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Carey still has chops but lacks pizazz of past single hits

‘Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse’ Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s latest album kicks off in wonderful and typical Mariah form: She sings a song that immediately pulls you in, as she has done with both killer club jams and searing slow song in the past. “Cry,” a torching, emotional opener, is the song that does its job on “Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse.”

You feel like you are about to experience musical bliss, and in the past, Carey has mostly been able to hit it out of the park.

But even with veteran all-stars, there comes a time when singers make more errors and can’t score a hit like they used to. Sadly, that is what is happening with Carey.

The batch of tracks on her 14th record are enjoyable, but they don’t have the pizazz and spark of her past albums, including 2009’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel,” musically one of that year’s best works (though her worst-selling album).

Carey has been recording the new album since 2011, and she’s struggled with its singles, including “You’re Mine,” “The Art of Letting Go” and “#Beautiful,” a mellow outtake featuring Miguel that was released a year ago and peaked in the Top 20.

Throughout the struggle, she called megaproducer Jermaine Dupri to come onboard as her manager and executive producer to shape the album. The magical duo, who have collaborated on hits such as “Always Be My Baby,” “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us,” haven’t completely lost their charm, but the thrill is somewhat gone.

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