The festivities never stop for Mariah Carey. On March 27, we celebrated Carey’s actual anniversary—for those that don’t know, she refers to birthdays as anniversaries—when she turned 50, but real ones know she considers herself “eternally 12.” 2020 also marks the 30th anniversary of her debut album and the 25th anniversary of “Daydream,” so there’s a lot in store for the Lambily.
Next on the list of anniversaries is the “The Emancipation of Mimi,” which arrived 15 years ago on April 12, 2005 and soon became one of the landmark albums of her career.
In terms of sales and chart success, “TEOM” was truly the comeback of all comebacks due to the lack of acclaim both the “Glitter” and “Charmbracelet” albums received in 2001-2002. Sidenote: Because of the fan-curated #JusticeForGlitter and #JusticeForCharmbracelet movements, we hope that the seemingly negative perception of these albums will be completely dismantled because, after all, there are many gems on both projects.
Everything from the grandiose title of “TEOM” to the glorious golden goddess-esque cover, it embodies a sense of freedom and self-assurance. Oh, and most importantly, the music does too.
Sonically, the album does an excellent job of giving us “something for the girls to get ready and party to” as this iconic meme states. “It’s Like That,” one of Carey’s most energetic album openers, declares this project as “a cause for celebration” and even throws in the stand-out line: “them chickens is ash and I’m lotion.”
It would be a crime to not mention one of Carey’s signature songs, “We Belong Together.” Written alongside Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal and Johntá, the ballad’s lyrical content is straightforward, emotional and relatable to those who’ve ever wanted to get back together with someone from our past. Carey’s vocals are top-notch as she incorporates her fast-paced, melodic rap singing along with the huge diva vocals we always anticipate from her. To conclude, it wasn’t heralded as Billboard’s “song of the decade” for nothing!
The breezy “Shake It Off” offers a more fun perspective to moving on from a relationship compared to “We Belong Together.” “Say Somethin’,” which was the first time Carey worked with The Neptunes, has a similar low-key feel to it while still feeling as lively as other party tracks like “Get Your Number.”
The timeless, 70s sounding ballads on “TEOM” are just as good as the hip-hop influenced tracks and, once again, show Carey’s versatility as an artist and a music lover. Written and produced with James Poyser, “Mine Again” offers us the prominent vocal “show-off” moment in the album like how “Bliss” was for “Rainbow.” Songs like “I Wish You Knew” and “Circles” also shine in their soulfulness.
It’s always a treat when Carey goes for a more gospel sound as evidenced through songs like “Make It Happen.” In collaboration with the late James “Big Jim” Wright, “Fly Like A Bird” is what you call an excellent album closer: an uplifting message, insane vocals and a gospel choir. What more could you want? It leaves the album on the highest note possible—literally.
As expected, “TEOM” still holds up as a classic album. But more than anything, it proves that Carey will never be written off, no matter how much people try.
Rylee Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @rybyjackson.