Universal/Def Jam Recordings - 2005 – 54 minutes

Gone is the high-pitched diva that was Mariah Carey, replaced by a more chilled out freestyle singer who seems to enjoy playing around with the R&B tracks on this new album. Carey has herself heralded this album as the real thing, the content and style that she has always wanted to do. For fans of the old Mariah, this change in tack may not be a significant one. But for those who saw her old style as, dare I say it, a little screechy, this album presents a style of music that is much more acceptable to a wider and more mainstream audience.

The opening track, 'It's Like That', is a very positive catapult into the new world of Mariah. When Carey sings about "making the most of life" you really get the feeling that she is, that the fullness of life in the tracks is no façade, rather a reflection of a new freedom for the longtime singing star.

Starting strong with 'It's Like That' (featuring the distinct sound of Fatman Scoop), Carey excels in uptempo tracks like 'Get Your Number', which features Jermaine Dupri. 'Shake It Off' and 'To the Floor' further exhibit that Carey is at her best with strong tunes that allow her to achieve a good balance with her music, rather than dominating it.

With tracks like 'Joy Ride' and 'Fly Like a Bird' Carey returns to the style that she was best known for with her earlier recordings. Neither song shows the singer at her strongest, especially when compared to what has gone before on the album. Although her voice is powerful and totally commanding in both numbers, Carey seems more at ease with faster tracks like 'Get Your Number' that allow her to successfully blend with her accompaniment.

As loud comebacks go, this hits most of the right notes.

Linda McGee

Tracklisting: It's Like That – We Belong Together – Shake It Off – Mine Again – Say Something (featuring Snoop Dogg) – Stay the Night – Get Your Number (featuring Jermaine Dupri) – One and Only (featuring Twista) – Circles – Your Girl – I Wish You Knew – To the Floor (featuring Nelly) – Joy Ride – Fly Like a Bird – Sprung