Mariah Carey

music h - Music : Mariah Carey

Two weeks prior to the release of E=MC2 Mariah Carey's tenth album and the sequel to her big 2005 comeback, The Emancipation of Mimi the diva broke Elvis Presley's record of being the solo artist with the most number one singles on the Billboard charts. Lots of publicity surrounded "Touch My Body" reaching number one, as well it should: busting an Elvis record is always news, but this particular record served team Mariah well, as it paints Carey as being a diva who's bigger and better than the rest. An unintentional side effect of this very record is that it also tacitly pointed out that Mariah has been around a long, long time.

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.

Sometimes all this production is good and occasionally it's married to a full-fledged, hooky song, as on the excellent "I'm That Chick," a sleek slice of Off the Wall disco that's nearly giddy in its energy and melody, and perhaps on "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time," which also has a lightness that so much of E=MC2 lacks. Everything else pushes the rhythm and bass to the forefront and mixes Mariah into the middle, so it becomes a wash of sound sound that is designed to be fashionable, but like so much fashion, it's tied to the time and dates quickly. Which is why it's misleading to judge Mariah based on her new record of possessing the most number one singles, as she's not about longevity, she's about being permanently transient, a characteristic E=MC2 captures all too well.|