So, yeah, I know, make your jokes. I have no defense for listening through a two-disc set of the warblings of one of the definitive melismatic divas of our time. What I will say is that it isn’t exactly terrible music; it’s more just numbing or like being smothered by marshmallows. There’s little offensive song to song, but they just all sound exactly the same, by which I mean, really dull and musically uninteresting and Carey prizes vocal acrobatics above emotional evocativeness. There are a few tracks here that I actually like. Hero has a great melody and she actually sings the melody a lot of the time instead of whirling about all around it as she does on a lot of these songs. Her version of Without You is actually pretty top; she sings a significant portion of the song very quietly and in what has to be the lowest part of her register which is interesting to hear. And Emotions is a kind of forgettable track, but the main hook of the song features her really working that whistle register and it’s like watching a high wire act every time you hear the song. It’s genuinely kind of breathtaking to hear her actually sing a series of notes as a hook in the whistle register; she usually saves it for the last note of a song or whatever, but she does a great little stairstep hook in Emotions that is pretty fantastic. So, we’re talking about maybe four to five good songs on a double disc that has over thirty songs on it. And, you know what, I even kind of like her holiday standby All I Want for Christmas, so of course they don’t include it; instead we get a “remix” featuring Lil Bow Wow & Jermaine Dupri. That goes about as well as you’d expect and it’s the last track on the record, so at least it sends you out with a sour taste in your mouth to cut all the bland sugary fluff that’s been shoveled down your throat over the last two and a half hours. I mean, not my thing. 1 star.
tl;dr – uninteresting, bland music meets over the top diva belting; a meaningless goop that, except for a few songs here and there, makes you feel like you’re drowning in marshmallows. 1 star.