on 25 May 2014
5 years since the release of her career's nadir, "Memoirs of an imperfect angel", and the eventual cancellation of its companion remix project, "Angels advocate", and following on from her indifferent second festive album, "Merry Christmass II you", and her rather disastrous stint on American Idol's Season 12, Mariah Carey looks determined to make her comeback by just doing what she does best, and what her fans love her for. "The elusive chanteuse" finds her at her most old-school. So much that, this new album could be "The emancipation of Mimi Pt. II", being a merger of her opposing images: the carefree skating teen at the park, the finger-wagging "ballaDiva" behind a mic in a gown, and the glamorous hip-hop-wannabe chick. Her voice seems to be the focal point throughout this record, engaging completely to all songs, and resulting in her most melodic album in a very long time.
Kicking off with "Cry", with Mariah and a piano, it is like we are back in the early '90s; "Faded", a slow hip-hop flavoured jam, finds her pouring out with emotion; "Dedicated", and "Make it look good" are nostalgic '80s throwbacks; "Beautiful", a duet with Miguel, is a sexy guitar-driven midtempo; "Thirsty" sees Mariah sounding almost feisty, over hip-hop beats; '70s funky number "You don't know what to do", and "Meteorite"'s infectious disco vibe are among the album's highlights. Finally, in the same fashion of Beyonce and Shakira, "Supernatural" contains snippets of Mariah's baby children's laughter and speech; adorable, unbearable, but memorable nevertheless. Her choice to cover George Michael's "One more try", is a smart one: backed by a gospel organ and choir, although she cannot surpass the haunting power of the original, she manages to impress with her carefully restrained dancing over the notes.
Of course, as an artist known for not doing things in small measures, inevitably there are a few moments of self-indulgence, too. "Camouflage", "You're mine (Eternal)", and "Heavenly" are not as compelling as they would like to be. Overall, contrary to its title, "Elusive chanteuse" could be Mariah's least elusive work. She bares her soul through a host of on-trend genres, no longer afraid to simply be herself without feeling the need to cater to themes and genres she is not as strong in. She may not be to everyone's taste, but this is a big step in the right direction for her, harking back to a level of quality that she has not achieved in almost a decade. As a formerly disappointed fan, I believe she now deserves a "Standing O". Lambs, rejoice!