A necessary break from the slow tempo created by the last few tracks, this is a more upbeat, dancy song. This song does exactly what it says on the tin, nothing more. It serves its purpose as a light hearted break from the serious ballads. 7/10
6. Never Forget You - Sounds cheesy at first, but as you get into it, it becomes very addictive. 8/10
7. Without You - Cover of a song originally by Badfinger, but made famous by Harry Nielson. Mariah truly makes it her own by singing it in her own octave shifting way. Her range during this performance is incredible, as is her ability to sustain a note for so long at the end. 9/10
8. Just To Hold You Once Again - She starts of singing softly, but it builds to a big climax involving lots of belting. Sounds like a typical Mariah song, but its actually a well written, meaningful song that many people could relate to. 8/10
9. I've Been Thinking About You - Serves the simple purpose of lightening the tone after all the big ballads. Its not bad, but not that good either. Just a simple poppy tune, to keep the A&Rs happy. Not particularly memorable. 6/10
10. All I've Ever Wanted - Another ballad, but any real Mariah fan sees that as a good thing, as this is where she sounds best. Her voice will guarantee goosebumps here. 9/10
11. Everything Fades Away - Although this is a bonus track for the UK, I will always see this as part of the album. I feel sorry for those in the US who do not have this on their version. This is my favourite track because it is a dark, haunting, but soothing end to a positive but somewhat unrealistic view of life and love throughout the album. This song deserves more recognition, as it is possibly one of the best songs she has ever written. 11/10

This album is her best selling album to date, and I can see why. Not only does it contain her most famous singles including 'Hero' and other big ballads, which although admittedly a bit overblown, she carries them off so naturally, it sounds like that was what she was born to do. The vocal arrangements are so well executed that no matter how schmaltzy or sugary a song may sound, it doesn't matter because you are so focused on Mariah's incredible vocal skills and songwriting talent.

Up to Now - The Best Of Snow Patrol
Up to Now - The Best Of Snow Patrol
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to a great band, 14 Feb. 2010
This is a good collection of some of the highlights of their work, although I do feel that it should've included tracks like 'Make This Go On Forever' or 'It's Beginning To Get To Me' which were my favourite songs off the 'Eyes Open' album. This is for those who liked their most famous songs 'Run' and 'Chasing Cars' and want to hear more. However, if you do get this CD and enjoy it, don't stop there. You must get the 'Eyes Open' album as I think its their best album to date and contains some great songs, which do not appear on this CD including the ones I mentioned above. Snow Patrol are one of my favourite bands because their music is very meaningful, Gary Lightbody is a gifted songwriter and his voice is so haunting and conveys alot of emotion. They are even better live.

MTV Unplugged EP
MTV Unplugged EP
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its hard to believe it's all live!, 12 Feb. 2010
This review is from: MTV Unplugged EP (Audio CD)
This is a recording of her live show MTV Unplugged in 1992, which was her first widely seen live concert. Mariah performs songs from her self titled debut and follow up album 'Emotions' along with a cover of Jackson 5's 'I'll Be There'. Every song is performed acoustically meaning that the songs sound completely different and often better than the original studio versions. As far as live performances go, it doesn't get much better than this! She sings every song just as good if not better than the studio. The live band brings to life songs like 'Vision of Love', 'Someday' and 'Make It Happen' in such a way it makes you wonder why they weren't done like this in the first place. It also has her US no.1 hit cover of 'I'll Be There' which is one of the best covers I have ever heard (sang with backup singer Trey Lorenz). I would recommend this not only to Mariah fans, but also to anyone who enjoys and appreciates good live music as this could potentially convert non-fans into fans. It may be short, but its such a quality live show in every way that it doesn't bother me at all.

Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.48

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best albums, 5 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Emotions (Audio CD)
I gave her self titled debut 4 stars, because it had some brilliant songs but there were a couple of tracks I thought were a bit cheesy and didn't really like. I was expecting to have a similar opinion of her second album 'Emotions'. I was pleasantly suprised because I liked every track.

