Review: Mariah Carey – ‘E=MC²’

Published: Tuesday 15th Apr 2008 by Sam
Mariah Carey -  'E=MC²'Exactly three years after release of Mariah Carey’s 2005 smash ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’, the Diva serves up her 11th studio effort in the form of ‘E=MC²’. Billed as the emancipation of the 38 year old superstar ‘to the next power’, the age old adage ‘sequels never top originals’ echoes loudly throughout the set. By no means bad, it’s worse – mediocre; which after associating itself with its career-rivalling predecessor, doesn’t bode well for the record overall.

Arguably boasting some of Carey’s best work in recent years, the record’s standouts are exceptional. Album-opener ‘Migrate’, with its Southern, gritty production (courtesy of Danja) and killer bass-line, exemplifies Carey’s most revered quality in today’s uncertain music climate – her ability to ride over just about any beat effortlessly. Man of the moment, T-Pain (vocoder in tow), features on this future Urban smash.

Elsewhere, the brainchildren behind the some of Carey’s biggest hits, Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox, reunite with the songstress – serving up more of their winning formula. With ‘Thanx 4 Nothin’’, Carey and Dupri recapture the raw R&B sound that made 1997’s ‘Butterfly’ such a delight. It’s the Cox produced ‘For The Record’, however, that stands as the album’s most prominent highlight. The confessional track, which sees Carey remind a past lover not to “let go of us”, is a worthy successor to the ‘We Belong Together’s’ and ‘Don’t Forget About Us’’ that came before it. On the production front, the song has a darker edge to the aforementioned, yet evokes the same emotion that made them so relatable. By the time Carey belts out that last chorus, enlisting her trademark whistle note in the process, a new layer of authenticity is added to the song’s lyrics. Flawless.

For all its goodness, the Damian Marley assisted ‘Cruise Control’, is worth a listen, if only to hear Carey’s laugh-inducing attempt at Jamaican Patois. Thankfully, for Carey, the very deliberate nature of the ‘tongue- swap’ is conveyed by the laughs and “you crazy” which follow by the song’s producer Jermaine Dupri. The album’s light, playful mood is also evoked on the infectious first single ‘Touch My Body’, which is a lot stronger than oft given credit for.

Despite its highlights, the album, save for a few select tracks, comprises a collection of mediocre songs engineered to be radio-ready. Gone are the showy ballads in the vein of ‘Mine Again’ and ‘Circles’ that drove home its predecessor ‘Mimi’s’ tagline – ‘The Return of The Voice’. In its place an uncharacteristically vocally-restrained Carey, sails though the set list – sounding not far removed from vocalists she’s long been placed well above – only showcasing ‘The Voice’ sporadically on tracks such as the inspirational ‘I Wish You Well’.

Though Mariah’s partnership with JD yields great results on parts of the album, cuts such as ‘Last Kiss’ and the cheesier than cheese ‘Love Story’ do very little to further the legacy of their creative partnership. Arguably, serving as more of a detriment than anything else. The Cox produced ‘I Stay In Love’ falls flat also.

Dupri’s contribution to the record isn’t the only hit and miss affair on album. Famed Norwegian producers Stargate seem a little lost on their efforts; for Carey’s current single ‘Bye Bye’ relies too heavily on their same formulaic sound heard on just about every song on the radio these days. The anthem-like ballad only hits a home-run following the bridge, whereby Carey belts her heart out – still, sounding, somewhat restrained. On the other hand, with the funky-fresh ‘I’m That Chick’; it’s the slick production that compensates for the downright terrible lyrics. Often priding herself on her ability as a song writer, Carey, who is credited as a writer on the song, serves up lines such as ‘You know this what it be, I’m like the lottery”. Ok then…

As with Stargate, Carey’s enlisting of producers she hadn’t worked with prior, though a bold move, leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from the solid DJ Toomp produced ‘I’ll Be Loving You Long Time’, her collaborations with Swizz Beats on ‘O.O.C (Out Of Control) and Scott Storch – ‘Side Effects’ – disappoint. ‘’Effects’, though lyrically intriguing, due to Carey opening up about her failed marriage to Tommy Mottola, doesn’t instil the desire to listen again.

For an album billing itself as the 2nd instalment of such a stellar piece, it was always going to be a tough task to top it musically – a task it falls short of by quite a margin. Hook-laden and ready to be served to radio, you’ll likely be humming along to many of the tracks by the end of the CD’s running time. How many of those songs you remember come a year from now, however, will be a true testament to the album’s (lack of) longevity.

