Mariah Carey is a diva. Soaring to the top of the charts with her incredible 5 octave vocal range, her rapid ascension to the pinnacle of Pop music remains a feat unmatched by any other solo act in history. From her 18 #1 hits to her outstanding record sales, she truly is a phenomenon. Yet, in recent years, it seems that Carey’s impact has begun to wane.
With the exception of her now 6x platinum ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’, Carey has been unable to produce a record in the last 10 years that captured renowned public appeal. In fact, she only accomplished 4 chart-toppers since the year 2000, a dramatic decline from the 14 she had in the 1990′s. Indeed, the demand for Carey’s material has now reached an all-time low as her latest LP, ‘Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel’, took an embarrassing 4 months to achieve a gold certification; a noticeable decline for an artist whose previous 11 studio releases all went platinum or higher.
The real question is: what can Carey do to rejuvenate her career? While ‘Memoirs’ received the best reviews of any album she released since ‘Butterfly’, it is blatantly apparent that Carey is remaining in her comfort zone of mid-tempo R&B and finger-snapping radio material. Most of her records capitilise on the same formula she used to re-establish her career in 2005. However, this is 2010.
Unlike her peers such as Madonna, Beyonce or even Christina Aguilera, Carey seems reluctant to experiment with her image and material in the same way that she does with her voice. She remains steadfast in her effort to hold on to her youth by crafting Sesame Street-quality material such as ‘Touch My Body’ and ‘Up Out My Face’. Even her ballads have begun to sound the same; almost all emulating the piano-driven productions of her monster hit ‘We Belong Together’.
If Carey does not reinvent herself soon, she runs the risk of slipping into irrelevancy like many of her counterparts including Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez before her. She certainly has both the skill and the talent to reposition herself at the helm of the game. Nevertheless, Carey needs to think ‘outside the box’ or her career may end up in one.