Dec 10 2014

Mariah's "Chanteuse" Makes Rolling Stone, Vibe & Idolator's Year End Best Lists‏

20 Best R&B Albums of 2014 (Rolling Stone)

Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse
No one sings like her, no one consistently clowns enemies like her, and most definitely no one titles an album like Mariah Carey. I Am Mariah isn't Carey's all-time best, but it improves significantly on its predecessor: 2008's plodding, tepid Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. Some credit goes to Jermaine Dupri, one of Carey's foundational collaborators and overseers, adept at transposing what Mariah does well — singing, nostalgia, rapper-collabs — onto a contemporary sonic scaffold. But most of the credit goes to Carey herself, forever good-humored, funny and relatable. So yes, "#Beautiful," a gorgeous, retro-soul duet with Miguel, is officially tracklisted with the hashtag in the song title. And she's extra withering toward a try-hard lover — "Best thing that happened to your ass was me" — on "Thirsty," which opens with the sound of a cork popping and champagne glugging into a flute. Carey is 45 and still killing it in a world that revolves around youth. A.M.

Albums From 2014 That Are Actually Worth Your Money (VIBE)

Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse
Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse (which should count as a self-titled album) finds Mimi owning her multiple personalities, minus the caricature. It’s a successful merger of her opposing images: the forever-young R&B star known to skate at a theme park in daisy dukes and the balladeer who finger-wags behind a mic in a gown. —Clover Hope

2014's Best Albums (Idolator)

Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse
Spare us the over-the-top grief about Mimi’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” performance: She’s been using those golden pipes for over 20 years, and she’s still supplying greatness today. Case in point? Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, her most insanely-titled record to date, and certainly one of her most true to her artistry.

From throwback R&B (“Dedicated”) for the nostalgia to breezy summer jams (“#Beautiful”) to breakdown balladry (“Cry.”) to oh-so-shady, technologically savvy kiss-offs (“Thirsty”) to the rare disco moment or two (“You Don’t Know What To Do”), the LP is a surprisingly varied and rich experience. As with the album’s oft-delayed campaign, Mariah takes her time through her 14th studio album, allowing her mature pipes time to warm up and really blow. Mariah is the very definition of a true diva, and she’s got nothing to prove considering her historic career — and yet, she still does. This is real, quality R&B at its finest in 2014. — BRADLEY STERN
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