It pays to listen with the lyric sheet in hand (I know, how early '00s!) or while looking at the words on a lyrics website. Otherwise, during "More Than Friends," you might miss the part when she sings "Love me down till I hit the top of my soprano," followed by her doing her whistle-register bit. "Up Out My Face" (my favorite song), in particular, is pretty much a four-minute comedy routine with a marching band coda to drive the joke home.
When I interviewed Mariah in 2002, one of the things about her that I found most surprising was how funny she can be. She's in on the joke -- all of them. Most of my friends are shocked when I reveal this, but it's true. Up until Memoirs, her frequently over-earnest lyrics rarely betrayed even a dollop of a sense of humor. It's nice to see Mariah finally lightening up, if not exactly opening up, on record.
Here are my favorite moments of laugh-out-loud lyrical levity on Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel:
- "This is for real, for real, for real/ Oprah Winfrey, whole segment, for real, for real/ 20/20, Barbara Walters, for real, for real/ 60 Minutes, for real" -- "Betcha Gon Know
- "You a mom and pop, I'm a corporation/ I'm the press conference, you a conversation" -- "Obsessed"
- "So cheers, toast, bravo to you/ Cuz you're the man of the hour/ I'ma have to send you some flowers" -- "Standing O"
- "Pretend you on the sofa/ And I’m on the TV/ Might see me on a poster/ See me at a show/ But you won’t see me for free/ Boy, this ain’t no promo" -- "Up Out My Face"
- "You ain’t never gonna feel this thing again/ You gon’ get a lot of calls ‘cause I CC'ed all your friends" -- "Up Out My Face" (Editor's note: Some lyrics websites print "'... cause I see seen all your friends," which, if accurate, isn't nearly as funny.)
- "Secretly, I know you want to hit it like the lotto/ And after that, we can ketchup like tomato/ We can make love in Italy in the grotto/ Fresh off the jet, got the men they screaming bravo" -- "More Than Just Friends"
- And now I love you like summertime/ Love you like cherry wine/ Love you like free money/ Like a preacher loves Sunday" -- "The Impossible"
- "I was wondering/ Would you reach for me/ If you saw that I was languishing/ I was wondering would you cry for me/ If I told you that I couldn't breathe/ If I was drowning, suffocating/ If I told you that I couldn't breathe" -- "Languishing"
Alright, alright, that last one is dead-serious stuff, but what would a Mariah Carey album -- or memoirs of any imperfect angel, for that matter -- be without a little florid emoting and lyrical gravitas?