Carey heads back to her musical sweet spot on "Me. I Am Mariah . . . The Elusive Chanteuse" (Def Jam), big R&B ballads that show off her powerful voice and its stunning range. On "Chanteuse," Carey goes for timeless, with grand results. It's a balance that may be elusive to many, but Carey has nailed it once again on "Chanteuse," her strongest effort since 1995's "Daydream." Grade: A- (Newsday)
The music reacts to Carey's fallow years in most every way it should. It returns her to the type of grand balladry, and formal melodies, that first made her a star. It's her most melodic, least-trendy album in memory - both moves that greatly flatter her. Whether in more elegant ballads, or most assertive R&B songs, the new tunes give Carey more to play with than usual. Contrary to its title, the new album may be Carey's least elusive work. Rarely has she made her talent more clear. Grade: 4/5 Stars (NY Daily News)
Mariah Carey accomplishes a feat with Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse that pop stars rarely achieve: Twenty-four years and 13 other studio albums into her career, she compiles one of her best sets yet. Oblivious to shock value trends plaguing pop music, Carey sings a collection of love songs over a mixture of gospel-tinged ballads, 1980s R&B, and hip-hop soul. (Yahoo! Music)
What's most striking about Carey's new album is how relaxed and confident she sounds. The tender, aching ballads and joyful pop-soul numbers here both mark a return to form and reveal increased nuance, particularly in the singing. The artful melisma, robust belting and decorative high notes are still there, but Carey spends a great deal of time using her supple middle and lower registers to convey feeling simply and directly. Grade: 3 1/2 Stars out of 4 (USA Today)
Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse (which should count as a self-titled album) finds her owning her multiple personalities, minus the caricature. It’s a successful merger of her opposing images: the forever-young R&B star known to skate at a theme park in daisy dukes and the balladeer who finger-wags behind a mic in a gown. (Vibe)
There's a good deal of clutter: not just 90s R&B throwbacks such as You're Mine (Eternal) and a gospelised cover of George Michael's One More Try, but an appearance by her three-year-old twins. Yet she's also at her most soulful and melodic, and the best of the bunch, such as the dreamy 70s disco of Meteorite, make this album a welcome return. Grade: 3 Stars out of 5 (The Guardian)
Who else has survived EDM and Auto-Tune and still climbs her way up the octaves like this? Ariana Grande may have been christened the ''new Mariah,'' but we still need the old one. And she is telling you that she's not going. Grade: B
There are many bits and pieces of the long standing career of Carey throughout Elusive Chanteuse; a career which is going onto an amazing 24th year. It feels like at long last, this is the album that brings forth the true return of Mariah Carey. Mariah Carey has come extremely far and now that it is known she can still create music like this, she is not allowed to ever go back. (Guardian Liberty Voice)
The overwhelming feeling you'll get from listening to this album is that Mariah is no longer afraid to simply be herself without feeling the need to cater to themes and genres she isn't as strong in. She's finally leaving that to others and excelling in an area of vocal technique she's always been one of the best in. Grade:4 1/2 stars out of 5 (Female First)
Genuine, sonically-mesmerizing and maturely balanced, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse hits all of the right notes and, of course, since it is Mariah, a few extra ones here and there. Grade: 4 Stars - Very Good (The Celebrity Cafe)
True to her word, Me. I Am Mariah is a fun, confident album that showcases Carey’s influences and ability to serve as influencer. Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse might not further cement Carey’s place in the record books, but it’s achieved something more important; it’s carefree and confident, full of effervescent charm that almost recalls those moments during childhood when finding a great song on the radio was revelatory. (Wondering Sound)
Overall, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse is Carey’s most fluid, cohesive, understandable and impressive album since The Emancipation of Mimi in 2005. Carey delivers vocals that no one before or after her debut have ever been able to match or come anywhere near to it. She can still hit those seventh octave whistle notes which as much, if not more, ease than 24 years ago. Even if her music is not to everyones taste, no one can deny her supreme vocal talent. But best of all, it does not overshadow the emotion and lyrical content of the album. She has managed to evolve her musicality to be a sentiment and not a statement over time. Grade: 4 Stars out of 5 (Hit The Floor)
Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse is a finely-poised balance between the two; touching moments of personal insight mixed with peaks of glittering over-the-top pop. Grade: 3.5 Stars out of 5 (Digital Spy)
It works incredibly well as a whole, with no bad songs that have you reaching for the ‘skip’ button. With the healthy crop of ballads on …The Elusive Chanteuse, Carey really gets to show her pipes are still in fine working order, particularly on those richer, deeper notes. Grade: 4.4 Stars (So So Gay)
Mariah Carey's new album Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse is the singer back to her very best. Nobody can touch her- despite pop's up-and-coming talent. Grade: 5 Stars (The Sun)
‘Me. I Am Mariah Carey… The Elusive Chanteuse’ is comprised of R&B, soul, love, growth and maturity and, if nothing else, reiterates Mariah’s infectious self-confidence which appears to be unwavering despite spending five years away from the charts. If you love the classic Mariah of yesteryear, this is definitely worth a listen. (Entertainment Wise)
MTV: 7 Reasons You Have to Check Out Mariah's New Album
"Faded": With Mariah Carey’s fourteenth studio album Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse dropping on May 27, the opus has become available for streaming on iTunes, and one of the LP’s cuts, “Faded,” stands out as a satisfying listen. Over hard-hitting production by Mike Will Made It, Mariah sings of a diminishing love through vocal moments that shine.
The Singers Room
"Dedicated": This is straight-up nostalgia—as Mariah and guest Nas discuss in the intro—and amid references to Heavy D, Slick Rick, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Run-D.M.C., the singer looks back on both the records and the romances that have shaped her life. While much of the world is stuck back in the '90s, she and Nas are chilling in '88 and having a ball.
One of the standout tracks of the album features two other surprise collaborators. With understanding that the chanteuse is now a loving mother, everyone can figure that the ode-to-motherhood song is coming. However, "Supernatural" plays out a lot differently than those songs of the past. First off, the inclusion of Carey’s children, twins Moroccan and Monroe (lovingly called “Roc and Roe” or simply “Dembabies”) make this song something special in its own right. Secondly, although there are the necessary cute giggles of the 3-year-olds, the two actually sing on the track. It is obvious that little Monroe, who is featured a little more than her brother, gets her pipes from her five-octave owning mother. Those two are going to be a handful, but for now, it feels as if Carey is inviting us to know them as opposed to forcing them upon us. The track itself is so sweet, your teeth will hurt (and if you don’t smile at hearing little Monroe saying, “I’m a chanteuse,” you might need to check to see if you have a heart).
Guardian Liberty Voice
"Cry," [is] an inspired throw-back to initial hits like "Vision of Love." Accompanied primarily by piano, Carey unfurls the full range of her instrument, something she had too often scaled back of late to suit songs over-indebted to their beats. The result lets her lean into the song's drama, which she engages completely.
NY Daily News
The spine-tingling Camouflage, co-written and produced by Carey and Big Jim Wright, finds her pining performance embellished with gospel-tinged backing vocals.
She delivers one of her most authentic church-singer stylings on the hymn "Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can't Give Up Now" with the heartfelt lyrics: "Nobody told me the road would be easy/I don't believe he brought me this far to leave me."