For the legendary Ms. Carey [aka Mrs. Cannon] her 12th studio album has been a time of re-invention. Mariah has in fact decided to go the State way and so instead of simply an album, a format which she knows is so passÃ©, she has drafted in a production team who include Jim -Prepress Technician’ Hickey and created not an album but a magazine.
Yep – inside the glossy CD-style sleeve available from popular record stores and supermarkets (which features a lovely photo triptych featuring her unavoidable bosom from different angles) is a 36 page magazine brought to us by the lovely people at Elle. Crammed full of such features promising ‘VIP Access To Her Sexy Love Life’ it is a magazine that gathers the things Mariah loves into a mini Elle, or as the forced typo in her intro to the publication says, a -mimi Elle’ (Mimi being her hip-hop name for herself.. or something). The lady herself writes the intro and she tells us about how we can find out about her latest fragrance and thanks a few people and then, following a full page ad for Angel champagne, we get ‘her private thoughts’ on all her albums. These are comprised of a whole bunch of thoughts between 30 and seven words. Some teenage-y ‘Mariah says’ boxes appear both here and throughout the magazine’s glossy spreads, which stay very faithful to the Elle look combining the magazine’s typefaces with cutouts of expensive luxury items and almost every written thing presented in easy-to-digest boxes of one or two sentences.
Following a bit of editorial about her new -gracefully crisp’ fragrance we get a HUGE, one page interview (pages measure 12cm x 12cm). The in-depth interview reaches such depths as ‘How’s your puppy?’ which sadly turns out to be a literal enquiry into the well-being of a new canine addition to the family.
An ad from the Bahamas tourist board catches our eye and we are told in the ad that the island -Eluthera’ is Mariah’s favourite. Just time for a scan over the -Love Affair’ section which apart from having a really bad clipping path around her engagement ring (one for you, designers) it gives us photos of the happy couple, albeit retina-achingly small. A quick goo at another ad for Carmen Steffens – who seem to sell expensive leather goods to women – before we can enjoy the second half of the booklet, which seems to be lyrics to an album of songs.
On second glance at the package we find, like you find with all those magazines predominantly full of ads for sofas, a free CD. Of course! What self respecting mag won’t slide a CD of popular favourites under the shrink wrap to entice a purchase. Like many of the CDs that come with magazines these days though, chances are there’s nothing really new or life-changing on it and while it may sit near the torn shrink wrap for the whole Sunday afternoon while you leaf through the mag, with the best intentions, you’re probably never going to play it. There’s an intriguing 21 tracks on the disk and while track 17 looks to be that evergreen Foreigner epic -I Want To Know What Love Is’ we can’t drag ourselves away from the magazine with its bite-size-Mariah-info-McNuggets-which-are-almost-all-advertising-a-product, the glossy, rich-girl ads, the puppy questions, the nigh impossible-to-find album dedication to the King Of Pop, a fan club ad and, lastly, airbrushed into a form that looks more like Bruce Willis’ avatar in Surrogates than any human, the lady herself holding court on the back cover advertising her new -Forever’ fragrance. Add to this the CD of music that comes tossed in with the deal and you have yourself quite a package, one that implores you to buy something unnecessary from every paper fibre of it’s being. In trying to find a place for it on the scale of one to five it would have to be rated as -Jumping The Shark’.