This Mariah album voyage hasn’t worked out very well so far, I think I’m just never going to be a big R’n’B fan. Though that might not be the impression you get after this review, because E=MC2 (I’m not faffing around with superscripts btw) turned out to be QUITE GOOD. OK yes it does seem to pander to whatever was big in R’n’B at the time, much in the way The Emancipation did, but this is only 4 years old so (for now) it’s still sounding quite fresh.
09 Migrate – Ha-ha-haaaahh *ears split*. But NO! It’s not another shriek-fest, that initial squawk is re-sampled into a really distinctive little riff, and I LOVE THAT. OK she does use a lot of language I’m not used to from her, but I like that too. It’s got a good tune to it, I like her voice. Frankly I could have done without T-Pain, that’s even before he starts trying to rhyme things with Migrate and Mariah, which all makes it sound a bit generic and almost certainly going to be the thing that dates this song in later years. But a great opener, and I almost want to listen to it again before carrying on. I’d call THAT a success.
09 Touch my body – I was fascinated by this video for a while, but the song wore out quite quickly. But it’s like listening to it again with new ears … maybe I am actually listening this time instead of being distracted by the visuals. Love some of the lyrics, and she certainly doesn’t hold back when she talks about the sex stuff *blush*. I like the psychopathic feel given by the sweet-as-pie vox singing “I will hunt you down”. I just have very positive feelings when I think about this song. That chorus is just simple and adorable, a great return to form.
08 Cruise control – OK I’m not a favour of the Marleys, so I was expecting some cruddy reggae ball-ache here, but it’s quite good isn’t it? The verses are a bit blah, but I love it when she goes full-on Jamaican bacon. HEEE’S the FLYYYEST THING(!!). Not sure how convincing this all is, but an enjoyable experience all round. Can’t say I’m a convert to Damien Marley but I guess this won’t date as badly as a T-Pain guest spot will it? He’s OK though.
08 I stay in love – Did some of you hate this? OK I can see why you might think it’s a bit drekky but I’ve taken a SHINE to it. That little pipey sample is quite sweet and summery, a bit of a 90s throwback. I guess I can see shades of We Belong Together but in no way is it as blatant as Don’t Forget About Us was. This at least has a nice melody to it. Nothing really much new lyric-wise but it’s a good chorus that stuck with me and I’m in no rush to skip the track. PLEASANT. The VOXTASTIC last third is awesome. A bit rubbish how it just fades out though.
08 Side Effects – More will-be-dated guest raps now, but sounds alright for now. A real edge to this one, I like the production a lot. But some REALLY emotive lyrics here, is this about Mottola or something? “Shining like a chandelier that decorated every room inside the private HELL we built” … steady on! The delivery of the lines in the bridge (about crying forever) really does make me stop what I’m doing. There are a lot of things going on here but it doesn’t sound too busy at all. Well balanced and immersive. POOR MARIAH.
07 I’m that chick – Not sure about this, a bit of a flaccid disco-lite track now. It’s a nice change of tone and I can appreciate it’s catchy but not in a way that really makes me remember it. For a while I thought she was singing “I’m that chicken leg”, which patently made no sense but it was difficult to hear anything else once I’d heard it (see that time I thought she was saying exclusive-rageous). Can see why it didn’t get picked up as a single though, I think maybe it could have been with some different production.
06 Love story – Oh dear, another front-loaded Mariah album over all ready? As you can imagine from that, I’m not exactly wetting myself with excitement at this one. Hate that intro, the chorus is bland to the extreme, the vocals have their moments but this is a bit of a dead duck.
08 I’ll be loving you long time – I was expecting the worst with a title like that… but it’s rather GOOD isn’t it? The verses are bouncy with a great beat, and the chorus is pretty catchy, though lacks a killer blow in there. This does benefit of the welcome continuing trend of keeping the tracks short, I think this one hadn’t got much to give after the first 3 minutes. Does she say she doesn’t want another ankle? Anyway, JOLLY GOOD.
06 Last Kiss – OK at some point she was going to lapse into the sort of RnB that does nothing for me (SORRY FOR FEELING THIS WAY LAMBS, I was BORN THIS WAY). It’s alright, but just feels like a drop in momentum, there’s nothing special about this one. I’m struggling to find anything to say about this.
08 Thanx 4 Nothin – More mid-tempo stuff but at least better than Last Kiss. A bit more MISERY. I don’t want her to feel bad but that often seems to bring out more interesting songs (YOU TOO, ALANIS). Does she sing about a PSEUDO-romance? I totally get that *sigh*. In fact I feel like I relate to this a little TOO well, people are constantly not meeting my expectations and getting away with it because I fancy them. THANX 4 NOTHIN GUYS.
06 O.O.C. – I like the maracas or whatever they are using on percussion. Hmm, is that the best thing I can comment on, seriously? It’s alright again (“Scusa me!”), but there isn’t enough melody to it for me to get too attached to it. And you know me and my MEL-O-DEE, it’s pretty important as far as I’m concerned.
07 For the record – Is it just me that feels this has a bit of a Asian feel to it? Maybe it’s just stuff from over there that’s aping stuff from the USA in the first place. This is an improvement, I like the vocals for the most part. That electric violin sample is quite nice over short periods. Again, the chorus lacks a bit of punch, the verses feels like they are carrying this one. THEY.CAN’T.COMPETE.WITH.M.C. *squeak*. Yeah, it’s alright.
06 Bye Bye – Hmm, is this trying to be a catch-all anthem for emotional soundtracking on TV shows? I hope so, because that’s probably the only way I’d say this doing its job. It comes over as quite insincere and one-note. Chorus? Just say bye-bye bye-bye bye-bye about 10 times. Some of these lyrics are beyond inane, it’s like child’s poetry. I hate saying that because it’s probably about something really traumatic that’s happened to her, but JESUS it doesn’t come across.
07 Wish you well – I thought from the title it might be one of those “we give them positivity” moments, and I guess it is a LITTLE bit, she’s singing about someone who turned on her when things went to shit. All very understanding, and weaves in an impressive array of bible chapter references(!). The power of the Lord hasn’t quite won me over here, but it’s got a nice BUILD to the whole thing. The guy is a bit offputting, like picking up a taxi’s radio on your speakers as it drives past. Guess I don’t like gospel that much (unless it’s Eternal ft Bebe Winans).
OK that’s that! Actually I feel a lot less positive about this now I’m at the end. I have listened to the first half a lot more, it’s just so much BETTER. She does fall into her usual elephant traps of blandness, but I think all-in-all it’s a good album. Not sure if I’ve listened to ANY Mariah album yet that I would think about listening to again as it stands, but I’m grateful for another batch of keepers. God, we’re nearly at the end now aren’t we?!
Keepers for the iPod: Migrate, Touch my body, I stay in love, I’ll be loving you long time.