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Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

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Audio CD, September 29, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Limited U.S. two CD edtion in three panel softpack includes a bonus enhanced CD featuring the 'Obsessed' video, a remix video, and three remixes. In addition, the package includes a 36 page Elle mini-magazine that serves as an inside look at Mariah. 2009 release, the 12th album from the biggest-selling female recording artist in history. Featuring 'Obsessed' and 'I Want To Know What Love Is' (a cover of the Foreigner classic ballad), Memoirs... is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Mariah's multi-platinum-selling album E=MCý, and her worldwide 10 million selling The Emancipation of Mimi. Mercury.

About the Artist

Imperfections are in the eye of the beholder. You can see them as flaws, or as the very qualities that make us human -- and that make us strive to be better people in search of a perfection that we know we can never fully achieve. In the thirteen songs on her spellbinding new album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Mariah Carey explores those aspects of our shared humanity with a rare depth, honesty and open-heartedness. It's one of the strongest statements in her long, distinguished career.

The subject of Memoirs is love at all its stages in our lives. Experiencing it for the first time. Losing it. Remembering its most painful moments, and also its times of greatest innocence and joy. Yearning for it. Learning from it. Growing as a result of its profound power. Finding it again and being grateful for so great a gift. And, finally, being humbled, filled with wonder and elevated by love's mysterious ways. In that sense and more, Memoirs is a full, immensely satisfying journey.

"Each song is like an intimate conversation or entry in a private diary," Carey says about the album. "A lot of the songs reflect specific, different times in my life. Others were inspired by movies, actual events that happened to me, or the stories of friends who told me about experiences that they've gone through." With just one exception, Carey wrote and produced the entire album in collaboration with The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. The trio clearly shared an inspired sense of what Memoirs should be. Sinuous grooves and instantly memorable melodies flow from track to track, while the wit and intimacy of the lyrics create the feel of one friend talking to another. As well-defined as each song is, Memoirs plays with the beauty and consistency of a classic, start-to-finish album.

"My main goal was to work with people I could collaborate with without it seeming redundant or stale," Carey says. "In my opinion Tricky is one of the most underrated major producers out there right now. I really enjoyed collaborating with him. And I especially liked writing with The-Dream, basically because we both love having fun with lyrics and melodies, and we're also capable of getting more serious on deeper songs. There is a particular sense of freedom I feel when we write together -- even though I make him stay in the studio all night until he is ready to kill me! LOL!"

Memoirs' first single is the hard-hitting "Obsessed," which is accompanied by a video directed by Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour trilogy) in which Carey plays both the glamorous star and her stalker fan. Like the video, the song's lyrics combine devastating putdowns ("Last man on the Earth still couldn't get this") with humor ("See right through you like you're bathin' in Windex"). The no-nonsense "Up Out My Face" captures a similar caustic mood, dismissing a former lover with the send-off, "When I break, I break, boy." "It's a Wrap" delivers a similar message about the end of an affair: "When it's gone, it's gone." "Standing O," with its irresistible chorus, sardonically applauds a faithless ex for his signature achievement: "You played the one that loved you the most." "Betcha Gon' Know" foresees karmic revenge for a wayward lover, but, once again, the clever lyrics ("Oprah Winfrey whole segment for real, for real / 20/20 Barbara Walters for real, for real") encourage a smile amid the pain.

The ballad "H.A.T.E.U.," meanwhile, finds the singer seeing life in the wake of a breakup and longing for the moment when loss and regret transform into a cleansing anger. But the title of the song doesn't necessarily stand for what you think it might. "H.A.T.E.U. is the first song I wrote for the album," Carey says, "and it stands for Having A Typical Emotional Upset."

Always a brilliant technical singer with an extraordinary vocal range, Carey rises to new heights on that track. "I sing a recurring melody in the upper register of my voice; it's not an ad-lib, but an integral part of the song's hook," she says. "That's not something I've done before, and when listening back to it, it reminded me of how Minnie Riperton used her upper register on her hit song `Lovin' You.' I thought how ironic that her song was called `Lovin' You' and my song is called, `H.A.T.E.U.' - and both use that upper `whistle register' as a major part of the melody. So it's sort of an homage to Minnie Riperton, a tribute to her since she has been so influential in my singing style."

