Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
|Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel|
|Studio album by Mariah Carey|
|Released||September 28, 2009|
|Recorded||January–August 25, 2009|
|Genre||R&B, hip hop, hip hop soul|
|Producer||Mariah Carey (exec.), L. A. Reid (exec.), Big Jim, Mariah Carey, Heatmyzer, Randy Jackson, Los Da Mystro, Tricky Stewart, The-Dream|
|Mariah Carey chronology|
|Singles from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel|
Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel is the twelfth studio album by American recording artist Mariah Carey, released on September 25, 2009 by Island Records. After Carey's previous album, E=MC² (2008), Carey began to work in a new album, producing with The-Dream and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, and revealed the album's title through Twitter. Carey said that Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel would have "big ballads", and that "each song is its own snapshot of a moment in a story".
Three singles were released to promote the album; the lead single, "Obsessed", became the most successful among the three, reaching number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching the top twenty in Japan, Canada and Australia and the top ten in Italy and France; the song was subject of controversy, because many people thought that Carey was indirectly referring to American rapper Eminem, who claims having a relationship with Carey. The follow-ups, "I Want to Know What Love Is", reached number 60 on Billboard Hot 100, and topped the Brazilian chart by twenty-seven non-consecutive weeks and "H.A.T.E.U." was the fiftieth Carey's single to enter on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Upon its release, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel garnered positive reviews from music critics. They felt that "their team-up with Carey is canny; Stewart and Nash loosen up the diva’s sometimes overblown on-record persona", and also "one of her most sonically consistent". Commercially, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 168,000 copies in its first week. Internationally, the album peaked within the top 10 in five countries, including Canada and Denmark. To promote the album, Carey made a pre-show in Madison Square Garden in 2009, before embarking on the Angels Advocate Tour (2010), and performed in several programs as America's Got Talent, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Today.
- 1 Background and production
- 2 Concept and packaging
- 3 Marketing and promotion
- 4 Angels Advocate
- 5 Singles
- 6 Critical reception
- 7 Commercial performance
- 8 Track listing
- 9 Personnel
- 10 Charts
- 11 Release history
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Background and production
In early 2009, singer-songwriter The-Dream stated that he and Carey had already begun working on her next studio album: "I think it's about just writing an album that includes the focus of all the hits that she's had. She can't take a loss; she has to do everything to the T. So it's basically like we're trying to make a greatest hits album without using the greatest hits". In February 2009, The-Dream told to MySpace Music that he and Carey had finished seven songs for the album.
In May, Carey revealed that she was calling the album Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel because it was going to be "very personal and dedicated to the fans". She says that she chose to use three images for the cover art because "there are a lot of different emotions and stories revealed on this album". Carey also stated that she loves "the whole album" and she's "completely immersed in it". On June 16, Carey said on Twitter that there will be "big ballads" on the album. Carey also said that she "tried to make something for all who love Butterfly, and even older albums". For the first time in her career, Carey worked with American Grammy Award-winning hip-hop and R&B record-producer Timbaland. They worked on a number of tracks, and although well-documented, none of them made it onto Memoirs. The reasons for which are unspecified. Another song called "Imperfect" written by Carey, dealing with societal pressure on women to "be perfect and look a certain way", also failed to make the track listing. In an interview with BET, Carey said that she also worked with Jermaine Dupri, however, none of his songs made the final track listing. Despite the majority of the project being written and produced by Carey, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, the main goal was to avoid having a "redundant or stale" album. In an interview with Elle Carey described the sound of her new album: "Each song is its own snapshot of a moment in a story. But overall, the vibe is R&B hip-hop with a lot of slow jams. [...] Each song has its own mood; some flow seamlessly into each other, and that was the purpose, and others are very different. The album has a sense of humor, [you can hear me laughing out loud at certain points], but it also has deep and introspective moments."
Concept and packaging
During an interview with music retailer Amazon.com, Carey revealed her inspiration and motivation for the album. "Each song tells its own story. Each one is like an intimate conversation or entry in a private diary. A lot of the songs reflect specific, different times in my life, actual events that happened to me, some of which are from way back in the past. Others were inspired by movies or from a friend of mine that may have told me their story. People can listen to it and pick out certain songs that mean something to them - women especially. It's about women's empowerment and overcoming certain things. It's fun too though. It's got a little bit of something for everybody".
