Mariah Carey returns strong with her latest release, The Emancipation of Mimi. It is a much needed departure from her most recent releases, like Charm Bracelet and Glitter. This album not only showcases Carey’s talent for writing and co-producing with popular producers in the industry (the Neptunes, Kanye West, Jermaine Dupri, and R.Kelly, among others), it proves that unlike many of Carey’s colleagues, she is a true talent and that her voice has not diminished over time.
Carey did a superior job on reaching out to audiences of all ages without alienating her older fans that have been with her since the beginning of her career. The ballads “We Belong Together,” “Mine Again,” “Circles” and “If You Only Knew” should impress her 90s fans, while hits like her current single “It’s Like That,” as well as other songs featuring the likes of Nelly, Snoop Dogg and Twista will appease her newer fans.
Still Carey adds another gospel-sounding dimension to the album with “Fly Like A Bird,” while her voice is at its peak in “Stay the Night” and at the end of “Joy Ride” leaving absolutely no room for confusion on whether or not Carey has lost her touch. Still Carey brings in “Shake It Off” and “One and Only” to appeal to a more hip hop sound, as does “Get My Number” and “Say Somethin,” which thankfully manages to sound unfamiliar considering it is a Neptunes beat. The remainder of the songs flow nicely and add to the general overtone of the album.
This album marks a true comeback for Carey, especially considering the lack of current vocal rivals in the industry.A critic for Vibe Magazine wrote, “Mariah gets back to her winning formula with Mimi,” and that is perhaps a perfect generalization of the album because it is that and much more. It is everything you want to expect from Carey and is the most consistent album since her debut.