1. Emotions - Title track and lead single. Very catchy and uplifting track, vocals impressive as always. 9/10
2. And You Don't Remember - Slow ballad, reminds me of 'I Don't Wanna Cry' from the first album. Not as good as that, but still a great track. 8/10
3. Can't Let Go - Love this one, very well written and produced ballad. That whistle note sent shivers through my spine! 10/10
4. Make It Happen - A bit more uptempo and an uplifting message. I really like it, although it does go on a bit! 9/10
5. If It's Over - Absolutely brilliant. Probably the best song on the album. 10/10
6. You're So Cold - I actually like the intro more than the song itself, but still a good song. Can't help but feel its about Tommy Mottola, although they hadn't even got married yet! 8/10
7. So Blessed - Not really a stand out track, but a nice ballad. 7/10
8. To Be Around You - I didn't think much of this at first, but after a few listens I really like it. Could've been a single. 9/10
9. Til The End Of Time - This track is a darker and somewhat haunting song, but I love it! 9/10
10. The Wind - Wasn't expecting this, not the usual style for Mariah, but what a way to end the album. Its very soothing and relaxing. 10/10

Overall I was very impressed with this album. Its hard to decide on a favourite Mariah Carey album, because they all have different sounds, but this is up there with 'Music Box' and 'Daydream', which I havn't reviewed yet, but will get round to sooner or later. I guess you could argue that it sounds quite similar to the first album, but I think they did a better job this time round. Adding to the mix the songs 'If It's Over' and 'The Wind', make it a bit more varied because they sound very different to anything off the first album. The album has aged quite well, as I often forget i'm listening to something from 1991. Its just timeless and I feel this album is overlooked too often and deserves more recognition.

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £3.33

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An impressive debut by the most successful female artist of all time, 10 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Mariah Carey (Audio CD)
Until now I'd never listened to a Mariah Carey album, I used to hear her songs on the radio and I always liked her voice, but I never felt the urge to sit down and listen to one of her albums. After seeing an impressive performance by her on X Factor recently, I decided to watch videos on youtube of her live performances over the years. I'd never realised how good she was live, especially during the first half of her career. I also hadn't realised that she wrote pretty much all her songs, so I decided it was only fair that I gave her albums a listen. I'm starting from the beginning and I'm going to review all of her albums to date, so here goes...

1) Vision Of Love: Her debut single and a great way to start the album. I admit i'm not familiar with this song or anything before the 'Music Box' album, because it wasn't until then that she made it big in the UK. It seems i've been missing out, because this is one of the best songs she's ever done and it sounds timeless. Great song structure and lyrics and I especially like the way she ends it, brilliant vocals. 10/10

2) There's Got To Be A Way: Serious and heartfelt subject matter, and an uplifting chorus. There's a big whistle note near the end that took me by suprise, nice track. 8/10

3) I Don't Wanna Cry: A ballad that starts off in a low key, then goes high for the chorus very smoothly. The production is flawless, and its a very emotional performance from Mariah. One of my favourites. 9/10

4) Someday: A more uptempo track, sounds strangely familiar, I might have heard this before and not known it was Mariah singing it. Catchy, good production and again, vocally impressive. As for the whistle notes at the very end, absolutely stunnning. 9/10

5) Vanishing: A piano based song, with awesome vocals (as usual), and beautifully put together. 9/10

6) All In Your Mind: Good song, but nothing special. Some interesting whistles notes at the end though! 7/10

7) Alone In Love: A midtempo ballad. Again, nice song but nothing to rave about. 7/10

8) You Need Me: I'm not sure about this one, the production here is cheesy in parts, but I guess in the early 90s nobody would've noticed! Not bad song though. 6/10

9) Sent From Up Above: I didn't like it at first but its grown on me, it has a classic 90s sound to it which reminds me of when I was a kid. I don't have to mention vocals again, they're always good. 7/10

10) Prisoner: My least favourite song on the album, it certainly hasn't aged well. Is that Mariah rapping at the beginning? Lyrically its a decent song, but I just can't get into it. There's another rapping bit at the end, its actually quite funny to hear but it kind of ruins the mood of the album. 5/10

11) Love Takes Time: Now Mariah goes back to what she does best and gives us an emotional ballad to end the album. One of the best songs on the album 9/10

Overall a brilliant debut from Mariah Carey, showcasing her impressive vocal range and songwriting skills. A good mixture of classic ballads and uptempo songs, but not perfect. Though the whole album has a 90s feel, it usually comes off as timeless, but in parts it just sounded dated. This was only a taste of what was to come though, as I soon discovered...

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