‘Caution’ album review
By Naomi Ambrose, Staff Writer
Mariah Carey’s latest 10-track album Caution (released on November 16) takes listeners on a music trip with stops to old and new R&B, rap, and, hip-hop towns.
With a song like “A No No,” Carey reminds us of the 1997 hit by Lil’ Kim, Lil Cease, and Notorious B.I.G., “Crush on You.” “A No No” mostly has the same general beat of “Crush on You” and also includes some lines from the chorus sung by Notorious B.I.G. in the latter song.
Then there’s “The Distance” with Ty Dolla $ign. Although the song features Ty Dolla $ign—a popular, current rapper—“The Distance” is slightly reminiscent of Tevin Campbell’s 1989 hit “Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me).” The bass synth from “The Distance” sounds like a slightly faster version of the bass synth from Campbell’s song.
Caution’s tribute to the early days of hip hop is also evident in “Giving Me Life.” Veteran rapper Slick Rick mostly lends his vocals to the track in the third verse. “Reminisce, wannabe, huh?” raps Slick Rick in a line that could be interpreted as an attempt to remember R&B, rap, and, hip-hop music from the late 1980s to the early 2000s.
Apart from taking listeners and fans back to the early days of music, some songs from Caution join the long list of songs with a finger snap beat. Take a listen to “With You” and “One Mo’ Gen” to hear it.
And of course, what’s a Mariah Carey album without hearing her hitting her famous whistle register? “8th Grade” incorporates a unique version of Carey’s high notes. Close to three minutes and 55 seconds into the song, you can hear Carey’s subtle yet powerful whistles. Carey also uses her whistles in “With You” close to the end of the song.
Caution is Carey’s attempt to remind us that she’s still cool. Stereotypes often tell us that cool people use swear words, modern day slang words, and acronyms. “GTFO”, the first track on Caution, sets the tone to introduce Carey’s coolness and her clever use of acronyms and profanity. Carey quietly sings the definition of “GTFO” in the chorus. Listeners will have to listen to the lines very closely to hear the meaning of the acronym.
Later in the album, listeners can tune in to the innuendo-filled “One Mo’ Gen.” Perhaps Carey felt that the phrase “one more time” was too cliché. I imagine she thought her fans were yearning for a cool way to tell their partner or partners that they want some more love and intimacy once again.
For those who’d love an album with a mix of old and new R&B and hip-hop hooks, Caution will be a musical delight. Caution will also a be a treat if you’re a fan of Carey’s vocals. Otherwise, if you desire to be taken on a musical and emotional journey by an artist who sings about the different emotions we often experience when we’re in relationships and when we’re just trying to be human, Caution would be worth a listen.