Mary J. Blige - The Breakthrough

Posted January 22, 2006
Tags: Mary J. Blige,

When you look at Mary J. Blige’s track record you can’t help but wonder if she has an album...

The Breakthrough Album Review

When you look at Mary J. Blige’s track record you can’t help but wonder if she has an album like “What’s The 411,” left in her? While most artists who entered the industry in ‘92 are sitting back and reminiscing of their glory days, Blige remains in the thick of her own. Originally scheduled to only release a greatest hits album, it seems ironic that “The Breakthrough” is one of her greatest works to date.

The lead single “B Without U” makes it very clear that Blige can still give her fans emotionally impacting music that only her life struggle could have influenced. With piano keys providing a melody similar to Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” Blige describes happiness for love that could make even Cupid jealous.

A skill that Blige possesses that other artists lack is her ability to present material for new and old fans alike. Most artists make it difficult to fully appreciate their new material, if they had not been followed throughout their career. “Take Me As I Am,” gives Mary J. the opportunity to testify aloud while allowing the listener the unique opportunity to relate to her story.

“Aint Really Love” showcases Blige’s wordplay as she confesses: “My heart don’t feel it/ and feeling is everything/ and I’m feeling/ like maybe you just don’t feel it.” Although a powerful song, Blige may have come across too blunt as she exclaims: “And then you take me to the level of some bullsh*t/ you said you never had these problems from a white chick.” Overall a good song, the momentum of the song gets abruptly interrupted.

With solid production throughout the album, “The Breakthrough” shows no major weakness except for maybe Blige concentrating too much on herself. Always appreciated for putting her personal life into her music, “Mj Da MVP” seems more like a self-satisfying ode to herself rather than a typical album cut. With 50 Cent on the hook and the sample from the Game’s “Hate It or Love It,” the song sends you in too many directions (most of which point away from the listener.)

Minus one or two tracks, “The Breakthrough” is an all around solid album. “Cant Hide From Love” leaves you wondering why Jay-Z was featured to only provide a very uncharacteristically adlibbed rap. On the flipside, “Good Woman Down” and “Take Me As I Am” showcase Blige at her very best. Each provides a feeling of strength in oneself. “Good Woman Down” gives a “No More Drama” vibe with “Take Me As I Am” picking up the remaining leftover. Blige reinvents herself on the album and has definitely brought a fresh feeling to the R&B scene. While most of New York argues over who the king of rap truly is, the hands down Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul is Mary. J. Blige.

DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

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Posted January 22, 2006
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