April 17, 2008

Test Spin: Mariah Carey

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Hate her or love her, you can’t deny that Mariah Carey makes popular records — she recently broke Elvis Presley’s all-time record for most #1 hits by a solo artist. Although her new album, E=MC2, is far from an artistic breakthrough — it faithfully follows the formula laid out on Emancipation of Mimi — it is by far her most enjoyable effort in over a decade. What’s refreshing here is how pristine Mariah’s voice sounds; her vocals dosn’t come off nearly as shrill as they did on Emancipation. She sounds like a powerhouse again, particularly on standouts “I Stay In Love” and “For the Record.” The breathy, indiscernible vocals of post-millennium Mariah are also missing — this record finds Carey belting out tunes almost like the old days. There’s a looseness to E=MC2 that we’ve rarely seen, with bouncy cuts like “O.O.C.,” “I’m That Chick” and “Cruise Control” exhibiting a carefree diva enjoying an amazing career revival. Expect some big hits from this one.