Billboard Music Awards

Mariah Carey, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel"

3.5

Mariah Carey is not only revisiting her past appearance-wise (lately the singer has been wearing her hair in loose curls, as seen during the early days of her career), but she's also taking her sound back to her R&B roots. On Carey's latest album, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" (with the exception of the first single, "Obsessed," and the hood-girl-sounding "Up out My Face," among a few others), the singer leaves behind the teeny-bop themes and hip-hop-heavy melodies of 2008's "E=MC2." Instead, she opts for big ballads and R&B tunes about love and heartbreak, which makes the new set more cohesive and age-appropriate. Carey croons in her staple high-pitched voice over piano and finger snaps on "Angels Cry," while singing about true love alongside a thumbing bass on "Inseparable." Meanwhile, "The Impossible" takes its cue from early-'90s group Jodeci's "Forever My Lady." Overall, Carey's throwback vibe on "Memoirs" is refreshing and much welcomed. --Mariel Concepcion