Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse is latest in a long line of eccentric Mariah Carey album titles (including Butterfly, Glitter, Charmbracelet, The Emancipation of Mimi, E=MC², and Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel). Carey officially announced her long-delayed 14th studio album (out May 27) last night via the video above, explaining that the title comes from her "first and only self portrait," which she drew at age 3.
Note that the picture is "a creative visualization of how I saw myself with the purity of a child's heart...before it was ever broken." Note what looks like a pack of cigarettes in the left hand of Lil' Mimi. Note that she recorded background vocals for a spoken announcement. Note that "lately they've been calling me 'the elusive chanteuse,'" according to Carey. Who's been calling her that? Probably the backing voices in her head, most prominently.
Note that MIAMTEC's tracklist includes titles like, "Meteorite," "Camouflage," and "Money ($ * / ...)," the parenthetical of which was probably the result of one of her 3-year-old twins banging on a keyboard. Note that those twins ("Dembabies" aka Ms. Monroe & Mr. Moroccan aka Roc 'n' Roe aka Me. I Am Not Mariah, But I Am Her Spawn) are featured on the album's "Supernatural." Note that "One More Try" is probably her cover of George Michael's anguished 1988 single.
She. She is Mariah. A thoroughly modern diva, her wacky persona is as crucial as her legendary voice. At this point, she is not just embracing her eccentricity, she's harnessing it. "I am campy, and I am OK with that," she seems to be saying. At times commodifying her essence merely means repeating herself (see MIAMTEC's "We Belong Together"-esque single "You're Mine (Eternal)," which failed to catch on when it was released earlier this year and came with a video featuring Mimi doing little more than holding her bare breasts). But goddamn, is it fun listening to her come up with new ways to talk about herself, 10-cent words and all.