Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Caution, the singer’s first album in four years, is both silky and sharp.
“If you run your mouth and brag about this secret rendezvous / I will hunt you down.” 🎶
So went Mariah Carey’s last No. 1 hit, 2008’s “Touch My Body,” a great example of Carey’s secret talent. Her voice constructs skyscrapers in gossamer; her projected self-image evokes a bubblebath of butterflies; her actual public image is a comedy of scandal and shambles But those who worship her songs know to look for the thumbtack in the feather pillow—the attitude, aggression, and smarts swathed in dream haze. That’s no love song, it’s a threat.
There might be some sort of re-evaluation going on about Carey lately. The soundtrack for her famous flop of a film, 2001’s Glitter, just hit the top of the iTunes charts thanks to a fan campaign on social media. Her announcement of bipolar-disorder diagnosis this April added complexity to erratic-diva caricatures drawn of her. And she’s been nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame in recognition of the under-discussed fact that she’s co-written almost her entire discography, including 17 of her 18 top Billboard hits.
Her first album in four years, Caution, shores up the idea of Carey the wit, the craftswoman, and the game-player. She establishes that she’s in I will hunt you down mode from the start, sighing, “How ‘bout you … get the fuck out?” on “GTFO.” It’s an impressive work of softness as sarcasm: synth washes evoking rainy windshields, a canned “Hotline Bling” metronome, and Carey singing—as she often literally does—as if from a chaise lounge, unbothered as she dispatches the unworthy. Her previous album took a confused, over-embellished approach, starting with the title: Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. But from “GTFO” on, Caution is spare, misty gray, and lucid, even as it polishes up Carey’s many tropes. She’s cleaning house.
Listen now to 'Caution' 🚨🎶