By David T. Farr
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Whoomp! There it is ... Mariah Carey dropped her latest album this week without the slightest octave peep. Appropriately titled, “Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chantuese,” Carey followed in the footsteps of Beyonce’s stilettos.
Carey is the ultimate diva, but even she saw fit to follow Beyonce’s lead and release her album without fanfare and hype. The trick seemed to work for Bey, but will it for Mimi? Only time will tell. I can say this: Carey has pushed the album’s release date back multiple times hoping to capitalize on the right moment. It was originally touted for release last summer when the album’s first single “#Beautiful” made its debut.
Was it worth the wait? I’m going to say yes. The album was exactly what Carey needed and at precisely the right time.
Carey’s saturated media image was wreaking havoc on her credibility as a viable artist, especially after a disastrous run with co-judge Nicki Minaj on “American Idol.” She was the butt of the joke all too often, when deep down all we wanted to do was hear her sing like she used to.
Thankfully on “Me. I Am Mariah” we get reacquainted with the woman who tickled our eardrums with the now classic ballads’ “Vision Of Love,” “Hero,” “Without You, and “Love Takes Time.”
If you listen close enough to the new album you can hear reflections of her earlier days, something that’s been missing from her albums over the last decade. The opening track, “Cry,” just might lure in a few of those fans who may have stopped caring. It’s a sweet piano ballad in true Carey fashion.
She continues the nostalgic notion on “Faded,” a song that features arrangements from Inner Life’s disco gem “I’m Caught Up (In A One Night Love Affair)” and “Let Me Make Love To You:?by The O’Jays. It’s a great song through and through.
“Supernatural” carries on the slow groove, complete with harps strumming and the giggling debuts of Roc N’ Roe (a.k.a. her kids’ Moroccan Scott and Monroe).
Stevie Wonder appears in classic form and with harmonica in hand for “Make It Look Good,” while rapper Nas joins in for a Wu-Tang sampling tribute to hip-hop’s golden era on “Dedicated.”
“#Beautiful,” featuring R&B sensation Miguel, is still a favorite here, even though it’s a year old — the sign of a good song.
But it’s when Mariah goes back to her roots that we see her at her best. “Heavenly” is the Mariah I fell in love with all those years ago. Backed by a full choir, the Gospel epic just resonates the beauty of what a powerful voice can do — lift you up.
Well if it’s any consolation Mariah, I am glad you are you, elusive or not.
David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Mich., Journal correspondent. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Farr Side: Mariah Carey album worth the wait
By David T. Farr