Amazon.com revealed that the physical release of the album would come as a 3-panel softpack as opposed to the usual plastic CD casing. This was due to the inclusion of two discs, the first housed the album itself whilst the second housed an enhanced CD featuring the music video for lead single "Obsessed" as well as the video for "Obsessed" (official remix featuring Gucci Mane) and three other remixes. The packaging includes a 34-page Elle mini-magazine which takes an exclusive in-depth look at Carey's life and career. The mini-magazine is mixed in with lyrics and other traditional liner-note materials as well as upscale ads to cut the production costs of the booklet. The ad-supported booklets – available in a digital format for downloaders – appeared in the first 1 million U.S. copies of the CD and the first 500,000 overseas.
It was also revealed that a limited edition collectors' version of the album would be released on October 20, 2009. It features the album and its bonus disc on both standard CDs and limited edition white vinyl LPs plus six rare lithographs, the limited edition Elle mini-magazine, a signature butterfly band and exclusively designed collector's box packaging.
Marketing and promotion
Carey first made a promotional appearance on August 2, 2009 on America's Got Talent, where she taped her performance of "Obsessed". The episode aired on August 5, 2009. The album was initially pushed back from August 25 to September 15 so that more recording in the studio could take place but it was then revealed that the album was to be pushed back once more to September 29, 2009, with all promotion being delayed so that Carey could put finishing touches to the album. As with most releases, the album was released several days earlier in international territories/markets. Since then the UK release was pushed back from August 24, to September 14, to October 5 and finally to November 16. British newspaper The Daily Mirror got a preview of six tracks on the album, these being "Obsessed", "Standing O", "Candy Bling", "H.A.T.E.U." (which stands for "Having A Typical Emotional Upset"), "Impossible" and a cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is". Media playbacks of these six tracks were held in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and Berlin in August 2009.
Then in September Carey began performing at her Live At The Pearl concerts in Las Vegas on September 10 and 11, where she sang several of her famous hits, the first two singles from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, "Obsessed" and "I Want to Know What Love Is" and premiering two other songs from the album, "Angels Cry" and "Up Out My Face". These were followed by appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show on September 18, where Carey gave an interview with husband Nick Cannon and sang "I Want to Know What Love Is". On October 5, Carey performed a concert for select contest winners at the P.C. Richard Theater in TriBeCa, New York, where she sang "Obsessed", "H.A.T.E.U.", and "I Want to Know What Love Is" from the album. Also, she sang "Always Be My Baby" and "We Belong Together". Carey resumed her Las Vegas shows at Live at the Pearl concerts on October 9 and 10, this time changing the setlist and performing songs which she has either not sung live this millennium or debuting live performances of songs from previous albums. Carey also sang "H.A.T.E.U.", in order to promote it as her third single, in addition to "Obsessed" and "I Want To Know What Love Is".
Carey performed "I Want To Know What Love Is" on the Italian X Factor on November 11, 2009. and then her third single "H.A.T.E.U." on the Late Show with David Letterman on November 13, 2009. In the UK, she appeared on the Mariah Carey: T4 Special where she was interviewed, followed by a performance, on November 14, 2009 and then taped a performance of "I Want to Know What Love Is" which aired on November 22 on The X Factor. On November 19, 2009 she was interviewed and performed on the first show of the second series of Alan Carr's Chatty Man as well as switching on the Christmas lights at the Westfield shopping center in London. She then appeared on GMTV with Lorraine Kelly for an encore interview and performance of her album's UK lead single "I Want to Know What Love Is" and later in the week on daily entertainment show This Morning.
The Angels Advocate Tour in support of the album kicked off with a pre-tour show on December 31, 2009 at Madison Square Garden with Trey Songz before officially beginning on January 2, 2010 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The tour is in support of Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel and will see Carey performing songs from past and present. The tour was speculated in November but not confirmed until December by Carey's official website.
Following the announcement of the Angels Advocate Tour and special plans for the leftover songs from the recording sessions of Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Tricky Stewart revealed to Rap Up magazine that there were plans for a remix album to be titled Angels Advocate. The album would include a Tricky Stewart remix of "I Want to Know What Love Is" as well as the remix to "Obsessed" which features Gucci Mane and a remix of "Inseparable" featuring Trey Songz. Jermaine Dupri was one of several new producers for the project and helmed the remix of "H.A.T.E.U." which samples Ghost Town DJs' "My Boo" and features rap verses from Big Boi (of Outkast), Gucci Mane, and OJ da Juiceman. It was first time since 2006's So So Def remix to "Say Somethin'" that Carey had recorded new vocals for a remix. New versions of the songs "Betcha Gon' Know (The Prologue)" and "Candy Bling" respectively featured R. Kelly and T-Pain. The latter also sampled a sped-up melody from Jamie Foxx's "Blame It".
