Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse

On Mariah Carey's 14th studio album, stylistic cohesion is as elusive as the chanteuse herself. Here, R&B is less a static genre than a way to combine the best bits of hip-hop, disco and gospel. Highlights like the Wale-assisted dance jam "You Don't Know What to Do" and "Make It Look Good," where Carey glides over a warm beat reminiscent of Kanye West's soul-looping Chicago days, often raid two of three. The Wu-Tang sampling "Dedicated," on the other hand, is straight hip-hop – a tribute to a New York golden age that, unlike many such homages, reminds that "fresh" and "nostalgic" don't have to be mutually exclusive.

From The Archives Issue 1211: June 19, 2014