On a tender note, the wistful "Candy Bling" beautifully evokes the blissful realm of young love ("Anklets, name plates that you gave to me/Sweet tarts, ring pops had that candy bling/And you were my world"), while "Inseparable" aches for a love that went wrong for reasons that seem impossible to comprehend. "More Than Just Friends" floats off into a fantasy of what a casual relationship might become ("Permanently paint me in your picture like Picasso/Love me down till I hit the top of my soprano!"). "Ribbon" and "The Impossible" swoon with happiness and thankfulness over redemptive love that has returned to make life rich again. "You did the impossible," Carey sings. "You rescued my love."

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel ends with a spectacularly powerful gospel rendition of Foreigner's gorgeous ballad, "I Want to Know What Love Is." Carey's voice soars into the heavens as a soul-stirring choir makes it clear that the search for love is the closest that any human being ever gets to the divine.

Which brings us back to the angel of the album's title. "I had written a song called `Imperfect,'" Carey says, "but it didn't make it onto the album. The lyrics of that song address the fact that the world puts so much pressure on us -- especially on women -- to be perfect and look a certain way, and that is impossible because nobody is perfect. Only God is perfect. I know I've tried to be a good person, but I am definitely no angel!"

"But after I put this album together and decided to name it Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," she concludes, "I remembered that the Minnie Riperton album that contained `Lovin' You' was called Perfect Angel. So I felt in so many ways that it was meant to be."

Disc: 1
1. Betcha Gon' Know (the prologue)
2. Obsessed
3. H.A.T.E.U.
4. Candy Bling
5. Ribbon
6. Inseparable
7. Standing O
8. It's A Wrap
9. Up Out My Face
10. Up Out My Face (the reprise)
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Obsessed Remixes (Cahill Radio Mix)
2. Obsessed Remixes (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)
3. Obsessed Remixes (Jump Smokers Radio Edit)
4. Obsessed Remixes (Friscia and Lamboy Radio Mix)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 29, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Def Jam
  • ASIN: B002DSM8UC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (327 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,968 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mathew A. Crane on October 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
OK - so let's clear things up. Is this the best Mariah album of all-time?...probably not, but don't be confused by some negative press, slack first week sales or even first impressions. This is a slow-burning hit! After a few listens you stop obsessing about how this isn't a typical Mariah album and begin to appreciate this as possibly her most cohesive body of work since her debut. This is a superby crafted album, with each story interwoven via interludes and repeated phrases to create a consistent piece of artistic expression. What initially comes across as everything sounding the same - after a couple of listens reveals each song as one chapter (or memoir) in Mariah's love/life story and is exceptional. So it's not the same as everything else she's done - true - and if it had of been would she have been criticized for trying to recreate Mimi?
While some tracks feel more album filler than floor filler - there are some perfectly crafted songs which resonate with warmth, cutting homour, sarcasm and heartbreak - indeed it seems ironic that Mariah would write the best break-up album of her career (with the arguable exception of Butterfly) when she is happily married! Stand-out tracks are "Betcha Gon Know" (possibly the classiest slice of R & B Carey has ever produced), "Obsessed" and it's slightly darker sister track "Standing O", "H.A.T.E.U", "Inseperable", the superb "Up Out My Face" (which is a sure-fire number 1 if marketed correctly) and "Angels Cry" - in my opinion the best Mariah ballad we've heard in years. With every song concentrating on love and heartbreak - the only thing the album lacks is an anthem.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Grace on October 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD
MY REVIEW ---> 4/5

I will say the album is a grower, the more you listen to it the better it gets. The only song that still hasn't caught on right away is Standing 0, but the rest is flawless.

Mariah spills out her personal perception of the beauty and ugliness of love & relationships. Her lyrics depict relatable stories and captures her frolic personality.

Songs like Ribbon, Impossible, Inseparable, and More Than Just Friends paint a romantic, mushy picture of falling in love.

However the following moody songs lie in complete contrast: Betcha U Gonna Know and H.A.T.E U delineates the tough process of heartbreak, betrayal, and bitterness when love goes wrong.

Fun, sassy songs like It's A Wrap, Obsessed, Up Out My Face, and Standing 0 take sardonic shots at the person on the other end of the relationship.