The purpose of the album was about ensuring that Memoirs appealed to more people by putting guests on 90% of the songs. Carey was also planning to collaborate with Westlife, which would have been exclusive to the UK version of the album and a future single release. Throughout the development of the project, Carey regularly updated fans through her Twitter account. She stated that there were several previously unreleased tracks from Memoirs that would appear on the project, including one Dupri song and several Timbaland songs. Swizz Beatz was also linked to several productions for the project, whilst Yahoo! music linked Snoop Dogg and Fabolous to remixes. Finally a press release also confirmed contributions from Mary J. Blige ("Its a Wrap"), The-Dream and Ludacris ("Ribbon"), Akon, K-Ci & JoJo. It was confirmed that the missing Dupri track was actually "100%", which was recorded for the movie Precious but then released from the AT&T U.S. Winter Olympics soundtrack to raise money for the U.S. Olympics Team.
Angels Advocate had been confirmed for release on March 29, 2010 in Poland and the Philippines, March 30 in the United States, March 31 in Japan as both a deluxe and standard edition, and in the UK on April 26, 2010. Had it been released it would have been Carey's thirteenth studio album following Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009) and second remix album following The Remixes (2003). However, Rap-Up magazine, HMV Japan, and Carey's manager Chris Lighty all confirmed the album's cancellation due to the underwhelming performance of the Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel album. It had been slated as an exclusive iTunes Store and Target release in the U.S. before cancellation. The MC vs JS album, which was scheduled for release around the same time, was also subsequently cancelled. Following the cancellation of both remix albums, it was announced that Carey would turn her attention to recording a new full-length thirteenth studio album from scratch which would feature production from Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox. This was later revealed to be Mariah Carey's second Christmas album, titled Merry Christmas II You.
"Obsessed" was the album's lead single and premiered on June 16, 2009. It was released for digital download on July 6, 2009. The song debuted at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Carey's highest debut on this chart since May 1998. It has since peaked at number seven giving Carey her 27th top ten hit in the US, the second among women (behind Madonna who has 38, the most for any artist) and the fifth among all. "I Want to Know What Love Is", Carey's cover of Foreigner's hit, was announced as the album's second single. The song premiered to European radio on August 28, 2009 and US radio on September 14, 2009. It was released to US iTunes on September 15, 2009. The song failed to climb further than number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 despite being successful on Adult Contemporary radio, reaching No. 10 on the AC chart. The song was more successful in Europe. It entered at number 6 in France and became the highest charting version of the song there, and reached number 16 on the European Hot 100. It also reached a peak of 3 in Japan and number 1 in Brazil "H.A.T.E.U." was the third single from the album. It was only released in the US. It was made available for radio airplay on November 3, 2009. The song debuted at 76 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart on October 22, 2009, over a week and a half before its official radio release.
Angels Advocate remix singles
"Up Out My Face" featuring Nicki Minaj served as one of two lead singles from Angels Advocate. It impacted on radio from January 26, 2010 with its video release a day later through Vevo. The song was released as a digital download in the U.S. and Europe on February 16, 2010. It peaked at 152 in Korea, and only just managed charted in the U.S. at 100 on the Billboard Hot 100. It fared better on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart reaching 39. "Angels Cry" featuring Ne-Yo is the other lead single from Angels Advocate. It officially impacted on radio from January 26, 2010 and had its video release on January 27 on Vevo. It was released in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Japan on February 23, 2010. Despite being slated for release in the UK on March 29, 2010 it has not appeared on any of the major retailers' websites. It peaked at No. 72 in Korea, and No. 89 in Japan. It also reached #26 on the Adult Contemporary Songs and number No. 90 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.
