Thursday, October 29, 2009

Janet Jackson's "Make Me" & Mariah's "Memoirs"

Janet Jackson Prepares Greatest Hits

Just in time for the Holidays (is it even realistic to assume that people still receive cds as gifts?) Janet's returning with a new label, new single, and new(ish) project. Number Ones will pull together more than 30 of Janet's chart-topping hits, along with one new offering; the Darkchild produced "Make Me."

Janet can't do too much wrong in my eyes, and I'm excited to see her working on anything at all; still I can't help but think that Number Ones is a questionable effort at best. First, the last quarter of Janet's career hasn't been as lustrous as the first few, and this compilation makes that painfully obvious. I suppose a number one dance single is still a number one, but really, comparing the success (?) of "All Nite (Don't Stop)" (which I love) to "That's The Way Love Goes" is a stretch. More than that, "Make Me" sucks. It's the only new song on the album, and while it captures the throwback Janet vibe that fans have been looking for, it's too repetitive and predictable. If Janet couldn't catch a hit with "Feedback," I think "Make Me" is an obvious bomb. Lastly, the album art is recycled from her 2001 tourbook. Really Janet? When you're 43 looking 25, you photograph it while it lasts.

In any case, I've already pre-ordered an album full of songs I listen to everyday anyway. Again, Janet does no wrong.

Keep reading for a few words on Mariah

Memoirs of a Delusional Woman

Actually, I won't lie; Mariah's Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel has grown on me immensely. At first listen, I hated it. A month later, still hated it. But today I can appreciate it as a bit of a risk for the otherwise formulaic Carey.

Memoirs is an R&B album to the core. We're talking hardly radio-friendly, Jodeci-sampling, lower-register R&B. These are songs your mama plays while cleaning the house in her Sally's Beauty Supply flip-flops on Saturday morning. "For real, for real...Oprah Winfrey whole segment for real."

If you don't believe me, check the chopped 'n screwed romance of "Ribbon," or "It's a Wrap," where you can almost smell the Hennesy wafting from Mariah's throaty send-off.

With lyrics like, "love you like Duncan Hines' holiday yellow cake," Memoirs isn't about writing, but production and delivery. The-Dream (who serves as the album's executive producer) may have taken Mariah too far toward the hood for Memoirs to actually move any units, but commercial appeal aside, this album is arguably Carey's most fully-realized in years. That is to say, Mariah's not driving through the hood to pickup a couple rappers for guest appearances, she's renting that house next your cousin and braiding hair on the porch. Love it.

Also, Mariah Carey is 40. Stop letting her lie to you America.

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