Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse is Mariah Carey's 14th studio album that was released on May 23, 2014 by Def Jam Recordings.
- Cry. 4:49
- Faded 3:40
- Dedicated (featuring Nas) 4:13
- Beautiful (featuring Miguel) 3:20
- Thirsty 3:26
- Make It Look Good 3:24
- You're Mine (Eternal) 3:45
- You Don't Know What To Do (featuring Wale) 4:48
- Supernatural (with special guest stars "Dembabies" a.k.a. Ms. Monroe & Mr. Moroccan Scott Cannon a.k.a. Roc 'N Roe) 4:38
- Meteorite 3:51
- Camouflage 4:49
- Money ($ * / ...) (featuring Fabolous) 4:55
- One More Try 6:18
- Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can't Give Up Now) 5:40
- It's a Wrap (featuring Mary J. Blige) 4:04
- Betcha Gon' Know (featuring R. Kelly) 3:54
- The Art of Letting Go 3:44
The first indication that Mariah Carey had begun work on her fourteenth studio album was in February 2011, with Carey stating: "I start writing for my new album this week-but it's just the beginning...."
In March 2011, Carey's representative said that she will donate royalties for the song "Save the Day", which she has written for her upcoming studio album, to charities that create awareness for human-rights issues.
Her husband Nick Cannon told Billboard in May 2011 that Carey had already completed a good amount of recording for a new album, a few months before during her pregnancy, saying: "She's planning on having a [new single] out this year. She's been working away, and we have a studio in the crib, and [the pregnancy] has totally inspired her on so many different levels."
Additionally, Cannon confirmed that Carey was inspired by her debut self-titled album and its follow-up, "Emotions."
In January 2012, Cannon updated everyone on the album, saying: "My beautiful wife is planning to make her return to the music scene after taking time off to focus on the pregnancy and the birth of our two wonderful babies, Moroccan and Monroe."
On August 3, 2012, Carey released the single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)", a collaboration with rappers Rick Ross and Meek Mill, which was originally claimed to be the lead single for her upcoming studio album.
The single received low impact both critically and commercially and was eventually removed from the album.
The Island Def Jam Music Group was shuttered by Universal Music Group on April 1, 2014. Island Records and Def Jam Recordings operate as separate entities, with Carey being transferred from Island to Def Jam.
In September 2011, producer and friend Jermaine Dupri took to his social network Global14 to reveal that he's back in the studio with Carey working on new music.
In July 2012, it was announced that Randy Jackson completed seven songs with Carey for the album.
In August 2012, Bryan Michael Cox said about the album, saying: "She was committed to making it before she got pregnant. Then she got pregnant and she took the time off. Then after she came back, we started really vibing again and we picked up right where we left off. I just feel like between [record producer] Jermaine Dupri, myself and her, we came up with a few things that [are] really, really a solid body of work".
In September 2012, Carey was in the studio with R. Kelly. Carey said about her fourteenth studio album: "I'm collaborating with a lot of my favorite people but the main thing is [that] I'm not trying to follow any particular trend, I want it to be well received. I want to stay true to myself and the music that I love and make the fans happy."
Some of the people that Carey worked with on the album include: DJ Clue?, Randy Jackson, Q-Tip, R. Kelly, David Morales, Loris Holland, Stevie J, James Fauntleroy, Ray Angry, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, James "Big Jim" Wright, Hit-Boy, The-Dream, Da Brat, and Rodney Jerkins.
Carey gave Billboard an exclusive interview in their March 9, 2013 issue, stating: "It's about making sure I have tons of good music, because at the end of the day, that's the most important thing.... There are a lot more raw ballads than people might expect... there are also uptempo and signature-type songs that represent [my] different facets as an artist.... Wherever we go with this project, I've tried to keep the soul and heart in it." Billboard also asked Carey about the title of the album, but she declined to reveal it.
In late March 2013, Carey stated that she "has more than enough songs" but "she's in the process of finishing things and mixing and all that."
On June 20, 2013; Carey was in the studio with Mike Will Made It and Young Jeezy On August 3, 2013, she was in the studio with rapper Wale.
In September 2013, Carey was in the studio with rapper Nas and in October 2013, Jermaine Dupri was announced as her new manager. In January 2014, she stated that there will be two cover songs on the album and announced that she has finished sequencing the album's track list.
In an interview in February 2014, she added that there are songs on the album that are about her husband Nick Cannon as well as songs that she wrote specifically for her twins Moroccan and Monroe.
