In 2009, Mariah Carey released her twelfth studio album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. I’m a huge Mariah fan. HUGE. I’ll get into that more in another post. Despite my devotion, though, I can be honest and appropriately critical. This isn’t one of my favorite albums in her catalogue. However, there are still some gems worth re-examing.
14. The Impossible
A dreary little song that Mariah wrote about her then husband Nick Cannon. It’s just…ugh. Two slow, boring, and vocally dry. I never liked Nick, so an ode to him wouldn’t win me over. Luckily, they divorced.
13. Standing O
This doesn’t get a standing ovation from me. It’s basically a “he did me wrong song”, which she has done better on so many other occasions. Throw in some overly written, yet unimaginative lyrics and you have a very blah track.
12. Angels Cry
A perfectly fine ballad about the end of a relationship. That’s all, just fine. I can’t say anything bad about it. On the other hand, I can’t say it’s a song I play very often. The big note at the end is nice though.
11. Candy Bling
This one is all about throwbacks. Mariah reminisces about young love while sampling from Ahmad’s “Back in the Day”. Normally I’d love a song full of nostalgia, but this drowsy number doesn’t do it for me. It could have been much livelier. If you want a better Mimi nostalgia-filled song, listen to “Dedicated”.
10. I Want to Know What Love Is
Ever since she scored a #1 hit with her cover of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There”, Mariah has typically had a cover song on every album. Some work very well and others don’t. Foreigner’s IWTKWLI falls into the latter category. This seems like she threw in a cover just because. She doesn’t really change the song up much aside from adding a gospel choir. It’s a bit lazy actually.
Hate U stands for “having a typical emotional upset”. Basically, Mariah has broken up with her man and she can’t wait to get to the part where she hates him. Right now, she’s in the “I’m hurt, but I still love you phase”. This track is just alright. Pretty vocals, especially the whistle notes, but overall, it’s nothing terribly memorable.
8. More Than Just Friends
The sample really makes “Friends” pop. Here we have Notorious B.IG.’s “One More Chance”. Adding Mariah to the mix makes for a good combo.
Mariah’s guy has her wrapped up like a gift with a bow on it. The imagery could use some work, but the hip-hop beat and her smooth vocals go well together.
This may be a short interlude, however it’s still one of the best tracks on Memoirs. Mariah loves to include an emotionally stirring song on her albums, usually near the end. Languishing is a very simple yet incredibly powerful piece of poetry.
Mariah and her boyfriend have broken up and it’s a given that they’ll get back together. One of them needs to stop being stubborn and pick up their damn phone. A smooth sexy track that you can’t help but your nod your head to. It contains interpolations of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”, which add a nice element.
4. Betcha Gon’ Know
The opener to the album. It’s unusual for Mariah in terms of the tone, pace, and structure. And that’s what makes it interesting. She sings about catching her man cheating. He doesn’t know she knows, so she has plenty of time to plot her revenge. And she’s gonna lalalalaugh in his face. For real, for real.
3. It’s a Wrap
This is a modern-day doo-wop song. It begins with a gorgeous high note played over a dreamy melody and continues with an explanation of why she’s done with her trifling man. Mariah is known for throwing big words into her songs. Here it’s “acquiescent”. I’m sure some fans had to look it up. To put that into a verse along with a threat to “call Maury Povich” is delightful songwriting.
2. Up Out My Face
The second-best kiss-off song on the album. Mariah reads her ex within an inch of his life. She tells him that she should have had another mechanic another her hood, orders him to quit calling her from his mama’s house, and claims the Harvard class of 2010 couldn’t even figure out a way to put them back together. Oh, and she cc’d all of his friends about his lame ass. Email burn. The kicker is the reprise with a marching band getting into the spirit. Break!
“I was like, why are you so Obsessed with me?” And with that Mean Girls quote, we have the #1 track. The lead single off the album, Mariah wrote this after Eminem was running to the tabloids saying they’d hooked up. No, Slim Shady, it never happened. She hit back with a song talking about a lame douche bag who’s obsessed with her. The shade in this song is amazing. “You a mom & pop, I’m a corporation. I’m a press conference, you a conversation.” Aside from the lyrics, the beat, overlapping vocals, and feel good vibe make this the standout entry of Memoirs.