At long last answering the question of she, who she am, Mariah Carey has revealed that her next album will be titled Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse. The announcement came as something of a surprise, seeing as Carey had previously hinted she would adopt a Beyoncé-like approach to her long-delayed 14th studio album, debuting it without preamble or warning. Instead, she gave everyone a long heads-up in the form of an official release date (May 27), and a title that will provide plenty of leisurely reading until then.
Carey also released a video announcement, in which she explains the inspiration behind her album title, besides no one ever saying, “Oh, Mariah… no.” It’s sourced, she says, from a self-portrait she drew at the age of 3-and-a-half, which Carey—taking one of her signature melismatic vocal runs across the whole of the English language—calls “a creative visualization of how I saw myself with the purity of a child’s heart, before it was ever broken.” A drawing, in other words.
In it, Mariah saw herself as a pure, innocent little girl trampling flowers, clasping either a miniature Hobbit-house or a pack of Lucky Strikes in her grotesque, shovel-sized flippers. Someday she may become famous, but she would always remain her, she is Mariah. And she would just hide those gnarled talons on all her album covers.
“Please don’t judge me for such a simplistic title—come on, I was only 3 and a half,” Carey pleads to those who apparently believe anything she does or has ever done is “simplistic.” The whispered backing harmonies Mariah recorded for a spoken-word announcement for some reason laugh appreciatively. “I like it,” one of them reassures her at the end. It was all Mariah needed to hear.
As for the second chapter of her album title, “Lately they’ve been calling me ‘The Elusive Chanteuse,’” Carey explains, presumably of Robespierre’s executioners who each morning fling open the cells holding members of French nobility condemned to the guillotine, only to find they’ve been stolen away in the night. A crude drawing of a small girl with rakes for arms is all that has been left behind. “Sacre bleu… It is The Elusive Chanteuse!” they exclaim, terrified.
And indeed, it is she. She is Mariah.