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CD Review: Mariah Carey

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (Island)

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Ever since her rebirth a few years ago, Mariah Carey has been on a roll. Once destined as a pop-star-flameout punch line (she started the decade with the nearly career-killing Glitter), Carey has spent the past four years and three albums renovating into an R&B sex kitten and reclaiming her title as one of her generation's best and most popular singers. On Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, producers The-Dream and Tricky Stewart steer Carey toward her most sturdy-sounding album (only the overblown cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," which closes the record, breaks the flow). "Betcha gon' know how it feels when I get you back/And I'm gon' la-la-la-la-la-laugh," she sings on Angel's prologue, setting up an hour of paybacks, smackdowns and get-outta-my-face slaps — all of which Carey easily slides into. She even calls out Eminem on "Obsessed" for his dis earlier this year: "You're a mom and pop/I'm a corporation," she sings over one of The-Dream and Tricky's typically bouncy beats. Angel isn't all about chugging the haterade, but when even the album's best ballad is called "H.A.T.E.U.," you know Carey is on to something. Gallucci

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