The Emancipation of Mimi
After enduring backlash and breakdown, Carey is back to selling boatloads of records. She still inserts the odd disconcertingly high note, designed to amaze the listener (or send a secret message to his dog). Despite hip-hop collaborators like Snoop, Twista and Nelly, this is mostly candy in an R&B package. Carey’s ease at shifting vocal colours is undeniable, but at emotional peaks the voice sounds a little thin compared to a new soul like Alicia Keys, let alone this year’s mama Sharon Jones. Name-checking Bobby Womack on the hit “We Belong Together” and smooth incorporation of a Stylistics number in “Stay the Night” let Carey break through the platinum diva calculations to, at times, sound real — vulnerable even.