The result is a largely enjoyable mix of flirtatious club jams, midtempo love songs, and emotional ballads anchored by hip-hop beats that handsomely showcase the singer's powerful vocal chops.
Ever the party girl, Carey opens the album with the sleek and seductive ''Migrate,'' where she imagines getting buzzed on pinot grigio during a night out with the ladies. Other dance-floor anthems include ''I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time'' and ''O.O.C.,'' which, for all of their pop polish, never lose their soulful spirit. But it's not all about velvet ropes and playful come-ons; notably, Carey suffers from a major love hangover on ''Side Effects,'' a synthy cautionary tale about an abusive relationship. ''Wakin' up scared some nights still dreaming 'bout the violent times,'' she sings with outspoken intensity.And yet Carey remains a romantic at heart. With the ballads ''Love Story'' and ''Last Kiss,'' she reunites with Dupri to recapture the passionate splendor of 2005's ''We Belong Together.'' It's unfortunate, then, that E=MC2 closes with its only missteps, the somber elegy ''Bye Bye'' — an odd choice for the follow-up single to the cheeky hit ''Touch My Body'' — and the preachy gospel hymn ''I Wish You Well'' (this CD's version of Emancipation's ''Fly Like a Bird''). Still, for an artist whose career was all but dead four years ago, Carey is wise to play it safe by building on the finest elements of her last CD. Were it not for the final two tracks, she could've gotten away with one of the best album for the year.