Candy Bling, Angels Cry and Languishing are played as beautiful melodies, yet tainted with lingering sadness as each song exposes fear, emotional memories, and reminscent love stories.

Lastly the main theme of the album ends off with Mariah's own soft-powerful interpetation of the song I Want To Know What Love Is Throughout the album love came and left soon after. Her desperate plea to understand what love is, it rather appropriate for this album (despite the criticism)
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Glenn on October 4, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel. I feel that many songs have grown on me as with any new album. I also feel that she could have done without The Dream & Tricky Stewart on a few songs but they are what's hot now. I know people who initially hated the album but after a few more listens they are loving the songs. The "90s" Mariah is gone so get over it and stop making that a reason to HATE the album. People grow and CHANGE with the times. Current favorite songs:
1. Betcha Gon Know
2. Candy Bling
3. Ribbon
4. Standing O
5. It's A Wrap
6. Inseparable
7. Up Out My Face
8. The Impossible
9. Languishing (This grows on me more and more.)

I just can't believe true Mariah fans can't find at least one song they love on this album.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Adrian on September 29, 2009
Format: Audio CD
September 29th, 2009

Mariah's 10th studio album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel is a slight grower. You might not love it initially but at the very least some tracks will grow on you if you have liked any of the recent work she's done with Island Def Jam.

Is this her best release? Not by a mile. That title belongs to Daydream (1995). But every track has something to add to the collection and flows very easily into the next. The lyrics on the album are OK to occasionally great (see "H.A.T.E.U." and "Angels Cry"). For modern Mariah nothing is bad, nor should you be surprised by any of the content.

My favorite track here by far is "Angels Cry" which is towards the end of the disc. The song is a piano-woven ballad with a backbeat and vulnerable lyrics like we're used to from Mariah. I could see this being on a future greatest hits collection for sure. The surprising "Betcha Gon Know (The Prologue)" shows the darkest side I've probably seen in Mariah. It provides an excellent, descriptive opener but isn't completely what this mainly love-themed album is about. Other standouts include the highly anticipated "H.A.T.E.U." which is one of the few ballads on the album (and is one of the best), the stomping "Standing O", the lush "Languishing (Interlude)" and the bouncy single "Up Out My Face".

The only problem I have with this disc is that it is almost pure mid-tempos. Mariah goes fast on a few tracks and there are like 4 or 5 ballads. The rest of the tracks are neither slow or fast really, they are at a medium tempo and start to blend after a while. Not that they sound exactly the same but I think that's an issue.
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Memoirs.. Takes massive tumble on Billboard true! So so true. I was a Mariah fan circa 1990-1995 but the girl is a serious whack job now. It makes me so sad to listen to her old albums and just get chills and then look at the woman she is now. I hope she is happy but she seems so fake now. And I'm worried about her... Read More
Dec 4, 2009 by B. Sanchez |  See all 33 posts
Memoirs Finally Strikes Gold Status
Looking at the Billboard chart toppers, can you believe the MESS that's reigning now? (I mean, Ke$ha for gawd sake - Please!) So Mariah hasn't lost her touch. I have lost faith in the general public's taste in music, however.

But like Elden said, you never know what people will hook onto. I... Read More
Jan 25, 2010 by LuKasAV6 |  See all 13 posts
Wow Mariah has packed on some weight!
I agree, Mariah Carey really has let herself go too thin. Why can't she deliver more solid songs? She should try to re-energize her own self, and take more time off from singing, and focus on her acting, the way she shows that promise in Precious.
Nov 9, 2009 by Michael Kerner |  See all 64 posts
mariah still on top
Jeffery, aren't you the one always saying it's not fair to compare madonna and mariah? Yet here you are. LOL

Good for Mariah! Seriously, that is great news. But where did she land worldwide? This is only the US, correct? Madonna is still considered the highest selling and solo touring artist in... Read More
Dec 11, 2009 by B. Sanchez |  See all 10 posts
Mariah to re release Memoirs...Remixing every song? Lord Why?
Don't believe everything you read, especially on the internet.
Oct 7, 2009 by slimdude |  See all 43 posts
Mariah releases new video for H.A.T.E.U. Be the first to reply
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