Kinfolk! The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, finally dropped her highly anticipated 13th studio album, Strength of a Woman. MJB happens to be in the middle of messy divorce with Kendu Isaacs. The London Sessions album was a departure from the Mary that we have all grown accustomed to, but she has never been one to keep herself in a box artistically. I am all for experimentation, but I have been ready for vintage Mary album for some time now, and Strength of a Woman did not disappoint.
When I first heard the first single, Thick of It, I was also transported back to the My Life era. The song immediately grabbed a hold of me and didn’t let go. My first thought upon hearing the song was, “This album is going to be good!” MJB had a good buzz going for the album, and then there was a lull, most likely because that f*ck boy, Kendu Isaacs, is trying to take my girl to cleaners with his unrealistic request for 100K a month in spousal support *side-eye*. I got a little nervous, but then she dropped U+Me (Love Lesson), and I said “Oh shit, we 2 for 2!” Then she hit us with Love Yourself featuring House Motha Kanye West, which made us 3 for 3! With three solid singles this album was destined for greatness!
On this album,Mary does what she does best, and that’s bear her soul! Set Me Free is prime example of that, with the lyric “There’s a special place in hell for you…yo gon pay for what you did to me” we know it’s real! On Glow Up, Mary manages to fit in with the current music landscape without sounding like she is trying too hard, the addition of DJ Khaled, Missy Elliott, and Quavo(Migos) don’t hurt either. This song will definitely be summer banger. Indestructible is probably my favorite song from the project. It’s classic MJB. She is giving women a guidebook on how to make it through a break-up. With lines like “You gotta love like you never been hurt” This song is definitely standout, you can hear the hurt in her voice, but you she motivates you not give up
Even in her pain, Mary manages to give us some upbeat songs, Telling The Truth is a catchy up-tempo that helps to balance out the heaviness of the project. Naked Truth (Target Version) is another mid-tempo that was clearly done before the shit hit the fan with Kendu. The song goes in a different direction, she is singing about being in love, which is clearly not the space MJB is in. It’s easy to see that direction of the album changed. Life happens and the music has to represent life.
Of the 13 tracks and 2 bonus tracks(Target Version), I can honestly say that I like the majority of them. There isn’t one that I would say I completely dislike. I am a bit biased because I have been rocking with MJB, since she was signing to background for Father MC. Strength of a Woman lives up to its title. The album as a whole musically personifies the ebbs and flows of relationships, love, and heartbreak. The album is definitely worth a listen. I highly recommend you listen to it. Even if you’re not a diehard Mary fan, you will take something away from this album.
Whut say you?