Reviewer: Ahmed Douigh
After the frightening meltdown that coincided with her film and soundtrack, Glitter, it was a safe bet you’d never hear music like that from Mariah Carey again. And that’s a shame. Because while critics were busy giving the movie its deserved shellacking, they ignored the fact that the accompanying songs were Carey’s best-ever work, a collection of ’80s-leaning pop that offered fun and lyrical honesty in unexpectedly large amounts.
But with a new label that expects the hits of old, playtime is over: the first single, “Through The Rain,” is breathy, by-the-numbers balladry without the surprising depth of Glitter’s slow jams, while “Boy (I Need You)” sucks the life from Cam’Ron’s summer hit “Oh Boy” in a dubious appeal to the hip hop crowd. Those two blueprints dominate Charmbracelet, obscuring continued improvement in Carey’s lyrics (try “Sunflowers For Alfred Roy”) and an over-the-top cover of Def Leppard’s “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” that recalls the looser spirit of her last album. A step ahead of the J-Los of the world; a step behind what may prove to be a career pinnacle.