All hail the Queen of Hip Hop Soul!
Today is the day folks! Mary Jane Blige’s new album The London Sessions dropped today! What you all don’t understand is I have been of day 1 stan for MJB. I can remember my mother telling me to turn down Real Love that was blasting from my cassette deck in my room. I have rocked with this woman since she was singing background for Father MC! MJB has taken us along on her journey, yes there were some missteps along the way, but nonetheless MJB is still here. This is her 13th album, yes you read that right 13th album! MJB has a career that spans years and stellar musical catalog. The great thing about Mary is that she is who she is, you are either going to love her or you’re not. Mary has a chameleon like quality, meaning she can sing with Bono and at the same time she can rock with your favorite rapper, with absolutely no problem.
This new album, The London Sessions, is special because it is a departure from the MJB that we are used to. That’s another great thing about her she is always evolving and never staying the same. This is important for an artist to do, that is not to say completely leave your core audience behind, but bring them along on your journey. That is exactly what MJB does with this new album, recorded over the summer in London. Mary said that she felt like she was dying as an artist and needed a change artistically, hence The London Sessions. Mary worked with producers and writers that she had never worked with on this album, talk about stepping outside of your comfort zone! But change is uncomfortable and at times scary, but MJB is fearless! I know stated in the previous review I would only talk about the songs I liked and not give my take on all the songs, but this The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, so I will be reviewing all the songs. Here we go!
On this song Mary asks the question why would I be unhappy, when she can go to therapy? Mary shines on this bluesy song. The drums, tambourines, and the impressive background vocals from Sam Smith give me chills. This song also translates well in live performance(AMAs). I love it!
Many of Mary’s song give us inspiration and encouragement and this song is no different. On this anthem like song she talks about how you can’t let what others think of you hold you back. Self-doubt is your enemy, Mary empowers us to push through no matter what others say and no matter if you doubt yourself, we must press on! Be the best you! I love it! This is one of my favorites from the album.
Not Loving You
This song right here is soul-stirring! Leave it MJB to take me in on the third song from the album. She could be talking to a friend, lover, family member, but she simply says, “There’s only so much I can do, if you’re not loving you!” Powerful words! You gotta love you first before someone else can! You can tell from MJB’s delivery that she felt this song and I felt it as well. Another favorite from the album!
When You’re Gone
Mary is stripped down on this guitar heavy track. She sings about how in relationships we don’t realize how much of impact a person has on our life until they’re gone. Sure they might get on your nerves because we may feel like we’re spending too much time together or work might be stressing us out. But you miss the f*ck outta them when they aren’t there. Leave it MJB to cut right through the bullshit! I love it!
This song is a clear departure from the sound we are used to from MJB, but surprisingly it works! We are not used to hearing Mary over an up-tempo house beat, but Mary being the chameleon she is, transforms and pulls us right in with this one! I really don’t get into house music, but I like this song.
This song is also a departure from the MJB we are used to, but MJB’s vocal mesh with this up-tempo house beat. She again pull us right in with this one, I found myself dancing to this, and again I don’t really get into house music like that. That’s the beauty of MJB she isn’t afraid to experiment. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it works here!
Long Hard Look
Take a long hard look folks! Grass is never greener on the other-side! No truer words have been spoken! MJB always gives us lesson in her music. She implores us to appreciate what you have instead thinking another person has it better than you, or you’ll be better with another person. Your situation may seem bad, but it could be worst on the other-side. Mary, Mary, Mary! I have no words!
Whole Damn Year
“See winter took most of my heart, and spring punched me right in the stomach, summer came looking for blood, and by autumn I was left with nothing” Maaaaaaaaaaaaan listen!!!!! That line right there took me the entire f*ck out! That ladies and gentlemen is a GOTDAMN lyric! Mary Jane Blige, ma’am you should even do us like this! I love, love, love this song! This is probably my favorite song off the album and probably the closest to the MJB we are used to!
Nobody But You
Another up-tempo house track where MJB kicks down the sides and busts open the top of any box that you might try to put her in! You can’t put this woman in a box! She proves yet again she can sing any type of music and it works to her advantage. Not many artists have this ability. I like this song!
Pick Me Up
This song is one of my favorite up-tempo house songs from the album. This one had me tapping my foot to the beat! Leave it MJB to make me like house!
Another up-tempo house song, which Mary transforms into a house goddess with little to no effort! I like it!
Worth My Time
This is another one of those soul-stirring songs that Mary is famous for. She sings, “I won’t give up, if you make it worth my time” The piano and Mary’s vocals are divine. The song is very simple, but the lyrics and the soulfulness of her voice are everything! I love every last minute of this song this another favorite from the album.
The London Sessions, is a masterfully done album. While the album is a departure from the Mary J. Blige that I’m used to, it is not so different that I am thrown off. Actually the departure is refreshing, it feels like a breath of fresh air. Many only like when Mary is singing about pain, and I’ll be honest those moments have translated into classic songs, but it is unfair of us to always expect those type of songs from Mary. We have to let her grow and change. Jay-Z said it best with the line, “Loiters should be arrested!” Stepping outside of her comfort zone really paid off with this album. I one hundred percent recommend this album, but you have to open-minded, please don’t go into this album thinking your going to get “My Life” Mary or “The Breakthrough” Mary, because you’re not. You are getting “Breath of Fresh Air” Mary, and I love it! As I always say, develop your own opinion about music and in general. But you would be a fool not to listen to this one!
Final Rating: 5/5
Whut say you?