Album Review: Mary J. Blige - My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1)
Mary, Mary, Mary. 10 studio albums and Billboard's "most successful female R&B/Hip Hop Artist on the Top 50 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" (number 2 overall) and you've proven yet again exactly why you are the superstar you are. Mary J. Blige's 10th studio release "My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act I)" is everything you'd expect it to be. Her vocal ability is second to none, and the lyrical honesty on the album is heart wrenching. She saves most of that for the hardcore fans though, as those power-ballad, emotion injected songs aren't until the latter half of the album.
When you're as big as she is, it's not hard to get guest appearances by names like Beyonce, Drake, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Diddy and Lil' Wayne. It's albums like these that remind me that R&B doesn't always have to be whiny crooners who spread their vocals and vibrato all over the map. Blige manages to keep the soulful sound she's always had controlled perfectly with the new generation.
The collaboration with Drake "Mr. Wrong" is probably my favorite track of the album. It's slow jam, groovy vibe has you bobbing your head through the entire track, and lyrically it's something every woman will relate to. "Bad boys ain't no good, good boys ain't no fun. Lord knows that I should, run off with the right one."
The first half of the album is where the radio singles will come from. It's the second half (as I stated earlier) that really caught my attention though. "Empty Prayers," "Need Someone" and "Living Proof" are all snippets of the "Journey" she refers to in the title of the album. Emotionally driven and perfectly musically backed words like "It's gonna be a long, long journey. It's gonna be an uphill climb. It's gonna be a tough fight, there's gonna be some lonely nights, but I'm ready to carry on. I'm so glad the worst is over (cause it almost took me out), I can start living now, I feel like I can do anything and finally I'm not afraid to breath (Living Proof)" pack a punch that drills straight through to the core.
She's the real deal. Signed, sealed and delivered.
5 out of 5 hearts
Stand Out Track(s):
"Living Proof" and "Mr. Wrong"