Album Review • Mary J. Blige was the 90’s. If there was a list of the top 90’s artist & Mary wasn’t on there, it’s not a real list. She had one of the most consistent runs of quality music. Each album she released gave you a piece of her that also resonated with the listeners. Her relatable music is why she is still the Queen of Hip Hop/Soul 30 years later.
The first single “All That I Can Say” written & produced by Lauryn Hill is one that takes me back to when I first saw the video on BET. I always picture Mary laying in bed with that random white horse galloping down the streets of New York. The way Lauryn captured such a soulful sound mixed with a slither of funk was golden. This single was released right at the time in music when we were getting out of that 90’s sound & transitioning into that early 2000’s sound. Personally, it was a perfect mix of both which is why Lauryn is the genius that she is.
I’ve always said Mary will perfectly execute a cover or sample. She did exactly that with Elton John’s “Bennie & the Jets” sample in “Deep Inside.” When that video dropped on BET it had such a hold on my spirit that I just couldn’t shake. “Deep Inside” is one of my favorite Mary cuts because based off what the world did know about Mary, we knew those lyrics hit home with her. Specifically when she says “So it’s hard for me to find a man I trust, and every time I find someone I like…gotta worry about if it’s really me that they see.” Those lyrics hit hard no matter who you are.
The last singles “Give Me You” & “Your Child” gave us the Mary ballads that we love. “Give Me You” written by Diane Warren remind me of Xscape’s “The Arms of the One Who Loves You” which was also written by Diane. Both bridges of the song sound similar. “Your Child” told a story about finding out that the man she’s with had a baby with another woman while they’re together. Then to make it juicier the other woman popped up with the baby, but from the way Mary put it the girl wasn’t disrespectful. Chile, a mess!
Overall, this album has some great quality songs. My favorite Mary song, a cover of The Gap Band “I’m in Love” is such a masterpiece. It literally feels like love when you hear it. Mary had some heavy hitter features with Aretha Franklin, K-Ci, Jadakiss & Elton John. Mary meant business on her fourth album & we loved every bit of it.