New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 11/5

Mariah’s ‘Memoirs’ nearly perfect
Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel – Mariah Carey
Island Records
4/5 stars

For almost two decades, Mariah Carey has been a consistent force in R&B/Pop music, with worldwide sales of more than 200 million copies and more number ones than any other solo artist.

The success and record-breaking achievements have made some wonder if Carey is still motivated and capable of making good music.

With Carey’s latest effort, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel,” she once again proves she is able to adapt and remain relevant in an ever-changing industry, while staying true to herself.

Just 18 months ago, Carey released the underwhelming and underperforming “E=MC2,” but she has picked herself up again, delivering one her best albums.

“Memoirs,” written and produced exclusively by Carey, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, takes us on a musical journey through the ups and downs of love.

Together, the three manage to produce a cohesive blend of the urban pop mid-tempos and ballads we have come to expect from Carey.

The album starts out with the confrontational “Betcha Gon’ Know.” It’s an indication of the witty lyrical content and creative mid-tempo production heard on the album throughout.

Next is one of the two singles the album could have done without, the horn and bass riddled “Obsessed.”

Carey claims the childish song is not about rapper Eminem, and while it does deliver its fair share of funny lines — example: “See right through you like you’re bathing in Windex” — the small-mindedness of it takes away its punch.

Surprisingly the other song chosen as a single, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” falls flat, as Carey adds nothing of value to Foreigner’s ‘80s classic.

Moving on, “Candy Bling,” contains finger snaps and soft keys that will remind you of The-Dream’s “I Love Your Girl.”

Carey sings of a time when love was young and pure. The lyrics are simple and gimmicky, but wasn’t everything that way back then?

As “Memoirs” continues on, Carey shines with some of her best ballads since “Butterfly,” including “H.A.T.E.U” (Having A Typical Emotional Upset), “Angel’s Cry” and the stellar “Languishing.” It’s clear that Carey’s powerhouse vocals and range are still perfectly intact.

“The Impossible” sounds like a ‘90s throwback, courtesy Blackstreet or Jodeci. Somehow Carey is able to tackle the sensual slow groove as her whispery vocals ride smoothly over the seductive beat.

The album does begin to wane with the cluttered and uninspiring “More Than Just Friends” and over-produced “Ribbon,” while the standouts on “Memoirs” are the tales of love gone awry and the anger and bitterness that ensue. The modern doo-wop Motown inspired “It’s A Wrap,” sing-along “Standing O” and the bold “Up Out My Face” all contain clever punch lines which could have been delivered by your favorite rapper.

Although not as versatile as some of her previous work, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” is very personal and full of songs that will walk you through each phase of love.

Carey has once again proven that she is able to continuously evolve and transform, while never losing her core, which makes her imperfections perfect.

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Thursday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and