While the world's been busy making memes out of Mariah and picking apart her live performances, she's been busy making the best R&B album of 2018.

Make no mistake, the album didn't get its name because Mariah is being cautious. It's a warning to the rest of us - to her lovers, her haters, her fans and anyone who dared underestimate her.

Here's the thing you have to appreciate about Mariah: she has been in this game for near 30 years, this is her 15th studio album, and in all that time she has rarely faltered.

She has continued to do what she does best in the way only she can, ignoring - for the most part - the fads and trends and continuing to slay the R&B game. Caution is the epitome of that, especially in 2018 where the focus has been pointedly on pop and hip-hop.

Advertisement

When you're one of the biggest artists in the world, trying to stay relevant and cater to both day-one fans and a new generation, consistency - but not repetition - is key. And Caution is a lesson in that.

Mariah has stripped back her vocals and croons beautifully on tracks like Portrait and even GTFO, a sickly sweet-sounding ballad with bite, as Mariah tells her ex and the haters exactly where to go, right from the off.

She still draws on her impressive technical skill and those ever-impressive whistle notes are still present - like on the old-school slow jam With You - but it's all a lot more subtle, warm and deliberately slow.

It's also the first time in years she hasn't wheeled in a full barrel of whichever rappers are topping the charts (though Ty Dolla Sign does appear on The Distance), she just lets her writing and vocals shine without any apparent care for radio play or chart hits.


Caution is open and honest, whether it be about staying strong in the face of adversity on Portrait; cutting ties - and delivering a sick Gilligan's Island burn - on A No No and GTFO; how to deliver the love she deserves on Caution; or just the usual love and lust like on The Distance or One Mo' Gen.

Perhaps most telling is that she finishes the album on Runway, a track on which she sings, "First they love you ... Then they bait you and try to change you / You can push through it, stay the same you and / Never let them bring you down."

Sure, fans like myself could've done with a few more peaks and diva "moments", and her voice might be different – a couple decades and a couple kids will do that to you – but with Caution, she has proven she still deserves her place as the Queen of R&B.

Mariah Carey, Caution

Artist: Mariah Carey
Album: Caution
Label: Sony Music NZ
Verdict: A smooth, sexy, sassy reminder Mariah isn't going anywhere