Release Date: Apr 15, 2008
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop, R&B
Daydream. Butterfly. Rainbow. Glitter. No, those aren’t the names of Barbie’s pet ponies, they’re the ridiculously saccharine titles of Mariah Carey‘s albums from 1995 to 2001. So when she called her 10th studio CD The Emancipation of Mimi three years ago, it was clear that she intended to ….
E=MC2 is the anticipated follow-up to Mariah Carey’s much-heralded comeback album, 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi. The album arrives on the charts amid the hype of her achieving a musical landmark: “Touch My Body” became Carey’s eighteenth number-one single, besting Elvis’s record. Love her or hate her, her ability to absorb the current trends to produce hit after hit is remarkable.
After that separation, Carey restyled herself as a relentlessly modern R&B diva, chasing every passing trend in a given year, a move that often kept her on the top of the charts -- apart from the post-millennial stumble of Glitter, of course -- but had the side effect of making Mariah a musician who became progressively less mature with each passing year, culminating in the hazy soft-porn fantasies of "Touch My Body," the single that broke Elvis' longstanding record and will likely only be remembered for that achievement. Like so much of Emancipation and E=MC2, which is a virtual replica of its predecessor in almost every way, "Touch My Body" is all about sound, rhythm, and texture and not so much about song, something that helps sustain Mariah Carey's run at the top the charts, but something that also pushes melodic hooks, and in the process singing, into the background. As Carey's multi-octave voice has always been her calling card, the one thing that even her biggest critics have grudgingly acknowledged as her unassailable strength, this is a little odd -- especially on the T-Pain duet "Migrate," where she succumbs to auto-tune -- but it not only makes Mariah modern, it also camouflages her slightly diminishing range, so it does have a dual purpose.
Carey’s always been able to create hyper-contemporary reflections of whatever styles happen to be in vogue, while never straying too far from shiny and gooey pop balladry and hip-hop-tinged R&B. Her latest proves she’s still a relevant presence. Opener Migrate (with T-Pain) attests to this flexibility, all Southern crunk with Carey doing her best chilled-out R.