Pamela Roz

Evenings & Weekends


November 09, 2010
Sony Records International
Rhythm & Blues, Dance-Pop, Urban, Adult Contemporary

Album Review

One of several collections which packages various Mariah Carey albums together, this 2010 Triple Feature compiles her 1993 sophomore Emotions, 1997's R&B reinvention Butterfly, and her last release via Sony/Columbia Records, 1999's Rainbow. While the decade they were recorded in might be the only apparent connection between the three, this value-for-money set still highlights the changing musical path of her '90s career, where she began as a squeaky-clean soul-pop balladeer and ended as a high-maintenance hip-hop diva. Second LP Emotions revealed that there was more to her than just a five-octave vocal range, as unlike her self-titled debut, she co-wrote and co-produced all of its ten tracks with the likes of Carole King (the gospel-fused "If It's Over"), Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff (power ballad "And You Don't Remember"), and C&C Music Factory's Civilles & Cole (the funky "Make It Happen") on a highly polished affair which showcased her glass-shattering voice. Four albums later, and Butterfly saw her fully embrace her urban sensibilities, teaming up with the likes of Puff Daddy, Missy Elliott, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on a more R&B-flavored effort which was seen as a defiant two fingers up to the alleged controlling regime of former husband and manager Tommy Mottola, whom she'd recently separated from. Less bombastic than her previous output, it's a surprisingly restrained but effortlessly slick combination of seductive slow jams ( "Babydoll" ), introspective ballads ("Close My Eyes"), and smooth hip-hop ("Honey"), which also includes a sultry cover of Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" with Dru Hill, and the Elton John-sampling disco anthem "Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise)." But whereas Butterfly felt like a subtle natural progression, follow-up Rainbow went straight for the jugular, with a never-ending cast list of cameos from some of the era's biggest R&B stars, including Usher ("How Much"), Snoop Dogg ("Crybaby"), and Mystikal ("Did I Do That"). "Heartbreaker," the infectious Staci Lattisaw-sampling collaboration with Jay-Z, remains one of her best and most underrated singles, while "X-Girlfriend" is a convincing attempt at Destiny's Child-esque staccato-led R&B, but the whole project feels slightly more calculated and desperate than its predecessor, while the slushy ballads also return disappointedly on not just one, but two dreadful renditions of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" and "Thank God I Found You" a sickly duet with 98 Degrees and Joe. If you're looking for her biggest hit-laden album (Music Box) or her most consistent (The Emancipation of Mimi), you should look elsewhere, but this Triple Feature contains more than enough material to justify her superstar reputation.
Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Emotions
  2. And You Don't Remember
  3. Can't Let Go
  4. Make It Happen
  5. If It's Over
  6. You're So Cold
  7. So Blessed
  8. To Be Around You
  9. Till the End of Time
  10. The Wind
  11. Heartbreaker
  12. Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)
  13. Bliss
  14. How Much
  15. After Tonight
  16. X-Girlfriend
  17. Heartbreaker [Remix]
  18. Vulnerability (Interlude)
  19. Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)
  20. Crybaby
  21. Did I Do That?
  22. Petals
  23. Rainbow (Interlude)
  24. Thank God I Found You
  25. Honey
  26. Butterfly
  27. My All
  28. The Roof
  29. Fourth of July
  30. Breakdown
  31. Babydoll
  32. Close My Eyes
  33. Whenever You Call
  34. Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise)
  35. The Beautiful Ones
  36. Outside