Mariah Carey throws ‘Caution’ to the wind and the reviews are in: Is her ‘sublime’ new album the best of her career?

Is the 15th time the charm? That’s how many studio albums Mariah Carey has released now that she has dropped her latest effort, “Caution.” Released on November 16, it’s her first album in four years, but it looks like it might have been worth the wait. The reviews are in, and they’re some of the best of her career.

As of this writing “Caution” has a MetaCritic score of 85 based on seven reviews. That’s MC’s best MC score ever, though the review aggregator only dates back as far as her notorious 2001 disappointment “Glitter.” But it’s still significant for an artist who even in her prime dominated the charts a lot more than critics’ hearts. And it’s more than 20 points better than the score critics gave her for “The Emancipation of Mimi” (2005), which was her comeback following significant turbulence in her career and personal life.

She may be poised for another comeback. Reviewers are saying she’s in “brilliant form” on her “sublime” new album, which is “pure hip-hop-leaning pop bliss.” It’s “thrillingly current,” “pleasingly defiant,” and full of “shrewd and self-assured songs.” It has “a freshness that’s been missing from her recent material.”

It has been more than 10 years since Carey last topped the Billboard 200 albums chart with “E=MC²” in the spring of 2008. That album also produced her last number-one single to date: “Touch My Body,” which was her 18th chart-topper. No other solo artist has ever had that many number-ones on the Billboard Hot 100. Among all artists she trails only The Beatles with 20. Her “Caution” singles “GTFO” and “With You” haven’t gotten traction on the charts thus far, but could the release of the album give her a boost and help her break that all-time record?

Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow music fans in our forums.

Nick Smith (MusicOMH): “The last few years have not been without drama for the elusive chanteuse, so it’s particularly wonderful to hear her on such brilliant form … The message from Carey here is clear. You can come into her life, but make it count and do not throw caution to the wind. This is why her lambs are never silent in their perpetual adoration. … Sublime.”

Brittany Spanos (Rolling Stone): “Caution is pure hip-hop-leaning pop bliss, on par with post-‘Glitter’ and ‘Charmbracelet’ comeback tour-de-force ‘Emancipation of Mimi’ in how it both sublimely nods to current trends while reaffirming the singer-songwriter as a formidable pop presence. ‘Caution’ is thrillingly current without swallowing Carey’s charm.”

Winston Cook-Wilson (Spin): “Stratospheric range or no, Mariah delivers all of ‘Caution’ like a very recognizable version of herself. These shrewd and self-assured songs are anchored by a panoply of market-tested hip-hop and club grooves of the most laid-back variety, but Mariah’s voice distinguishes them from so much of the featherweight modern R&B wrought in her image”

Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly): “On her 15th studio album, the breezy, pleasingly defiant ‘Caution,’ she finds a freshness that’s been missing from her recent material … It does take several listens to find the melodies here beneath all the trademark Mimi gauze, though the hooks feel unmissably sticky once they finally sink in.”

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