By Aneel Brar
Mariah Carey is like that crazy single aunt who used to be cool when she was younger but went a little crazy as time passed and the world changed. You still love her, but more for what she was ten years ago than for what she is now. Now you find yourself trying to avoid having conversations with her at family functions just so you won’t say anything that will crumble her tenuous stability and impel her down the path towards another mental breakdown.
Most of us remember Mariah from the early to mid 90s when we were dancing in our Bugle Boy jeans and flannel shirts to Daydream or Honey. But perhaps she is most remembered for is her infamous Glitter movie/album fiasco and subsequent breakdown in 2001. Carey’s latest album, The Emancipation of Mimi, is not quite the artistic resurrection Carey fans have been waiting for and that the title suggests, but it is definitely a step in the right direction for the troubled 35 year-old songstress.
This album still has the airy, diva-pop sound with the spattering of obligatory stratospheric notes we have come to expect from Mariah. It also has a contemporary, hip hop flavour making it an enjoyable listen, thanks in large part to heavy doses of Jermaine Dupri production. Carey is also helped along with valuable collaborations from Snoop Dog and the Neptunes on “Say Something”–which features the increasingly emerging softer, singing Snoop–and the now ubiquitous producer with the Midas touch, Kanye West on “Stay the Night”. Twista and Nelly round out the celebrity cameos and each do their part to keep Mariah Carey’s sinking ship afloat and ensure decent sales.
There is still an air of self-consciousness to Mariah’s singing but overall she projects a measure of confidence helpsing you to remember why she, like your crazy aunt, was so cool back in the day. Regardless of her troubles and recent flops, Emancipation contains several possible top 40 hits to keep her label happy and, more importantly, tide her fragile psyche over for while. Listening to the album also reminds us Mariah Carey can sing the pants off of most pop artists today.