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Released: 10th September 2001.

Mariah Carey - GlitterThis is Mariah's eighth studio album, first on her new record label Virgin, and a soundtrack to her big screen debut, "Glitter." So is it a weak album, a good soundtrack or something else?

The first impression is simple. Mariah surrounds herself with dozens of unnecessary rappers that make this release confusing of what it's supposed to be. From the catchy first single, "Loverboy," through a couple of big ballads and a few funky tunes thrown in for a good mix, the album lacks some kind of excitement.

Here's a track-by-track review:

Loverboy Remix, >featuring Da Brat, Ludacris, Twenty II, Shawnna
The version of the song that was not included on the UK single is slightly better than the radio edit, however not especially different. Mariah continues her trend of a first single off a new album being a brainless up-tempo sing-along, but not quite matching her past efforts such as "Fantasy" and even "Dreamlover."

Lead The Way
On the first ballad on the album we hear Mariah use her voice again, which is always a good sign. The song itself is not half as sugary as her previously released slow numbers and delivers a lot of emotion. One of the highlights of the album.

If We, >featuring Nate Dogg and Ja Rule
A funky mid-tempo with a slight reggae bass line - sounds interesting, doesn't it? However Nate Dogg and Ja Rule seem to do all the job in this song, leaving Mariah to sing the chorus and some ad libs.

Didn't Mean To Turn You On
Now why Mariah decided to include this nightmarish song on her album, I do not know. Okay, I suppose it is an 1980s song that goes with the set in the 1980s movie, however it is more 1980s than you really need! One to skip.

Don't Stop (Funkin' 4 Jamaica), >featuring Mystikal
Another rather boring song, which should be credited "Mystikal featuring Mariah", as again the verses go to the (annoying) rapper. Mariah delivers her breathy vocals all over the chorus plus a high-note shriek towards the end, but it's not enough to make this one even noticeable.

All My Life
It's a relief to know Mariah is back singing her song. This one is a grower, but there is something about this up-tempo track that makes it stand out, a little like the up-tempos on "Music Box."

Reflections (Care Enough)
Here comes a ballad with a very strong melody, where Mariah, or rather the character she plays in "Glitter," Billie Frank, talks about difficult feelings towards her mother who abandoned her. Good lyrics with strong vocals from Mariah make this one sound like a mix of "Petals" and "Thank God I Found You" from her previous album, "Rainbow."

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, >featuring Busta Rhymes, Fabulous, DJ Clue
This is definitely the best song on the album. Funky cover of the classic song with Mariah's unusually controlled vocals, that are just so much different from everything she has sung so far. Even the three rappers are not spoiling the song, and the bridge with Mariah's nearly spoken part is an absolute stunner.

Want You, >featuring Eric Benet
This one has a very slight 1980s feel to it, but this time it is a good thing. Mariah duets with Eric Benet, and together they create a very catchy, quality track that has all the ingredients to grab one's attention. The general feel of the song could be compared to the brilliant "Just Be Good To Me," that can be found on Mariah's live bootlegs.

Never Too Far
Probably the most infectious ballad on the album, rightly chosen to be the second single. The quiet beginning and vocally huge chorus remind of "Open Arms" or other Mariah ballads from the pre "Butterfly" era. It may not be exactly challenging, but it's nice nevertheless!

The quiet ballad about Mariah's stylist who commited suicide. Similar (but not as good) to "Petals" and slightly better than "Looking In" with lots of emotion and sad lyrics, the song shows Mariah's vulnerable side.

Loverboy, >featuring Cameo
The slightly inferior version of the first single, only with the rap replaced with singing from the performers of the original, Cameo.

Overall, fans of Mariah will definitely enjoy "Glitter", however a general music fan might find a couple of songs not their cup of tea. Not bad for a soundtrack, but not exceptionally good for a Mariah album either.

* * * (Aneta Janssen)

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