During that same month, she announced to MTV News that she has added three new songs to the track list, 1 extra Hitboy record and two new remixes and stated that she is in the process of choosing a new title for the album.
The two remixes are of the songs "Betcha Gon' Know" and "It's a Wrap", previously featured on 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel; R. Kelly features on the former, while Mary J. Blige features on the latter.
The cover versions were confirmed to be George Michael's 1988 single, "One More Try", and cover of the patriotic song "America the Beautiful" for the Japanese CD edition of the album.
"Me. I Am Mariah ....The Elusive Chaunteuse" debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 58,000 copies, making it Carey's 17th top-10 album in the United States.
As of November 2018, the album sold 127,000 copies in the United States.
"Me. I Am Mariah ....The Elusive Chaunteuse" received generally positive reviews.
The review aggregator website, Metacritic gives a weighted average rating to an album based upon the selected independent mainstream reviews it utilizes, and the album has a Metascore of a 67 out of 100 based on 15 reviews.
At AllMusic, Andy Kellman rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of five, saying how Mariah has abandoned the brevity of her earlier releases, but says the songstress is "still capable of delivering 40 minutes of strong, supremely voiced R&B when she's up for it.".
He also stated that the standard edition of the album could have worked better without the clumpy and jumbled "Money", the oddly cheap sounding "One More Try", and the stiff/empty "Thirsty".
Kenneth Partridge of Billboard rated the album a 77 out of 100, writing how Mariah has found her musical niche that her fans have come to expect that is a "mix of pop-classicist balladry and hip-hop-tinged summer jamming".
At Entertainment Weekly, Melissa Maerz graded the album a B, saying how the release proves that her voice has been put through its paces, which she writes when Mariah is "trying to power through a note where it sounds like digital technology might be holding her up by the straps of that crocheted swimsuit."
According to Gardner however, Mariah's vocal is "relaxed and confident." Also, Sargent notes that Mariah has "rarely sounded as comfortable."
Jim Farber of New York Daily News rated the album four stars out of five, writing how the title is not indicative of the release as a whole because he says Mariah is not "elusive" in the least on an album where she "made her talent more clear."
At USA Today, Elysa Gardner rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of four, remarking whether "Elusive or not, this chanteuse is a survivor, and that's a rare thing in today's fickle, polarized pop landscape."
Glenn Gamboa of Newsday graded the album an A-, commenting how Mariah has "nailed it" because she "goes for timeless [sounding music], with grand results."
At The Plain Dealer, Troy L. Smith graded the album a B, indicating how the music meanders towards the latter stages of the album, yet noting that Mariah still picks the correct collaborators to work with on the release.
According to Maher however, the collaborations serve no purpose just showing how Mariah is "desperate[ly] skirting around for identity" that "leaves this album feeling underwhelming."
At Los Angeles Times, August Brown rated the album two-and-a-half stars out of four, indicating how Mariah vocally reined herself in on the album where she showcases her continued relevance.
Kevin Ritchie of Now rated the album four N's out of five, finding out that "Carey's back to adding her sparkly touch to summer-ready pop tunes."
At Pitchfork, Jordan Sargent rated the album a 7.7 out of ten, giving her credit for not sounding "desperate" because the tonality is "defiantly like Mariah, acknowledging her place in the pop ecosystem both implicitly and explicitly without chomping at the bit."
Nick Murray of Rolling Stone rated the album three stars out five, observing how "stylistic cohesion is as elusive as the chanteuse herself."
At The Guardian, Caroline Sullivan rated the album three stars out of five, indicating how the release contains "a good deal of clutter", however, she said that Mariah is "also at her most soulful and melodic" on a release she calls "a welcome return."
Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine rated the album three stars out of five, observing how the release is chalked full of Undisciplined R&B pastiches."
At The Boston Globe, Sarah Rodman gave a mixed review of the album, commenting on how even the good moments are "sabotaged", and the release as a whole is highly predictable with "a clutch of interchangeable slow-to-midtempo tunes long on pulsating atmosphere—several with distractingly fidgety rhythmic tracks—but short on melody or verve."
Aimee Cliff of Fact rated the album two-and-a-half discs out of five, comparing the album unfavorably to Beyoncé's self-titled writing that "the record just doesn’t have the same candid, bold edge that characterised Beyonce's huge statement."
At musicOMH, Amelia Maher rated the album two-and-a-half stars out of five, stating how Mariah's vocal range is undoubtedly robust, but this time around on the release she "falls short."