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Mariah Carey: Are we 'Obsessed'?

June 16, 2009 |  3:52 pm

MARIAH_CAREY_OBSESSED_300_ What: Mariah Carey's "Obsessed," the first single off her upcoming album.

How is it: This is a feistier Mimi than we're used to, as she comes out firing in the song's opening moments. "Why are you so obsessed with me?" questions an obviously irritated Carey. 

Is she lashing out at Eminem? The gossip hounds? A simple scolding at a new breed of pop divas? It doesn't really matter. Either way, it will help Mariah stay in the headlines for weeks to come -- long enough to fuel hype for her album "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," which will be conveniently released (on Aug. 25) in time to make the cut for the new Grammy eligibility rules

With The-Dream and Tricky Stewart sharing production credits, Carey has been molded to fit current trends. The still-ubiquitous Auto-Tune is here (a look she played with on "E=MC2's" "Migrate); this time, it's used to bring a slight electronic manipulation to her trademark wails. No need to worry about hitting high notes when computers are all the rage these days, and the thick, pointed keyboards will allow Carey to fit comfortably on Top-40 play lists that are currently obsessed with Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."  

Ultimately, that's the point here, as this seems like a tune pointedly designed to get radio play and provide us press types with some new topics to try to get Carey to address on the red carpet, which she will artfully deflect from now until mid-November. 

The song is put-down after put-down, with Carey declaring that she "ain't gonna feed you / Gonna let you starve," and the hard-not-to-quote, "You're a mom and pop / I'm a corporation." She doesn't really sound angry -- just a little bemused at her attackers, even if the high road would have been to ignore them. But the sophisticated route doesn't always generate hype, and "Obsessed" is certainly more lively than her earlier work with The-Dream (the bedroom slow-dance "My Love"). 

Unfortunately, it's an even more anonymous Carey than ever before. One of the biggest selling points of "E=MC2" was Carey dropping the over-the-top howling, and learning how to sing with a more restrained range. She thankfully left the showboating to the "American Idol" kids, and stayed closer to the rhythms. Yet "Obsessed" again sells out the songbird to her producers. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Island Def Jam