MOAIA Album Review

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Set 30 2009, 5:05

Any Mariah Carey album carries a lot of weight - fan dreams, commercial expectations, the prospect of genuine pop thrill, the star's outsized persona - and 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel is no different. Trailing a pair of hits, "Obsessed" and her anthemic cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," it's a lock for commercial success, and it includes plenty of the soaring vocals and falsetto trills that fans love her for. It's also remarkably unified, with no guest features and a very special coup, in that every song on the album was composed by R&B's best songwriters of the late 2000s, Terius Nash (The-Dream) and Christopher Stewart (Tricky); they give each song the intelligent mid-tempo bump-and-grind they've made into a specialty. Personally, it finds Carey probing and investigating her inner life, with lines like "I can't wait to hate you" and "Why you so obsessed with me?" shot at targets both public and private.

Jon Carmanica, New York Times

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