Your thoughts on our review and the album?

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  1. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Thank you for such an honest review. The lambs cant complain about that. I agree with everything you said but i do like OOC.. but more for the beat and vibe than the lyrics and vocals. All in all E=MC2 is quite a safe, lackluster album. Everybody needs to go out and cop Discipline instead.

  2. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    I luv ur blog but no offence I believe ur review was wack. Did u actually hear the album??????????
    I bet u in a few weeks or months u will realise what im sayin and wont stop listening to the album. I mean come on how can u not like “Side Effects”?
    Can you atleast give it a rating out of 5 stars?

  3. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Side Effects, O.O.C. were awesome! Your blog’s awesome, but you’re a bit harsh on someone who’s on their tenth album. Lol.

  4. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    mm sam
    wheres ur review for discipline?

  5. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    i usually LOVE ur blog, but this review is stupid… to the second power. The album is current, yes. But that ain’t a bad thing. It certainly reiterates how bad 07 was musically. E=MC² is the shiz. Thank goodness Mimi can show us how it’s meant to be done.

  6. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Discipline was crap. I only bought it coz I felt sorry for Janet and honestly I listned to the leak on the net but I havent once put that CD into my player. I think you were way off with your review. Im not saying that the album is amazing but it’s pretty good, her best work since 1997’s butterfly. Superior to the emacipation of mimi both lyrically and vocally.

  7. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    No disrespect to you Sam, cause I love your blog, but you and I OBVIOUSLY have different tastes in music! I’m sorry this album is full of hit material and is destined to be huge! Lyrically it shows Mariah entering honest water and giving some of her most revealing lyrics ever!

    I’m sorry, but you praised “Discipline” like it was some kind of masterpiece, yet I can only make it through 3 of the tracks on it. And you sweat Kelly Rowland like she’s the 2nd coming of Christ and you actually THINK they delivered better albums than Mariah Carey? Wow, enough said.

  8. xoxo gossip girl April 15, 2008

    i heard from a dear friend about your nasty review about some of the album’s & some of Mariah’s best tracks in years and thought I would come on and post my 2 cents. clearly that isn’t necessary. All of us feel the same. How about we remove your review and give the album a couple of more listens so that all of us are on the same page! Love your blog, really I do.. Hate the review..

    p.s.
    “Side Effects” is probably the second coming to “Breakdown”… how dare you!

  9. Mark April 15, 2008

    Hey Sam,

    Review was pretty much on-point, same sentiments felt by myself…

    I actually liked O.O.C, but I know a lot of critics have slammed it.

    I think the main point about this album is that it is an amazing effort. However, the emancipation was on another level… Mariah stepped out of the ‘radio ready’ box with her huge, soulful ballads… But now she has got right back into it.

    If you’re interested, you can check out my review of the album here – http://www.urbanreview.co.uk/2008/04/mariah-carey-emc2-album-review.html

    Mariah’s army of crazy fans will probably be happy to know I am a little more generous with my review…

    Keep up the good work Sam.

    M@rk

    http://www.urbanreview.co.uk

  10. Prince April 15, 2008

    It’s really sad when some people can’t accept other people’s opinions.
    And Sam, like any blogger our there, has a right to his own opinion.

    I’ve always been a big Janet fan, but am I going to lie and say she brought her A game on her last album? No. Not at all.

    The Emancipation of Mimi was, in my opinion, perfection. I can listen to every track til I turn blue, and the first listen I was floored, absolutely floored.

    e=mc2… i listened to it. And again and again, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. This record is okay.
    It’s a decent, but disappointing follow up to such a powerful record. Stars? I’d give it 3.5 out of 5, which is good, but EoM was a 5 star album. And if you eat up everything from your favorite artist like it’s gold without being able to really distance yourself and give or listen to fair reviews, then I think you just need to stick to fan sites of said artist.

  11. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    I disagree with this, too… While this may not be The Emancipation of Mimi, E=MC2 is pretty awesome. It’s a light, party record with some real knockout tracks. She mixes deep lyrics with fun, playful ones and I think it works out great. Definitely one of Mariah’s best albums and totally up there with Mimi and Butterfly.