Other notable songs
"100%" was originally recorded for the soundtrack to the film Precious and then was tipped to appear on Memoirs. When it failed to appear on the final track listing it was instead released as the lead single from the AT&T Team USA 2010 Winter Olympics soundtrack to raise money for team USA. It charted on the Hot Digital Songs chart at number 197.
|The A.V. Club||(B-)|
|The Boston Globe||(positive)|
|Los Angeles Times|||
"Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" was well received by music critics. According to the music review aggregater Metacritic, it has received an average score of 69/100 indicating generally favorable reviews, higher than her previous albums The Emancipation of Mimi and E=MC2. Allmusic gave the album three and a half stars (out of five) and called it "her most interesting album in a decade", commenting that "Even if it doesn't smack of the confessional autobiography of the title, there's no denying that Memoirs is an album, not a collection of tracks, possessing its own flow and mood, which gives it a personality the slightly desperate E=MC2 lacked" though "it never manages to kick out a song that is all that distinctive on its own terms". Another critic pointed out that the album lacks "the pandering, heavy-handed sexuality Mariah has relied upon too heavily this decade – and in doing so, it feels age appropriate in a way she hasn't in a long time, despite a collection of silly, jumbled lyrics". The A.V. Club also gave the album a positive review with a grade of B-, commenting, "Their team-up with Carey is canny: Stewart and Nash loosen up the diva’s sometimes overblown on-record persona, and in return she gives definition to some of their more meandering tunes and backdrops. Memoirs is Carey’s least pyrotechnic album, its flow is as important as its tunes, and while Carey is still given to acrobatic vocal displays, her lattice of subtler vocal overdubs softens and strengthens those flights."
A mixed review came from Slant Magazine, in which music critic Sal Cinquemani called the album "one of her most sonically consistent". However, finding the album "soulless", he noted that the aural similarity of the tracks led to the production sounding "cheap and same-y, lacking the fullness of her best work". He continues, "Mariah is in fine voice throughout the album, and there are plenty of inspired moments to be found... Which makes it all the more disappointing that the album's final stretch devolves into a mess of old-school Mariah rehashes that should have been left in the past." Entertainment Weekly music critic Leah Greenblatt gave Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel a B, noting that the album neither impresses nor disappoints, but is merely satisfactory: "imperfections are nowhere to be found on Memoirs, but neither are many true revelations." Robert Christgau once again gave the album a "dud" score ().
Jon Caramanica from The New York Times gave the album a mixed review, writing that the album "manages simplicity and clutter all at once". Caramanica also criticized Carey's vocal performances, decrying her overuse of her softer vocal registers at the expense of her more powerful lower and mid registers: "When exactly did Mariah Carey stop singing? Even when she began flirting aggressively with hip-hop in the mid-1990s she was happy to impose her titanic vocals atop even the scrappiest production... Of late though, Ms. Carey has been whispering, as if newly scared of grand gestures." A positive review came from Billboard music critic Mariel Concepcion, who wrote that "Mariah Carey is not only revisiting her past appearance-wise, but she's also taking her sound back to her R&B roots...Overall, Carey's throwback vibe on "Memoirs" is refreshing and much welcomed."
- Year-end list entries
|2010||United States||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Album||Nominated|
The album debuted in the US at number three on the Billboard 200. It opened with first week sales of 168,000 units. The album was certified Gold on December 14, 2009 denoting shipments of over 500,000 units. The album topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It is the only album of her multi-decade career not to reach platinum status. As of June 2013, the album has sold 546,000 copies in the US. In Canada the album debuted at number 5 on the Canadian Albums Chart. The album charted at #101 in the 2009 year-end Billboard 200 albums chart. In South Korea Carey attended a press conference at the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul on Tuesday (October 13), where she received a plaque from Universal Korea's CEO Yang Bum-Jun to certify that the album has reached number one and gone platinum. In Japan the album reached #9. In the UK the album did not reach expectations peaking at number 23, in the Christmas season despite a performance on The X Factor and visiting various morning shows. It did receive Silver certification for shipments of 60,000. It peaked at number eight on the UK R&B Albums Chart.
