Mariah Carey claims Rainbow, her first album since divorcing Tommy Mottola, "chronicles my emotional roller coaster ride of the past year," but less subjective listeners could be forgiven for viewing it as simply another Mariah Carey album. After all, all the elements are in place -- the crossover dance hits, the ballads, the cameos, the hip producers, the weird cover choice from the early '80s. But dig a little deeper, and her words ring true. Rainbow is the first Carey album where she's written personal lyrics, and allusions to her separation from Mottola are evident throughout the album, even if it doesn't really amount to the "story" she mentions in the liner notes. As appropriate for any introspective album, it's a bit ballad-heavy, which makes Rainbow seem a little samey. Yet that's not the only reason the record has a weird sense of déjà vu, since this follows the same formula as its two predecessors, distinguished primarily by her newfound fondness for flashing flesh. That repetition isn't necessarily a problem, since she does formula very well, managing to appeal to both housewives as well as b-boys. Rainbow proves that she can still pull off that difficult balancing act, but it's hard not to be a little disappointed that she'd didn't shake the music up a little bit more -- after all, it would have been a more effective album if the heartbreak, sorrow, and joy that bubbles underneath the music were brought to the surface.
7.99 In Stock
Mariah Carey has been a very busy lady during this last year of the millennium. Not only did she play a starring role in the upcoming film "All That Glitters" and pull down a smaller part in the movie "The Bachelor," she's currently working on renovating her new Manhattan loft and, reportedly, breaking in a new boyfriend. That's quite a heavy load, but amidst all that activity she also found time to record RAINBOW, a 1999 update of the slick, sumptuous R&B-pop found on 1997's BUTTERFLY that's sure to satisfy her worldwide web of avid fans. Some of Carey's new songs suggest that she's still getting her footing after parting with longtime songwriting partner Walter Afanasieff. But she makes up for the loss on a number of excellent collaborations with an array of major artists. Two versions of the tune "Heartbreaker" -- one with Jay-Z, the other opposite Missy Elliott and Da Brat -- show that Carey can step in the ring with hip-hop's toughest, as does the infectious "Crybaby," on which a thundering bass line underpins Snoop Dogg's flavorful flow. On the pop-R&B tip, Carey shares leads with Usher on the pleasantly bouncy "How Much" and with Joe and 98° on the ballad "Thank God I Found You." And if you crave Mariah up front and alone, she shines brightly working a tense, funky Timbaland beat on the up-tempo "Did I Do That?". She might not be breaking any new ground, but RAINBOW is a satisfying, at times scintillating, reminder that Mariah is simply one of the most reliable divas on the planet.