  12. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Your review was of the minority and whack. You obviously don’t like her style of music if you hating because a lot of people who don’t even like her music are praising this album. It crushes the Emancipation of Mimi. I dunno what crack you’ve been smoking because your ears need a check. This album is classic and her best since Butterfly, there’s obviously some bias going on against Mariah because you’re review is not justified. HATER.

  13. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    i don’t like this album, i want to sleep with all these slow ballads, so boring la mariah, this time

  14. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    for the record is my favourite track too <3 i hope she releases it, it's not her conventional type of ballad (i.e. we belong together, don't forget about us, bye bye) in that the beat is more pop and almost sounds angelic, ethereal... it's an amazing contrast, i just loooooove the music of that song and the lyrics too!

    i do agree that this isn’t as good as emancipation of mimi but that said, it’s 10x better than what any of the other female artists have put out over the past few years (mary j blige, alicia keys, rihanna, beyonce, janet jackson), mariah is still on top with this album. but it isn’t to mariah’s usual standard. i still love it though.

  15. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    I don’t understand how TEOM is put on such a pedestal. Us fans see it as one of her weakest. This album is one of her best and rangest from 2nd to 4th favorite,(behind Butterfly, Daydream, and Mariah Carey).

    I love every song on this album, except for Touch My Body (which is just ok). Commercial and hit are not synonimous with mediocre or sell out. This album us full of Mariah’s personality and artistry.

    For you not to like I Stay In Love or Cruise Control because she uses patois for 5 seconds is ridiculous. Side Effects captures the chlostrofobia of her marriage and exactly how she felt/feels.

    People are quick to say she oversings, but the second she drops it down to a lower register and decreases the belting, folks complain. Her high notes haven’t been as clear since ’95 and her lower register was rarely heard.

    This album is not only the voice, the person, and the return of the artist.

  16. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    side effects is the best song on the album…
    sam im still waiting for your “discipline” review

  17. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    ZOMG Sam u f****** suck Mariah rulezz how dare you have an opinion on this album!!!!!!! This album is teh amazingness your just dumb!! Best album EVAHHH!!! P.S Mariah rulezzz u suck and so does ur opinion!!!!!!!

  18. JutCuz April 15, 2008

    Some of ya’ll are so whack. How can you get mad because his review wasn’t exactly what you wanted it to be. That’s the point to be reviewed from all types of people with their own opinion, not just her hardcore fans, how dumb and biased would that be?

    Anyway, with that said, i loove mariah..old stuff and recent stuff, but this E=MC album is just okay compared to her previous efforts. Especially coming off The Emacipation Of Mimi where she was really singing her heart out and had several stand out songs. I listened to this new CD the other day and it’s just not as moving. It does have some nice songs that are catchy of course but alot of it is generic and easily forgettable. It sounds like they were not that creative and tried to make a carbon copy of The Emancipation with only half the effort. But whatever. I hope mariah does great and eventually breaks the beatles record.

    Oh, and if some of ya’ll lames can’t handle other people’s opinion, take the stick out your a** and make your own review, which i’m sure you will love!

  19. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Wow what a harsh review… I ama ahuge mariah fan and I was not 100% impressed with eom, good album but too many fillers example stay the night, to the floor, your girl, get your number…. e=mc2 is an amazing and fun album .. I’m glad mariah had fun with the album e=mc2 is way better than eom imo… even the songs u considered fillers outshine tracks on eom… go mariah!!!! And janets discipline is far from a classic janet album… 4 good songs does not make a great album.. Even with all the interludes… listen to e=mc2 again

  20. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Lol look at all the lambs goin crazy! TBH the album is garbage, but it’ll probably sell 5 mill so shut your whining.

  21. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    All I have to say is that the review is pretty accurate…although still a bit harsh (what other female artist could attempt to make a “MARIAH CAREY” album, even if it isn’t up to the traditional Mariah standards…better yet, what female artist over 30 could come close?!?) Mariah is the top selling SOLO artist in HISTORY!! Enough said…she’s obviously doing SOMETHING right, am I right?!?

    As far as people not liking the album at its EARLIEST state, let me remind you…people HATED Touch My Body, and look at it now!! All those same people that hated Touch my Body are the main ones that BOUGHT the SINGLE and LOVE IT TODAY!!

    So don’t sleep on this album, because believe me, you are going to find yourself loving this album sooner or later!! TRUST!!

    It’s Mariah Carey People!!
    Yall know God is going to bless her no matter WHAT!! Lets not forget, she has one of the biggest fan bases in Music History!!

