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Friday, April 01, 2005

Caution: It's So Explosive!

A part of me believes that the world is not quite ready for The Return Of The Voice. By which I mean, of course, Mariah Carey's new album, The Emancipation Of Mimi. I mean, first there is the fact that MC has always been ahead of her time. Then one must consider that Mariah has been out of the spotlight for almost two years, hopefully spending most of it preparing the masterpiece that Emancipation surely will be. Plus, let's face it, not since Bob Dylan released his follow-up to Self Portrait has an artist of Mariah's magnitude had so much to prove. My point being, this is shaping up to be a comeback like no other. If the first single, "It's Like That", is any indication, Mariah is set to reclaim her spot both atop the charts and as the reigning diva in pop and R&B. Hear for yourself:

Mariah Carey - "It's Like That"

I was one of the first people on my block to bump this song. Mariah has always been an exceptional songwriter, but she very nearly outdoes herself here. Witness her brilliant use of metaphor: "Those chickens are ash and I'm lotion". Plus, rhyming party with Bacardi and tamale is brilliant, far ahead of most of the simple rhyming going on in most of today's pop music. Jermaine Dupri's spoken parts add an element of pathos and Fatman Scoop's Lil' Jonesque shouts really definitely pump me up, making this one of the best club anthems I've ever heard. On top of that, the throwback artwork is a nice touch.

Here are a few more songs from The Emancipation Of Mimi which show Mariah "The Voice" Carey returning to form:

Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together"

Mariah does ballads so well that sometimes they don't even have to be well-written, but when they are they're on a whole nother level. Case in point: "We Belong Together". It's noteworthy for its embrace and then deconstruction of the ballad form, which she accomplishes here through some very convincing use of rap. A lot of people forget that she was one of the first (and best, I might add) to merge pop and hip-hop. Also, fuck Dr. Laura, I've learned more about relationships from MC than basically anyone else. Her insight into the incredible multitude of emotions that come with heartbreak is unmatched. At the same time, she never leaves me without hope or inspiration. I often wonder, how does she do that?

Mariah Carey & Snoop Dogg - "Say Somethin'"

MC and Snoop Dogg have teamed up before and the results have always been nothing short of outstanding. They have a chemistry that is so pure and true, akin to duos from days gone by like Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty or John and Yoko. Throw production from The Neptunes into the mix and you've got a classic on your hands. It'll be interesting to see how this figures into Emancipation, which is a concept album.

Mariah Carey & Fat Joe - "It's Like That [Scott Storch Mix]"

I'm including this remix for those who've grown tired of "It's Like That", i.e. not me. It's not quite as good as the original, but it's nice to hear a different take on the song. I wish she had gotten someone else for the guest rap because, to these ears, Fat Joe just sounds too fat. Plus, the absence of Fatman Scoop limits my enjoyment. That certainly doesn't take anything away from Mariah's poetry though.

Be sure to visit Mariah Carey's official website for more information and, if you're lucky, more sneak previews leading up to the April 12th release (only 11 days away!) of The Emancipation Of Mimi.


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