It's only been 17 months since Mariah Carey released her last album E=MC², so it's a treat for Mariah fans that she's doin' it 90's-style & releasing her new album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel the next year. Here's some more good news: Whether you liked her last album or not, there's something on Memoirs for you. If you liked E=MC², you fully appreciate Mariah's music & will enjoy her new album. If you didn't, Memoirs has a throwback style that focuses less on trends & more on innovation. Mariah worked almost exclusively with the production team of The-Dream & Tricky Stewart this time around & you may not realize it now, but that's a trio sent from heaven!
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel starts out with "Betcha Gon' Know," a prologue that sets the mood very well. Mariah's personal touch lyrically on this one is particularly special. We then head straight into the album's first single "Obsessed," which demonstrates Mariah's uncanny ability to create a hit in the only real E=MC²-ish track on the album. Next up has to be my favorite song on Memoirs: "H.A.T.E.U.," or 'having a typical emotional upset.' Dare I say its brilliance is subtle, "H.A.T.E.U." features Mariah's lower & whistle registers in ways better than I ever thought possible. Then, after a few listens, throwback slow jam "Candy Bling" even gave me Butterfly vibes. Keeping with the mood, "Ribbon" hits hard & by the time "Inseparable" is playing, you'll feel like you've rediscovered real music.
When Mariah turns the tempo up a couple notches on "Standing O," the result is straight fire. The lyrics are the truth & the chorus will have your arms up in the air! Next up is "It's A Wrap," one of the best vocal showcases on the album; I promise you it's that Mariah voice we all know & love. In no small part due to the leaked demo, The-Dream's influence can be heard on "Up Out My Face," but don't let that scare you off. The attitude-driven smash shows that Mariah can do his style much better than he could ever wish to. More evidence of this theory can be found in the scorching verses of "More Than Just Friends."
I don't think this is the first time I've addressed the fact that many, including myself, tend to think when an artist is in love, the creativity put into their work tends to suffer. Well, feel free to rejoice that Mariah & Nick have found eachother because "The Impossible" is a gorgeous dedication to her boo. The song's preceding reprise & the "Angel" prelude are representative of some of Memoirs' best offerings. They create an atmosphere of beauty &, in the latter, Mariah puts that outstanding whistle register to work in the best way once again. That one leads into what is undoubtedly a highlight of the album, "Angels Cry." This is that phenomenal big ballad that we've come to expect from Mariah & only Mariah. Also, yes, that big ol' note at the end is there & will make you lose your mind. The Butterfly comparisons continue with the "Languishing" interlude, which gives me the most old school MC vibes on the album. It's heartbreakingly beautiful, especially as it brings us into Memoirs' closer, the cover "I Want To Know What Love Is." If you consider yourself someone who can appreciate an exquisite vocal offering or just a person that enjoys good music, you can't not love this.
For as long as I can remember & for a longer time than any other artist, I have loved Mariah Carey. I have heard all of her slightly different musical styles over the years, from the ballad queen to the R&B diva with originality to the pop star to the modern-day chart-topper, & I feel like the best aspects of all of them have come together alongside creativity to reveal the masterpiece that is Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel. If you like R&B, you'll like Memoirs, & if you love Mariah, you'll love it, but there's a level of brilliance & sophistication there that should you get to it, will put you in a state of bliss beyond words.
Rating: 5/5 Stars