From April 18, 2008
Cliche though my title may be I truly think this is Mariah’s best album since Daydream. It is another rap/Hip-Hop influenced record like all have been since Butterfly (not always a good thing) but I think it works much better this time than it has recently. Even though there are rappers guesting on several songs again (expected but not welcomed by yours truly) their appearances aren’t as in your face as they have been on previous records. In fact, the appearances are minimal and well placed. Here are a few of my thoughts on the pieces.
- Migrate (featuring T-Pain)
First off this song seems like a combination of It’s Like That and Got Your Number. While I am not a great fan of the rap invasion into pop music, I think this is one of the better collaborations of Mariah’s career. T-Pain doesn’t seem added as an afterthought. I can’t really explain why I think this, because I don’t think there’s anything special about his appearance (that differs from songs like Heartbreaker) but perhaps it’s just that his voice works well with the song.
- Touch My Body
Even it’s position in the album’s sequence gives the idea that she wants this to be the follow up to We Belong Together. I don’t know if it’ll do that. It’s a good song, but pretty generic. Although I do have to say it’s certainly more explicitly sexual than anything I’ve heard from Mariah to date. The absence of rappers on this single is refreshing – in fact the fact that there’s only real rap on three of the fourteen tracks is like a breath of fresh air.
- Cruise Control (featuring Damian Marley)
I think this should have been, if not the lead single, the second single from the album. To me it seems like this is supposed to be the Shake It Off of this album, but it far surpasses that song. It’s an excellent summer song. I can hear this song being a relaxing summer driving song – windows down and the warm breeze in your hair.
- I Stay In Love
This is vintage Mariah. I could easily see this song as coming from one of her older albums: Daydream or Music Box. It’s another of those We Belong Together songs, certainly not original, but certainly a good heartbreak song. I think I have an affinity for it now because it exemplifies a mood I’m going for in a story I’m currently developing.
- Side Effects (Featuring Young Jeezy)
The first time I listened to this song I seriously wondered whether it was a Mariah song at all. It certainly is a much harder song than anything I’ve heard from her to date. Lyrically it’s another version of Prisoner – but the insinuation of abuse is probably the most blatant she’s ever been. I’m sure there are people out there who wonder how autobiographical this song is. I know I’m one of them. The darker beats, combined with the lyrics make this my favorite track on the album – and one of my top Mariah favorites overall.
- I’m That Chick
After a few listens to this song I realized something – that could easily have been a Kylie Minogue song. It reminds me very much of Kylie’s Love At First Sight. A fantastic club song – if it doesn’t get you moving I don’t know what song on this album will. I question the lyrics. I don’t know if “I’m that chick you like” is my favorite line at all – but I’ll forgive that because it’s got a fabulous beat.
- Love Story
If this album is truly thought as the second part of Mariah’s Mimi album I’d have to say that part one was the depressed side and this is the positive side. By that I mean that while there are breakup and eternal love songs on both the first album seems more negative – whereas this album his heavily weighted with the “We’ll be together forever songs. This is one of those songs. I particularly like the chorus on this song.
- I’ll be Lovin’ U Long Time
This is another of those groovy songs – and another positive love song. I agree with one review I read that this song does sound very eighties – but in a good way.
- Last Kiss
There’s nothing bad about this song – but there’s nothing really original. It’s got a good hook but it’s another Don’t Forget About Us – We Belong Together – Always Be My Baby – etc. I find that most of the Jermaine Dupri collaborations on this album (the exception is Cruise Control) are pretty generic – they’re fine – but the fact they’re almost all on the latter half of the album is not surprising.
- Thanx 4 Nothin’
I think that the deeper and almost flat sound to Mariah’s voice is what makes this song interesting. It gives it that real melancholy feel – otherwise the song would be flat – a regritated version of who knows how many other R&B songs. It does work with the album as a whole – but I can’t see it being released as a single.
- O.O.C (Out Of Control)
This is another excellent club song – it’s one of those quintessential party songs. I don’t know how it would fair as a stand out single, but as a party mix it absolutely rocks. I like the second verse most of all. And I think this collaboration with Swiss Beats is much better than the ones that were included on some versions of Mimi – which is why it was included on the album.
- For The Record
Next to Side Effects, this is my other favorite song on the album, not for originality, but more because of the personal connection I feel to the song. The mood set in this song clicked with me right away and gave me ideas for a few scenes in that story I’m writing. This song actually reminds me of Do You Think Of Me – it reminds me of one of those songs you hear on hot summer nights – full of longing songs.
- Bye Bye
I don’t understand why this was released as the second single of the album. It’s an OK song, but I agree with another review I read that it’s one of the weaker songs on the album. In a way it reminds me of Thank God I Found You. I don’t think this song has the heart of One Sweet Day. Again, I think one of the biggest problems is that it is like a million other songs out there. I wish her well with it as a single – but I think she should steer towards a song like Cruise Control or Side Effects for singles in future. Take a chance Mariah.
- I Wish You Well
This song is growing on me every time I listen to it. I really do like the fact that she’s simplified it – being backed by just a piano. I don’t think it is in the same league as Vanishing or I Am Free. It does seem to have an intimate club feel though – which I do like.
- 4real4real (Bonus Track)
I can understand why this song wasn’t included as part of the regular release of the album. I don’t think it’s a bad song – it’s a very relaxed groovy song, but it’s one of the weaker of the 15 tracks.
Yes, I do agree that Mariah’s not breaking ground with this album, but I don’t think she’s done that in the past either. As a package though I think this is one of her best albums in a long while, and probably one of the better albums that’s come out in a while. I enjoy the fact that there’s less rap present than on past records, and I like the fact she seems to be taking a few more risks like on Side Effects and Cruise Control. This album has been out for less than a week and I’ve probably listened to it in it’s entirety at least a half dozen times. I think it’s going to be on repeat for quite a while.