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"Me. I Am Carey… The Elusive Chanteuse" Reviewed

untitledThe first 15 minutes of Me I Am… The Elusive Chanteuse are so great you’ll think you’ve gone to Mariah Carey heaven. Sure, she overuses that incredible range of hers and ululates when she should hold a note, but “Cry”, “Faded”, the nas duet on “Dedicated” and last years #beautiful” with Miguel are as swoony a quarter hour of pop as you will hear this year.

And then… and then you hear the sound of a bottle of beer being poured for “Thirsty” and already you’re turned off and the following hour, yes hour, of music is all over the place. God knows we don’t need babies gurling, it didn’t work for Beyonce and it doesn’t work for Carey

It made me think: what if the album had been 35 minutes in length, could I find an additional four out of the fourteen remaining songs up to this standard and the answer was no, I couldn’t, but I could find the excellent track with Wale, another song with Mary J. and another song with R. Kelly, all pretty well and if you strained your sinews you could have a very solid “A” album and not this unwieldy album we have.

Mariah is a weirdo and Me I Am is a weirdos album, it is a mess without a center of gravity, it keeps on going over 45 minutes after it should have ended and the result is obvious: you can’t get to the bottom of it. There isn’t enough time. You can listen to it for an hour and only hear a song once.

And too many of these aren’t good enough to be worth wading through to get to the good stuff: it is all what we expect, hip hop balladry, except the orchestration suggest more mainstream 70s soul models, but to songs that don’t quite payoff . “Thirsty” is the first of three dogs in a row and you listen to them almost shrugging, why including? Why not leave em somewhere else? Why way down a good album with bad songs? It makes no sense to me why a voice this great won’t sing songs this crazy. Plus, honestly, at 45 years old she sounds awesome. This woman can sing so you are forced to pay attention, she stops you dead in your tracks and leaves your heart like a hammer. “Make It Look Good” is like Stevie wonder, with that harp blowing all over the place, and her pacing is awesome, she sounds fresh and light footed. But the song sucks.

Look, it is always a pleasure to hear from Mariah but she needs quality control. I realize that six years between albums is long enough for their to be a bottle neck, but here less would be absolutely more.

Grade: B

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