Mariah Carey: Memoirs of a Perfect Album

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, a play on the title of Minnie Riperton’s album Perfect Angel, serves as a reminder that Mariah’s talent soars at least an octave above her highest notes.    Having taken a bit of a dive with E= MC2 she took the reins with this album, not only writing her own songs (as usual) but also producing them.  The result is her most intimate record since Daydream.

The bass is thick, the grooves are tight, and the song order is right.   During an interview with Amazon.com, she said “Each song tells its own story. Each one is like an intimate conversation or entry in a private diary.”  She succeeded.  The songs are like a diary you cannot stop turning the pages of, or an intimate conversation you cannot pull yourself away from overhearing.

Memoirs is an an album that feels like an album.  Whereas a lot of mainstream albums feel like a bunch of singles and filler songs were just thrown together in a haphazard order, Memoirs takes you on a journey from beginning to end.   You can put on your headphones, lay back, and actually feel like you’ve gone somewhere.   Her lyrics and delivery of them bring you deep into what she is talking about, and the production (especially in the first song) grabs your attention and will not let go.

The song, I Wanna Know What Love Is (a cover from 1980s band, Foreigner) is given new life and perspective and perhaps depth with her interlude “Languish”.

My sole and minor problem with Memoirs is that this cover ended too abruptly.   It very suddenly and unexpectedly stopped when it was beginning to reach a nice build with the choir.  She could have riffed a bit more or faded it out a little slower.  The shortness of the song gives it the feel of a radio song she really connected with and wrote the lyrics down to in the margin of her diary before diverting her attention to her next entry.  Perhaps that is the effect she was going for.  If the pregnancy rumors are untrue, hopefully she will dig a bit deeper into it on tour.

This is definitely one of Mariah’s landmark albums, and fans should be able to forgive her for having pushed back the release date by close to a month to get it to that point.

Reviewed by Jef Kearns.
Jef Kearn is a soul-flautist proving that flute can get as “down and dirty” as sax.  Check him out at www.jefkearns.com

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