|1.||"Betcha Gon' Know (The Prologue)"||Mariah Carey, Terius "The-Dream" Nash, C. "Tricky" Stewart, James "Big Jim" Wright||Carey, Stewart, Nash, Wright||4:00|
|2.||"Obsessed"||Carey, Nash, Stewart||Carey, Stewart, Nash||4:02|
|3.||"H.A.T.E.U."||Carey, Nash, Stewart||Carey, Stewart, Nash||4:28|
|4.||"Candy Bling"||Carey, Nash, Carlos McKinney, Ahmad Lewis, Stefan Gordy, John Klemmer||Carey, Nash, Los da Mystro||4:03|
|5.||"Ribbon"||Carey, Nash, Stewart||Carey, Stewart, Nash||4:21|
|6.||"Inseparable"||Carey, Nash, Stewart, Robert Hyman, Cyndi Lauper||Carey, Stewart, Nash||3:34|
|7.||"Standing O"||Carey, Nash, Stewart||Carey, Stewart, Nash||4:00|
|8.||"It's a Wrap"||Carey, Barry White||Carey, Heatmyzer, Stewart, Wright||3:59|
|9.||"Up Out My Face"||Carey, Nash, Stewart||Carey, Stewart, Nash||3:41|
|10.||"Up Out My Face (The Reprise)"||Carey, Nash, Stewart||Carey, Stewart, Nash||0:51|
|11.||"More Than Just Friends"||Carey, Nash, Stewart, Sean Combs, Chris Wallace, Rashad Smith, Mark DeBarge, Etterlene Jordan||Carey, Stewart, Nash||3:37|
|12.||"The Impossible"||Carey, Nash, Stewart, Albert Brown, Donald DeGrate||Carey, Stewart, Nash||4:00|
|13.||"The Impossible (The Reprise)"||Carey, Nash, Stewart, Brown, DeGrate||Carey, Stewart, Nash||2:26|
|14.||"Angel (The Prelude)"||Carey, Stewart, Wright||Carey, Stewart, Wright||1:04|
|15.||"Angels Cry"||Carey, Stewart, Crystal Johnson, Wright||Carey, Stewart, Wright||4:02|
|16.||"Languishing (The Interlude)"||Carey, Wright||Carey, Wright||2:34|
|17.||"I Want to Know What Love Is"||Mick Jones, Lou Gramm||Carey, Stewart, Wright, Randy Jackson (add.)||3:27|
|Digital bonus tracks|
|18.||"Obsessed" (Cahill Radio Mix)||3:21|
|19.||"Obsessed" (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)||3:12|
|20.||"Obsessed" (Jump Smokers Radio Edit)||3:20|
|21.||"Obsessed" (Friscia and Lamboy Radio Mix)||4:11|
|Special edition enhanced bonus CD|
|1.||"Obsessed" (Cahill Radio Mix)||3:21|
|2.||"Obsessed" (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)||3:13|
|3.||"Obsessed" (Jump Smokers Radio Edit)||3:20|
|4.||"Obsessed" (Friscia and Lamboy Radio Mix)||4:11|
|5.||"Obsessed" (Music video)||4:04|
|6.||"Obsessed" (Remix) (featuring Gucci Mane)||4:25|
- Sample credits
- Track four, "Candy Bling", contains a sample of "Back in the Day", written by Ahmad Lewis, Stefan Gordy and John Klemmer.
- Track six, "Inseparable", interpolates "Time After Time", written by Robert Hyman and Cyndi Lauper.
- Track eight, "It's a Wrap", recreates elements of "I Belong to You" by The Love Unlimited Orchestra, written by Barry White.
- Track eleven "More Than Just Friends", samples "One More Chance" / "Stay with Me (Remix)", written by Sean Combs, Chris Wallace, Rashad Smith, Mark DeBarge and Etterlene Jordan.
- Tracks twelve "The Impossible, and thirteen "The Impossible (The Reprise)", contain interpolations of "Forever My Lady" written by Albert Brown and Donald DeGrate.
- Background vocals (Jordan clarke)
|Hong Kong||September 28, 2009||Standard edition (CD, digital)||Universal Music||2720462|
|United States||September 29, 2009||Island Records||602527133652|
|Denmark||September 30, 2009||060252720462|
|Netherlands||October 2, 2009|
|Japan||October 3, 2009||UICL9079|
|France||October 5, 2009||060252720462|
|Brazil||October 24, 2009||602527205489|
|United States||October 27, 2009||Collectors edition (box set)||Island Records||602527142166|
|Poland||November 3, 2009||Standard edition (CD, Digital)||Universal Music||060252720462|
|United Kingdom||November 22, 2009||Standard edition (Digital)||Mercury Records||060252715927|
|November 23, 2009||Standard edition (CD)||060252721461|
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