So, Mariah Carey’s no stranger to covers, right? She’s shown a special interest in soft rock ballads. After all, she covered Nilsson’s “Without You”. Then there was her remake of Journey’s “Open Arms”. Oh! She also covered Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”. Even though I certainly don’t mind Mariah’s music, none of these songs held a candle to the originals, with “Without You” being particularly wretched.
As the second single from her upcoming “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel”, Mariah’s reached back into lite rock again and decided to tackle Foreigner’s #1 hit from 1985, “I Want to Know What Love Is”. It serves a couple of purposes. It brings Mariah back to power ballad territory after forays into deeper R&B and hip-hop production, in the hopes that the fans who abandoned her after she went hoochie will come back. It also brings back the dog-whistle. Remember back when Mariah first came out and she used to hit those insanely high notes in damn near every song? Well, despite the rumors that she’s lost a bit of her upper register and belting ability (remember the less-than-stellar performance of “I’ll Be There” at the Michael Jackson memorial?), this song makes it apparent that she’s still got it. Heaven help our ears. I was actually wondering if it was studio trickery, but I heard a live version of this song in which she unleashed the whistle, so it hasn’t totally left her.
Anyway, this is another case in which the original is much better, and quite frankly, Mariah doesn’t really add anything to the song. As Simon Cowell would say, it’s a bit karaoke. What do you think?