    I ALREADY BOUGHT 3 OF THE E=MC2 ALBUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NAH!!!!!!

  22. thirtydaes April 15, 2008

    i agree with the overall mediocre review of the album, but disagree harshly with your characterization of “Love Story” as “cheesier than cheese.” man that song is a banger; her and JD hit it out the park on that one…especially at the intro when JD laughs “can you hear that??”. man that’s my fave off the cd for real, along with For The Record and I Wish You Well.

  23. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    I’m so glad people have brought up their feelings about Janet’s Discipline – I was beggining to think I was the only one lol, yes major disapointment, like big time! E=MC2 is soooo much better. I do feel however that about 5 of the tracks should have been scrapped (quality over quantity) & it would have been a perfect album. I just really like the overall feel of the record, Mariah is not trying to prove anything to anyone this time – she’s just having fun there’s no cheesy ‘meaning’ or ‘message’. I hope to god MIGRATE is a single, i bloody love this song – the price of the album is worth this 1 song alone!!!

  24. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Dare I say but this album is definitely so much greater than “The Emancipation”…

    It’s just so full of big and hot hits…

    Nobody can deny that…

    Just listen to it a couple of times and you’ll see…

    -Bobby from Bulgaria-

  25. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    what happened to the mariah carey and kelis comp

    who won

  26. Anonymous April 15, 2008

    Mariah and kellis? Like thats even a question.

    About the review, I do agree I wasn’t blown off my feet by it..then again I never was expected to be. I was a loyal Mariah fan ever since Vision of Love and I was in love with her old-school ballads, but us ‘true fans’ have to face the reality that music’s evolved. We can’t expect the same s*** from 10 yrs ago to appear on her new album. I do agree that she may be geared a bit more towards selling and impressing on her latter albums, but that’s what the industry’s about. Can’t blame MC for trying to keep up by doing callabos with everyone.

    As for TEOM, that’s no doubt a huge album for her, after her breakdown n things it was the ‘return of the voice’ album. Obviously the album following such a hit album isn’t going to get 5 stars no matter what she does. Even if its off the wall banging there are going to be people sayin’ mariah fell off. Just watch what happens to Usher after his Here I Stand album drops…nuttin’ gonna top Confessions no matter what.

    Bottom line is that E=MC2 is a pretty decent album..a few really amazing tracks..Mariah’s still got it! I think if by ur 11th album you’re still the s*** then you have nothing to prove to anyone.

  27. fatblkboy April 15, 2008

    Well Sam, you knew you were going to get it if you didn’t say that Jesus was coming back behind this album – LOL! But I would agree with most of this review. I am disappointed. Luckily, I only bought one.

    Question, why is it that whenever someone doesn’t bow down and worship Mariah, Janet’s name is brought up?

  28. David April 15, 2008

    I appreciated that very honest review! I totally agree on many of your points, and even though I didn’t see eye to eye with you on others, it was refreshing to get someone else’s take!

  29. keef April 15, 2008

    I appreciate your review because I think it’s honest. “Side Effects” and “Cruise Control” are laughable against her previous work. Janet does seem to be the chick y’all LOVE to hate. I also wonder why Janet’s name is brought up in conjunction with Mariah. Both ladies are talented and have admirable track records of success and wealth. WILL NOT SPEND MONEY (nor advise others to) ON E=MC2, let insipid radio listeners do that. Did buy Discipline because it has some great workout tracks AND I’m downloading the new Madonna.

  30. Bee April 15, 2008

    While I wasn’t big on Emancipation of Mimi, I actually love this cd. But me being a Mariah fan, of course I would. I’m not gonna jump on you..and I didn’t really expect a great review from you since you haven’t said anything nice since she came out with Touch My Body. I don’t think people can compare Janet and Mariah…two different artists. I dunno why people expect her to do what she did in the 90’s seeing she didn’t want to make that kind of music anyway. Oh well, whatever floats your boat.

  31. Trey April 15, 2008

    OK let me just start out by saying I dunno what the hell a damn “lamb” is, but I don’t particularly consider myself one of Mariah’s die-hard fans. That being said, this review is completely off-base. E=MC^2 absolutely TRUMPS Emancipation. I dunno what y’all smoke over in the U.K. but stop smoking it… there is not a single bad track on here and this is Mariah at her best!

    EVERYBODY SUPPORT MIMI and buy the album!

