Mariah Carey: E=MC2 Album Review

Mariah Carey is a believer in love. Underneath the low cut shirts, thigh high skirts, and six-inch heels is a woman just as confused about relationships as the rest of us; at least her music would have you believe it. Although some fans may not be able to let go of her curly haired “Vision of Love” days, that image is long gone. This time around on her new release E=MC2 (Island/Def Jam) things are a bit different than her previous “come-back” album The Emancipation of Mimi. E=MC2 is a little bit sexier and more polished for the Hip-Pop lover in you and packaged especially for the radio. Championed by the coy yet in control single “Touch My Body.” While lyrics upon closer dissection are admittedly a little spacey, the crossover appeal is undeniably strong.A virtual tripod of Hip-Hop/R&B, pop, and even reggae, this album is worth its weight in funky little relationship tracks about lust, make-ups, break-ups, and physical attraction. Though one note at times, the notes are entertaining ones. The introduction track “Migrate” featuring T-Pain continues his plugging of Patron Tequila (which at this point he’s hopefully getting free bottles for upon every mention) while Mariah matches his “vocals” with a low key bravado, bragging on migrating to the club amidst various haters and admirers. The only real surprise of the album is the pairing of Carey and Damian Marley for “Cruise Control” meant to be a double entendre of equal parts pop and reggae. Carey even tries her hand at patois. Gutsy? Yes. But in the realm of the songs upbeat make-up, it’s not as bad as you think.The Bryan-Michael Cox produced “I Stay in Love” tells of the average break-up to make-up joint. (“Dying inside cause I can’t stand it/ Make up break up can’t take the madness”). Mix Cox’s now signature piano structure with Carey’s knack for expressing dedication to love (even when it doesn’t conquer all), and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty good love song.After a while the beats start to sound the same, but manage to sound interesting. The Jermaine Dupri produced “Thanks 4 Nothin’” isn’t as angry or rigid as the title suggests, but the resentment in the lyrics add what the background guitars take away. The ever personal “Side Effects” featuring Young Jeezy is clearly a not so secret story of Carey’s previous marriage to Tommy Mottola, with a mention of “violent times,” which we hope are not autobiographical.Above all else Mariah Carey is a star. She has had a public breakdown and will forever be vilified for Glitter. Despite her setbacks, she’s still the top selling female artist of all time, and may surpass The Beatles for number one hits. Success like that doesn’t come from having a pretty face. She can sing, and more than proved this for the first ten years of her career. After proving that she can be emancipated, E=MC2 is not a match point of each hit from her previous album, nor should it be. E=MC2 is young, poppy, and less than age appropriate for a woman of 37, but it’s also cute, fun, and somewhat personal. In this day in music, that’s more than enough criteria for a star of her caliber.