Mariah Carey

One must admit that Mariah Carey seems much cooler — much saner — after her gutsy, concealer-free turn in the Oscar-nominated abuse saga Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. You think it was easy for the image-oriented star of Glitter to go public with the same mottled bed-face that Nick Cannon sees every morning? Think again. That said, Carey is still the kind of fussed-over creature who makes records with titles like Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009) — as if the "imperfect" qualifier was some kind of courageous admission that, yes, she has flaws just like us mortal meat-bags here on Earth. (Wow. Really, Mariah? So brave.) Judging from the first two radio-play singles on Memoirs — her 12th studio album — the imperfections in question generally boil down to 1) her tragic penchant for turning ex-boyfriends into stalkers ("Obsessed") and 2) her fondness for old Foreigner songs ("I Want to Know What Love Is"). No, Carey's not exactly Emily Dickinson, but she still has that freakishly rangy singing voice and those survivor-princess airs, which is why her fans love her. With makeup or without.

 
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