Mariah Carey, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" (Def Jam)
"I should crack you right in your forehead," Mariah Carey sings on the breakup tune "It's a Wrap."
The song, on her latest CD, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," finds a hungover Carey kicking her lover to the curb with particularly harsh words.
"Another early morning, and you walk in like it's nothing ... ain't no doughnuts, ain't coffee," she sings with attitude in her signature high-pitch tone. "Let me take a breath and regain my composure, told you more time, if you (expletive) up it's over."
But even though she's spitting venom, Carey's cooing on the doo-wop sounding song is so sensuous and sweet, even the song's intended target will remain under her spell — as will her listeners.
"Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" is an exceptional album that is about love — being in it, out of it, over it and trying to reach it. While the subjects are tried and true, they are never tired, thanks to Carey's approach, which mixes a good dose of humor and wit with her multi-octave voice.
"Betcha Gon' Know," the disc's opening track, sets the tone as Carey compares the seriousness of her broken heart to news programs like "60 Minutes," ''20/20" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Carey produced and wrote the majority of the album with Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Terius "The-Dream" Nash — and those hitmakers add their own touch to "Imperfect Angel" without overdoing it.
"Ribbon," which bumps with southern flavor, is radio-friendly, showcasing The-Dream and Tricky's signature sound. As does "Standing O," with its addictive hook.
Other notables tunes include "H.A.T.E.U." ("Having a Typical Emotional Upset"), a beautiful heartbreak ballad, and the top-notch "Candy Bling," a teenage love affair tune that finds Carey so in love she "can't delete your picture from my mind."
Some of the tracks use samples: "Inseparable" interpolates Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and "The Impossible" finds Carey "layin' in the bed bumpin' Jodeci." The latter samples the R&B group's hit song "Forever My Lady."
"Imperfect Angel," though helmed by The-Dream and Tricky, still maintains a classic Mariah sound — especially on the soothing "Angels Cry" and its accompanying prelude, and the personal "Languishing," highlighted by a piano.
No one is perfect — that's obvious. This CD is — that's obvious too.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "It's a Wrap" joins tracks like "Vision of Love," ''Always Be My Baby" and "We Belong Together" as a classic Mariah song.