E=MC2 is the anticipated follow-up to Mariah Carey’s much-heralded comeback album, 2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi. The album arrives on the charts amid the hype of her achieving a musical landmark: “Touch My Body” became Carey’s eighteenth number-one single, besting Elvis’s record. Love her or hate her, her ability to absorb the current trends to produce hit after hit is remarkable. After the career misstep of Glitter (2001), The Emancipation of Mimi was a return to the hooks and vocal acrobatics that had worked for her in the past, so it’s only natural that she would try to replicate the formula again. Carey keeps things urban but tones down the vocal dramatics, making it a worthy follow-up, albeit one that doesn’t reach its predecessor’s highs.
The album is a very bass-heavy, beat-oriented affair. And with production by Danja, Jermaine Dupri, Scott Storch, and Swizz Beats, that is to be expected. At its best, the album recalls the ballad-meets-bass feel of Mimi’s big hit, “We Belong Together.” Melodic hooks flow on catchy “Love Story” and the equally enchanting “I Stay in Love.” Carey delivers plenty of synth-heavy bangers, including the Danja-produced opener, “Migrate,” and love-hangover tale “Side Effects” with Young Jeezy. She even comes with a little grown-and-sexy disco flavor on the house groove “I’m That Chick.”
It’s all pretty cohesive, yet the album relies too heavily on its slick production and lyrical arrangements: Carey and her stunning instrument (her voice) are almost pushed into the background. But the album that delvers plenty of charming songs, excellent production, and a seamless listening experience.