Mariah Carey's most recent album seems to have popped up with relatively little fanfare for the publicity-loving diva. Granted she makes up for any lack of exposure by appearing scantily clad and in triplicate on the cover, but it's a far cry from the hoo-ha that accompanied the release of her great comeback record The Emanicipation of Mimi in 2005.
Unfortunately, as with the follow-up E=MC2, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel rides on the coattails of that success. It's an album full of pseudo hip hop and the too-clever lyrics Carey's been writing since Daydream.
But these flaws alone do not a bad album make.
The first problem is that Carey has unique talents: she has one of the widest vocal ranges ever, and it's almost as if she's given up on her incredible voice.
But the bigger deal is that this is samey: nothing stands out.
First single Obsessed, a rumoured dig at rapper Eminem, will get stuck in your head, but only after several listens. The Impossible is a sweet dedication to hubby Nick Cannon. And Up Out My Face (The Reprise) is a funky, school marching band snippet of streetwise genius.
But so many of the songs just blend into one. If you liked Carey before she was Mimi, this disc will just upset you. But if you like softcore hip hop, give it a shot.