E=mc2 is filled with Mariah's accustomed blend of hip-hop & R&B soul. With T-Pain, Young Jeezy and, of course, Jermaine Dupri all make cameo appearances on the album, the disc continues with a blend similar to Emancipation. Perhaps the most experimental track is the Damian Marley-assisted "Cruise Control." This is where Mariah takes a modest stab at infusing some island rhythms into her signature R&B sound. Before Mr. Marley could supply his double-digit set of bars, Mariah sings - "can't nobody tell me nothin' when he comes into view...cause he's the flyest ting when he be cruisin' on me avenue...when tha door open, de gals pon de block...they be hopin' to rob tha clock, me say no man."
This is just one of the many examples in which Mariah seems to forget the fact that she's no longer in her 20s. Her previous effort, The Emancipation of Mimi, offered a well-balanced experience of mixing old school and new school elements. Unfortunately, while E=mc2 has the same feel as Emancipation, it simply doesn't have the songs, lowering the standard of quality with generic cuts like "Migrate" (featuring T-Pain), "I'm That Chick" and the lead single "Touch My Body." Consequently, the woman who has influenced so many modern female artists here sounds like a follower, issuing a sound that borders on disposable.
"I Stay In Love" is by far the best composition on E=mc2. Acclaimed-songwriter Bryan-Michael Cox captures the true essence of a loving bond while Mariah sings about not being able to free herself from a failing relationship. Other sing-along favorites include "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time," "Love Story" and "Bye Bye" (latter of which is a reincarnation of Mariah's no. 1 hit "One Sweet Day" featuring Boyz II Men).
Thanks to the very resilient Mariah Carey for providing music lovers worldwide with numerous classic love tunes for over 15 years. The Emancipation of Mimi solidified her relevancy and resolve. E=mc2 was supposed to take her superstardom to the next level. However, it's more of the same formula and it lacks inspiration. Mariah has proven that she deserves her status as a modern-day diva (angelic voice, courage, easy on the eyes). Let's just not forget about how important the music really is.
By Akim Bryant