Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mary J. Blige: London Sessions. Album Review

My relationship with Mary J. Blige is one of a devoted fan. I was in the 9th grade the first time I heard "Real Love." DJ Red Alert played it on Kiss FM and I stopped in my tracks. I couldn't wait to get to school the next day and tell my girls about this new sound...singing over a hard hip-hop track. They only looked at me like I was nuts. It made no sense to them....until they heard it for themselves on the radio. I can honestly say, Mary changed everything. My girls and I would go to my mom's bedroom, because she had this widest mirror on her dresser, and make dance routines to "What's the 411?" and "Real Love" and danced in that mirror together all school year.
Later, in my freshman year of college, "My Life" dropped. I hated it initially. I had just turned 18. I wasn't ready. But by the time I was 20, I was "grown" and that album was the soundtrack to my so-called pain. In my studio apartment alone, playing it non-stop day and night for the better part of a full year.

So you see, I love Mary's music on a personal level. I've seen her in concert and she's so raw and giving with her life experiences and the lessons she's learned.
Mary is my fly, older cousin in my head.
Seeing her spinning out of control and reading her crazy interviews over a decade ago didn't scar her image, for me I love her more knowing she has evolved, beautifully.

I listen to London Sessions with my history with Mary in mind. Her voice is seriously better than it has ever been now. Polished but still Mary.
Just like "My Life," this album took several listens for me to get into it. Mary recorded it on a whim in 3 weeks in London with some of London's best talent, including Sam Smith and Adele. I love Yonkers Mary...the rawness, the funk, the swagger. This album felt bleak and too slow in my first listen but she recorded the album with a global perspective in mind. It doesn't sound like Yonkers, but that's OK.
The first song I heard was on the radio a few weeks ago. I loved the sound immediately but the lyrics were diabolical to me...was she talking about domestic abuse? Someone punched her in the stomach? What is going on???? But again, I just needed to sit with it. It's so good now.

My favorite song thus far is the 1st track, "Therapy." "Doubt" is empowering and a positive anthem with a good melody. "When You're Gone" is sweet song for long term relationships. "My Love" and "Hard Long Look" are the party tracks....much of the album is rather slow though. Some would call it "mellow" but others would say it's a dreary as London weather.
I rate it 7 out of 10.
But you be the judge.

Get the album:
iTunes: MJLondonSessions

I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment