Emancipation of Mimi [Platinum Edition]

The Emancipation of Mimi [Platinum Edition]

4.6 14
by Mariah Carey
     
 

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You don't expect to hear a streetwise quip like, "Them chickens is ash and I'm lotion," fall from the well-appointed lips of veteran pop star Mariah Carey, but that's exactly what she belts on the danceable lead single, "It's Like That," from The Emancipation of Mimi. As the title of her eighth studio album indicates, Carey -- called Mimi by her close friends

Overview

You don't expect to hear a streetwise quip like, "Them chickens is ash and I'm lotion," fall from the well-appointed lips of veteran pop star Mariah Carey, but that's exactly what she belts on the danceable lead single, "It's Like That," from The Emancipation of Mimi. As the title of her eighth studio album indicates, Carey -- called Mimi by her close friends -- has unleashed the less P.C. side of her personality. Departing from the ballad-heavy direction of 2002's Charmbracelet, Mimi is closer in sound and mood to 1997's hip-hop- and classic-soul-drenched Butterfly. Although she can't quite reach the pitch-perfect heights she once did, Carey is still a soaring songbird with a signature sound. And to compensate for any weathering of her pristine pipes, she enlists a top-notch team of collaborators. Standouts include the goose bump-inducing, Kanye West–produced "Stay the Night," the Jermaine Dupri–produced doo-wop jam "Shake It Off," and the sparse funk of the Neptunes-helmed and Snoop Dogg–assisted "Say Somethin'." With her next outing, let's hope that the melodrama-prone Carey doesn't disturb the infectious groove she's found here, and that the carefree Mimi is here to stay.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The titular "Mimi" of The Emancipation of Mimi is, by all accounts, an alter ego of Mariah, a persona that captures Carey's true feelings and emotions. In case you didn't know what "emancipation" means, Mariah helpfully provides a dictionary definition of the word in the opening pages of the liner notes for her eighth proper album: it means "to free from restraint, control, oppression, or the power of another" or "to free from any controlling influence" or "to free somebody from restrictions or conventions." So, on The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah frees herself from the constraints of being herself, revealing herself to be -- well, somebody that looks startlingly like Beyoncé, if the cover art is any indication. Mimi, or at least the sound of her emancipation, sounds remarkably like Beyoncé, too, working a similarly sultry, low-key, polished club groove. And that's the main story of The Emancipation of Mimi: since the reserved, tasteful adult contemporary pop of 2002's Charmbracelet failed to revive her career, she's done a 180 and returned to R&B, in hopes that maybe this will create some excitement. It's not a bad idea, particularly because Mariah could use any change at this point, and it's not executed all that badly either, as all 14 tracks -- heavy on mid-tempo cuts and big ballads, with a few harder dance tunes featuring big-name guest rappers scattered along the way -- all follow the same deliberately smoky, late-night template. While the Neptunes provide the best dance cut here with "Say Somethin'" (featuring a cameo by Snoop Dogg), especially welcome are some nice old-school '70s smooth soul flourishes, best heard on James Poyser's deliciously sleek "Mine Again" and such "Big Jim" Wright productions as "I Wish You Knew" and "Fly Like a Bird." As good as those Wright-helmed cuts are, they are also the times that the mixes slip and don't hide the flaws in Mariah's voice, and it sounds as airy, thin, and damaged as it did on Charmbracelet, where her ragged vocals dealt a fatal blow to an already weak album. Here, apart from those Wright tracks, the producers camouflage her voice in a number of ways, usually involving putting the groove and the sound of the production in front of the vocals. While the tunes aren't always memorable, it does make for a consistent album, one that's head and shoulders above the other LPs she's released in the 2000s, even if it doesn't compare with her glory days of the '90s. Ironically enough, a big reason why The Emancipation of Mimi doesn't sound as good as those '90s albums is that Mariah never sounds like herself on this record. When she's not sounding like Beyoncé, she sounds desperate to be part of the waning bling era, dropping product placements for Bacardi, Calgon, and Louis Vuitton, or bragging about her house in Capri and her own G4, all of which sounds a little tired and awkward coming from a 35-year-old woman in her 15th year of superstardom. Disregarding these two rather sizeable problems, The Emancipation of Mimi still works, at least as a slick, highly crafted piece of dance-pop -- it might not be as hip as it thinks it is, nor is it as catchy as it should be, but it's smooth and listenable, which is enough to have it qualify as a relative comeback for "Mimi" Carey. [A 2005 Platinum Edition comprised a reissue and four bonus tracks.]

Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2005
Label:
Island
UPC:
0602498872017
catalogNumber:
000578402
Rank:
32711

Tracks

  1. It's Like That  - Mariah Carey
  2. We Belong Together  - Mariah Carey
  3. Shake It Off  - Mariah Carey
  4. Mine Again  - Mariah Carey
  5. Say Somethin'  - Mariah Carey
  6. Stay the Night  - Mariah Carey
  7. Get Your Number  - Jermaine Dupri
  8. One and Only  -  Twista
  9. Circles  - Mariah Carey
  10. Your Girl  - Mariah Carey
  11. I Wish You Knew  - Mariah Carey
  12. To the Floor  -  Nelly
  13. Joy Ride  - Mariah Carey
  14. Fly Like a Bird  - Mariah Carey
  15. Don't Forget About Us  - Mariah Carey
  16. Makin' It Last All Night (What It Do)  - Jermaine Dupri
  17. So Lonely (One & Only, Pt. 2)  -  Twista
  18. We Belong Together  - Styles P

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mariah Carey   Primary Artist,Vocals
Trey Lorenz   Vocals
Snoop Dogg   Rap
Jermaine Dupri   Background Vocals
Twista   Rap
James "Big Jim" Wright   Keyboards
Johnta Austin   Background Vocals
Nelly   Rap
Fatman Scoop   Background Vocals
Chop Horns   Horn
Charles Drayton   Drums

Technical Credits

Mariah Carey   Composer
Linda Creed   Composer
Jermaine Dupri   Composer,Audio Production
Patrick Moten   Composer
J.C. Phillips   Composer
James Poyser   Composer
Manuel Seal   Composer
Ashley Ingram   Composer
Rodney Jerkins   Composer
Babyface   Composer
Nick Jolley   Composer
Pharrell Williams   Composer
Sha   Composer
James "Big Jim" Wright   Composer
Calvin Broadus   Composer
Kanye West   Composer
Chad Hugo   Composer
Johnta Austin   Composer
C.C. Mitchell   Composer
Bryan-Michael Cox   Composer
Sidney Allen Johnson   Composer
L. Daniels   Composer
J. Alston   Composer
M. Riddick   Composer
C. Mitchell   Composer
Thomas Bell   Composer
M. Carey   Composer
J. Dupri   Composer

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