Many people talked about Mariah Carey’s E=MC2 as a disappointing and tired album. I didn’t think so. I thought that it was a throwback to some of her really good albums of the 1990s – like Daydream and Butterfly. Those albums showed that she was willing to go in a different direction – pushing to change her sound to that of Soul/R&B rather than pure pop. The Emancipation of Mimi seemed almost like a step back to the pop sounds – but E=MC2 had a stronger R&B flavour. On that album Mariah tried new things too – Cruise Control and Side Effects are some of her better songs. She continues to experiment with new sounds on Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel, and for the most part it makes for an interesting album.
Betcha Gon’ Know: This song really sets the tone for the album. Its darker than any opening song I can ever think of for a Mariah album. After several listens through I’m starting to enjoy the different style of it. Not often do we hear Mariah saying “I’m Gon‘ Get U Back.” That’s so cool!
Obsessed: This is a fun song, but I’m not sure why she released it as the lead single from the album. Even listening to the previews I can hear several other songs that would have been better.
H.A.T.E.U.: Of all the songs that Mariah has written in this vein (I Don’t Wanna Cry, Slipping Away, etc) I think that this is probably the one where she shows emotions more accurately. After a few listens through this is one of my top three favorites from the album.
Candy Bling: This isn’t a bad track but I think the title sort of turned me off. Was there nothing else that she could have called it?
Ribbon: I could have done without the beginning noise, but I love the rest of the song. I think this type of sensuality is what she’s been trying to achieve with songs like Bliss but it blows that song out of the water. To me, perhaps knowing about her marriage, this song really exudes that first total happiness and obsession with intimacy. Its awesome.
Inseparable: This one seems too generic for me. I don’t know what it is but I am so far very indifferent to this song.
Standing O: I love this song simply for the fact that it sounds so different from anything else I’ve heard Mariah put out.
It’s A Wrap: At first I didn’t really care for this song, but upon listening to it a few more times I’ve come to enjoy it.
Up Out My Face: Like Standing O, this song is fun just in terms of the different sound. Its starting to grow on me as a really fun song.
Up Out My Face (Reprise): Who knew that Mariah even had it in her to do a reprise? This is cool.
More Than Just Friends: This song seems like pure filler for me. I don’t think I’ve been able to listen to it more than just once without skipping past it.
The Impossible: This song takes me back to the mid-90s and R&B. Jodeci, fo’ sho’. Like Ribbon is oozes sensuality. Its one of those songs, along with Babyface and R. Kelly, that sets a certain mood.
The Impossible (The Reprise): Was a reprise necessary? Probably not, but as this appears to be her first really good attempt at a soul/R&B record it wouldn’t be complete without one.
Angel (Prelude): I just don’t get it.
Angels Cry: This is the characteristic Mariah by numbers song, the same one that was represented on E=MC2 by Bye Bye, on the Emancipation of Mimi by Fly Like a Bird, etc. I haven’t yet come to see what’s so special about this song. Its another that I generally just skip over.
Languishing (Interlude): This song is a combination of Looking in, Vulnerability and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. I think the album could have done without it, frankly. The fact that it is just another reprise or prelude detracts from its already uninteresting aspect. As has always been the case with Mariah though, anything worth doing is worth overdoing, so we shouldn’t be surprised that there are 4 such songs on this album.
I Want To Know What Love Is: I question the recording of this song at all, and have even more questions as to why it was released as the second single off the album. I also wonder why she’s decided to cover all these 80s power ballads. I suppose it shouldn’t be a shock given she was doing it as early as the Daydream album (Open Arms). I just think it would be nice to hear her cover something more classic R&B – or even more pop-centric.