It's been a long road to Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse
, Mariah Carey
’s fourteenth (!) studio album. Since she began work on the record in 2011, she has hired and fired Randy Jackson as her manager, brought back OG collaborator Jermaine Dupri, fought
with Nicki Minaj on American Idol
, released 1 successful single followed by 3 unsuccessful ones that stalled on the charts, delayed the album more than 2 years, dislocated her shoulder but triumphed through the pain with bedazzled arm casts
and finally released the record on Def Jam last week. Phew. After all of that, the results are spotty—at times an insecure jumble of nostalgia a la Robin Thicke and hastily crafted of-the-moment beats. But the first half of the album contains some great material produced in conjunction with Hit Boy, Mike WiLL Made It and Jermaine Dupri. If you're not too interested in slogging through, take a listen to our five favorite tracks.