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Mariah Carey - Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

Mariah Carey, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

MULTI-Grammy winner Mariah Carey raised anticipation surrounding her latest album with the release of the punchy R’n‘B ‘stalker’ track Obsessed and the notion that she was delivering a concept album that followed her through a typical day.

Rumours of collaborations with Timbaland and Jermaine Dupri also abounded… although in the final analysis, the LP is almost entirely down to the writing and producing skills of Mariah, The-Dream and Tricky Stewart.

The result is an utterly dull listen that sheds next to no light on the Mariah phenomenon (unlike Rihanna’s new album), while apparently going through the motions.

Songs have the habit of drifting lifelessly into one another, with Mariah’s vocals sounding particularly limp for large sections.

When she sings “I can’t wait to hate you” on the early track H.A.T.E.U, there’s no sense of passion or feeling. It’s just delivered, complete with trademark background falsetto highs.

Ribbon, meanwhile, barely picks up the pace or changes the instrumental arrangements, reverting to slow finger clicks and more drippy lyrics.

At 17 tracks and a further four remixes, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel gradually takes the form of an interminable listen with only the odd decent moment to lift the tedium.

Obsessed, the lead single, is one of the standouts… but nothing that special within the context of R’n‘B and more adventurous singers such as Beyonce or Rihanna.

Up Out My Face, a shambolic name for a record if ever there was one [what does it exactly mean?], picks up the pace a little and even drops a marching band style refrain. But the fact that Mariah feels the need to revisit and repeat a track suggests she’s merely adding padding.

A far better move would have been to just stick with the marching band spin from the get-go… although as a female singing role model the decision to name a track in such a non-sensical manner merely rubs it in.

Likewise, the decision to reprise another track, The Impossible, as well as add on remixes of just the one track, Obsessed rather than putting an alternative spin on any of the album’s other tracks.

Taken as a whole, therefore, Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel feels like a particularly lazy, self-indulgent piece of work that takes no risks, offers nothing of real merit and labours the smooth groove R’n‘B sound to nauseating effect.

A tepid cover version of Foreigner’s I Want To Know What Love Is also ends the album on a rather unimaginative note. Avoid!

Download picks: Obsessed, Up Out My Face (Reprise), Standing O

Track listing:

  1. Betcha Gon’ Know (The Prologue)
  2. Obsessed
  3. H.A.T.E.U.
  4. Candy Bling
  5. Ribbon
  6. Inseparable
  7. Standing O
  8. It’s A Wrap
  9. Up Out My Face
  10. Up Out My Face (The Reprise)
  11. More Than Just Friends
  12. The Impossible
  13. The Impossible (The Reprise)
  14. Angel (The Prelude)
  15. Angels Cry
  16. Languishing (The Interlude)
  17. I Want To Know What Love Is
  18. Obsessed [Cahill Radio Mix]
  19. Obsessed [Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit]
  20. Obsessed [Jump Smokers Radio Edit]
  21. Obsessed [Friscia and Lamboy Radio Mix]