Mariah Carey has possessed a winning formula for success for nearly two decades. She has sold more than 160 million albums, and her latest single, "Touch My Body," became her 18th No. 1 song, just two away from tying the Beatles for the most No. 1 hits.
Mariah Carey has possessed a winning formula for success for nearly two decades. She has sold more than 160 million albums, and her latest single, "Touch My Body," became her 18th No. 1 song, just two away from tying the Beatles for the most No. 1 hits. She has remained an industry "it" girl from the beginning, even if you factor in the highly publicized "Glitter" fiasco. (I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong there.) Carey's return to the top was accelerated by "The Emancipation Of Mimi," an album that dominated the charts for more than 18 months and became the biggest-selling album of 2005. It also earned her three Grammys. The success of "Mimi" proved to all the naysayers who had thrown in the towel on her career just what she was capable of doing. I can safely say I never doubted my girl one bit. In fact, I felt her best was yet to come. Carey is downplaying her "diva" status, while also capitalizing on "Mimi's" winning formula for her new album, "E=MC2." "E=MC2" is basically "The Emancipation Of Mimi" to the second power, or next level, if you will. "E=MC2" debuted at No. 1 this week on the Billboard album charts. Her recent appearance on "American Idol" showed a more down-to-earth Mariah, especially when she mentored the finalists. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be David Archuletta when Mariah Carey walked into the room. "E=MC2" boasts some great balladry we've come to expect from Carey, but also at the same time some deeper and, dare I say, bolder vocals. The new single, "Bye Bye," is a personal standout. The song speaks well for those who've gone before us but remain in our thoughts and hearts. It's sure to make her 19th chart-topper. "Love Story" and "Last Kiss" bring Carey together with producer Jermaine Dupri, another reason her formula works. Both songs exude a mid-tempo appeal that alludes to a full-blown vocal finale only Miss Carey can do. She also tinkers again with gospel (Remember "Fly Like A Bird" from "Mimi"?) on the track "I Wish You Well." Ballads may be her strong point, but Mariah can also bust a move with the best of them. This record has a few urbanesque dance tracks guaranteed to work the club dance floors for years to come. "Migrate" features T-Pain, "Cruise Control" features Damian Marley and Young Jeezy guests on "Side Effects," all winning components on "E=MC2." I especially like the '70s-funk feel of "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time," my favorite track on the new album. It ranks up there with other MC dance tracks like "Fantasy," "Dream Lover" and "Someday" as pop gems. Madonna might be the mother of reinvention, but Mariah Carey's becoming quite the teacher. Lately, she's all about rewriting the music history books by proving her winning formulas. David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.