Album Preview: Mariah Carey – ‘E=MC²’

Three years ago Mariah Carey made a surprising comeback with The Emancipation of Mimi and had one of the year’s biggest hits with “We Belong Together.” Mariah even led the Grammys the next year with 8 nominations. The Long Island native left no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was back and better than ever.

Now Mariah has returned to take over the airwaves with her eleventh studio album E=MC², a heavily hip-hop influenced record, more so than anything she has ever made. It’s off to a promising start with the lead single already a fixture at the top of the charts. The album is her third on Island Def Jam and was executive-produced by MC and L.A. Reid. got to listen to the diva’s entire new album. From the looks of it, Mariah is about to release a “stone groove” smash. If you don’t know by now, April 15th is the date.

1. “Migrate”
Produced by Danjahandz

A party jam guaranteed to tear the club up. T-Pain isn’t even singing the hook; he’s a featured rapper doing his own verse where he talks about “ass and your titties coordinat[ing].” Mariah sings, “Once again nothin’ jumpin’ up in your place / Sick of your Berry buzzin’ all in my face.” This song contains some of the more playful and offbeat lyrics we’ve heard from MC. If you like Mariah’s hip-hop flavored songs, you’ll love this one.

2. “Touch My Body”
Produced by C. “Tricky” Stewart and Tarius “The-Dream” Nash

The love Mariah fans have for this song is proven. It’s already No. 1 on iTunes and will soon be the No. 1 song in the country. In typical fashion, Mariah has released two killer remixes featuring The-Dream and Rick Ross.

3. “Cruise Control” featuring Damian Marley
Produced by Jermaine Dupri

Packed with a verse where Mariah sings, “ting,” “de gals pon de block,” and “me say no man.” It’s a bit funny. It’s catchy. But did she really have to do the whole Jamaican accent? Damian Marley was already on it.

4. “I Stay In Love”
Produced by Bryan-Michael Cox

OK, here we go—a ballad! You finally get to hear Mariah sing. It’s reminiscent of a Daydream track with a wistful and airy element. This is a deep cut and this album’s “We Belong Together.”

5. “Side Effects” featuring Young Jeezy
Produced by Scott Storch

Just when you think she’s steering away from the hip-hop beats for a minute, Young Jeezy makes an intro rap. But the message is deep, talking about the side effects of a really bad relationship. There’s a lyric that might make many fans ponder: “Wakin’ up scared some nights / Still dreaming ’bout the violent times.” Hmm… Who in the world could she be talking about?

6. “I’m That Chick”
Produced by Stargate

This is a chill, upbeat song. It sounds very European. Almost sounds like Ne-Yo’s “Because of You” except it samples Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall.” Mariah’s definitely sounding sexy singing, “I’m like that oooweee / You’re fiendin’ to blaze up.” This track is fire.

7. “Love Story”
Produced by Jermaine Dupri

A second ballad, and another appearance by J.D. It’s similar to “I Stay In Love.” She can really blow, but she isn’t doing it on here. Dang.

8. “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time”
Produced by Toomp

A mid-tempo joint. This is a homerun. It’s definitely different from anything on The Emancipation and MC’s not riding the hip-hop bandwagon on this one. One of the best parts is the strings loop of “Stay With Me” by DeBarge, which the song samples. It gives it an old school feeling. Toomp (T.I.’s “What You Know”) doesn’t typically work with female artists, but this combination works.

9. “Last Kiss”
Produced by Jermaine Dupri

Jermaine Dupri should have a feature credit on this. You hear his voice and ad-libs a little too much. Mariah’s singing about the inevitability of hooking up with someone again. The hook is hot.

10. “Thanx 4 Nothin’”
Produced by Jermaine Dupri

A mid-tempo ballad with more of Jermaine’s ad-libs. It’s going to get all the ladies amped. Mariah sings, “I was living in a lie just a masquerade / Now I only know that I’ll never be the same / But you were just playing a game.”

11. “O.O.C.”
Produced by Swizz Beatz

O.O.C. = Out of control. Swizz Beatz really turned this track out, yet it doesn’t even sound like a Swizzy beat. Sample lyric: “Even though I been gone for a minute / It’s wrong I admit it / Your love’s so addictive that / I get so O.O.C.”

12. “For The Record”
Produced by Bryan-Michael Cox

This is the song Mariah used in her perfume commercial. It cites past Mariah records. Mariah sings, “I told you ‘Underneath the Stars’ that you ‘Belong’ to me / It’s obvious that we just ‘Can’t Let Go’ of us ‘Honey’.” It’s pretty chill and relaxed. Mariah even gets cocky, “The whole entire world can tell / That you love yourself some me.” Go head, MC.

13. “Bye Bye”
Produced by Stargate

“This for my people who just lost somebody / Put your hand way up high.” A song everyone can relate to because it deals with losing a family member or friend. It will get some listeners teary-eyed. Mariah speaks to her father who passed away in 2002: “You never got a chance / To see how good I’ve done / And you never got to see me / Back at number one.” Looks like this will be the album’s second single and probably Mariah’s 19th No. 1.

14. “I Wish You Well”
Produced by James Poyser

The token spiritual song on a Mariah album comes by way of “I Wish You Well.” The one song you hear live instruments on. It gives you a churchy feeling, even a citation of Psalms 129:2 of the bible. It’s very Aretha Franklin.

–Jonathan Reyes in New York