Mariah Carey (Mercury)

“Whoooo-aaaah,” offers the disembodied voice. “Welcome to a day of my life.”

It presumably belongs to Mariah Carey, though its air-brushed artificiality is so overwhelming you’d be hard pushed to recognise it.

But this is now Carey’s way. The strident, showy power balladeer of popular legend seems desperate for R’n’B credibility, to the point where she seems happiest hiding her greatest asset.

The moments on Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel where she lets loose her vocals – the fade-out of the otherwise low-key Candy Bling, for instance – are exceptions rather than the rule.

It’s a similar story throughout Memoirs, a parade of intimate, breathy R’n’B slowies that only occasionally come up for air. The successes (Ribbon, the twitchy Inseparable) are equalled by the failures (Standing O, The Impossible).

But after an hour’s listening, you may have drifted off by the time she gives Foreigner’s I Want To Know What Love Is the full Pop Idol treatment.