GetBack wrote:It's not her fans that hold her back from being a hardcore urban/R&B artist. Mariah was always in the middle, for almost 30 years now. I've said this in the Caution thread but Beyoncé and Rihanna have already went out of the box (and somewhat abandoned the mainstream pop sound) with their latest albums and they are not even in their twentieth year at the time they released those albums (Lemonade and ANTI, respectively). Apart from "Giving Me Life", Caution is still in between the lines of plastic mainstream R&B/pop just like E=MC², Memoirs and Chanteuse (which isn't wrong by the way).
I can never forget how she corrected that one interviewer when she released Merry Christmas II You in 2010. Mariah said "I wouldn't go that far" when that interviewer said that her Christmas music had an R&B feel to it. It was clear that Mariah identifies herself as a cross-breed of pop and R&B and releasing something Stargate-sounding like "With You" as the actual main single in 2018 proves that she will remain that way.
The only time she truly challenged herself musically was when she made Butterfly and The Emancipation of Mimi. On Butterfly, the music was pretty experimental and leaning toward hip-hop and modern soul a.k.a urban sound then. On Mimi, she almost went to complete soul music if not for cuts like It's Like That, Shake It Off, Get Your Number, One and Only, and To the Floor which are more contemporary pop/R&B than anything else within the album. She's one of the least experimenting mainstream artist but, on the other hand, her sound has defined an entire generation of popular music. She's such a trailblazer.