Mimi isn't playing this year. So far she's conquered Australia, made Nicki Minaj look like a demented Cirque Du Soleil clown on American Idol and recorded the best soundtrack song of 2013. Did I mention it's only February? When the snippet of "Almost Home" leaked last week, I was slightly concerned. It was pleasant but I feared Mariah's latest vocal master class might be a tad boring. As it turns out, the Stargate-produced mid-tempo ballad is the record-breaking diva's most contemporary offering since E=MC2.
"Almost Home" isn't exactly experimental - it still straddles the pop and adult contemporary worlds - but after the failed hip-hop adventure that was (the criminally underrated) "Triumphant", it's a relief to hear Mimi on a track that might actually be played on radio. Even more excitingly, Mariah unleashes the powerful pipes that enchanted Australia in January and delivers one of her best vocal performances in years. The chorus is a thing of beauty and the runs at the end of the song are epic.
Oz is shaping up to be a box office hit, so "Almost Home" could be a great platform for the relaunch of the Lamb Whisperer if radio plays along. Let's pray for a video that matches the epic brilliance of "Auld Lang Syne (Fireworks)"!