  32. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    Pales in comparison to EOM. Every track seems like a bad copy of a previous hit. I mean yes it’s fun, and not “bad” but it’s not great. It’s no Glitter, but it’s no Butterfly (or EOM, how can people not ADORE this album).

    And the Janet stuff…still can’t understand why she’s brought up with Mariah. Two COMPLETELY different artists. Mariah creates vocal powerhouse hits and Janet paints an ‘era’. I just think they have different skills, different styles, different attitudes, different approaches…I just don’t get it.

  33. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    I liked TEOM but only after a few listens, but E=MC² I liked directly.

    Maybe because I’m a RnB lover-and this album is made for RnB lovers

  34. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    What the heck?! I bet you didn’t even listen to the album..You f****** gay ! Who da heck do you think you are ?!You aren’t even half as popular as she is ! GET A LIFE ! Maybe even go to hell . If you dare to continue to critique Mariah Carey , I’ll make sure you get put down .Assholic B**** ! Freakin’ Ass! You can’t sing! You can’t write lyrics ..Heck , maybe you’re even a psychopath . Ouh , I get it ..You’re just plain jealous .. So long sucker .OOoouuuupppsss!!!!!!!!!

  35. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    SERIOUSLY!! did you even LISTEN to tha album!!! Side Effects is one of the best tracks and Love Story is beautiful.. and so what if she tried tha jamaican patois thing… it works..
    dyu know what.. i am fast loosing respect for u sam.. me and you used to be on the same wavelenth but these days im not feeling your dissaproving comments (especially on Mariah)

  36. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    what r u talkin bout! this is a great album i loved it the first time i heard it. it matches the quality of The Emancipation of Mimi
    best tracks are ‘Migrate’, ‘Side Effects’, ‘I’m That Chick’, ‘Love Story’, ‘For The Record’ and ‘Bye Bye’. i did agree with you on ‘O.O.C’ but you just need to let it grow on you just like ‘Touch My Body’. in my opinion ‘O.O.C’ and ‘Touch My Body’ are the weakest tracks on the album

  37. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    damn anonymous comment poster @ 5:11pm.. i hope they find your IP address and block you from the site because your hate mail wasn’t necessary what so ever.

  38. Anonymous April 16, 2008

    Sam, this is a great blog just like others have said, but I disagree with you here. Side Effects is my favourite song on the album. I actually listen to more of these songs than those that were on Emancipation. And with respect to discipline, I can’t even remember anything on it besides “Luv” and “Feedback” and maybe one other song.

    Listen to the album again, maybe you’ll here it for real this time…

  39. Anonymous April 17, 2008

    this review is… ‘i can’t even know what to say’. you just really need to listen to the album again..
    i would just like 2 say why is everybody comparing Mariah and Janet.. their not even in the same league.. vocally and everythingelsely.. i just dont get it. i do love Janet though but the hype around ‘Discipline’ was way too much for what the album actually turned out to be. ‘E=MC2’ is better than i expected it to be…

  40. Jay April 17, 2008

    Sam… Are you serious??
    Maybe yu need a glass of wine!
    God.. You got some issues with Mariah!.. Seriously, you do!
    It’s like.. you’re hating on almost everything she does!

    E=MC2 is simply HOT.. and i can’t stop listening to it WITHOUT skipping any song!!
    I listen from the first track to the last one and i can’t get enough of it!

    Seriously, get a drink.. chill and listen to it.. coz a drink might help you if you think that this album is not good! i can’t believe you said that!!

    Or maybe you should go and listen to that stupid ass WACK album ‘DISCIPLINE’!!! Now this one is NOT good at all!!.. Except for a couple of tracks on it.. the album sucks.. BIG TIME!.. Even though I like Janet..Her new album is not good at all!!… “20 Y.O” was soooooooooo much better and HOTTER!!

  41. Anonymous April 17, 2008

    OMG!!!!

    what an idiot

    is he serious

    This Album is amazing..
    and the bad review of “I stay In Love”

    all i can say is are u stupid?
    that song is amazing!!!

    the whole album is
    mariah is abit out of your league it looks
    i mean how dare u “a Nobody” say such sh*t about flippin MARIAH CAREY she has accomplished sooo much and now has brought out such an amazing album and u sit and rubbish it!
    Some hater.. maybe mariah’s music is not as “how u doin” friendly as beyonce and janets. maybe thats the problem

  42. He’ll our February 8, 2016

    Muhgtc

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