The undisputed “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” known as Mary J. Blige has returned with her new album “The London Sessions.” Having a music career that has spanned over twenty years now, Blige has managed to survive the test of times while seeking new heights and territory. This time around the singer packed her bags and trekked over to London to work with some of London’s music newcomers that have been dominating the airwaves. Mary paired up with producers and songwriters Sam Smith, Emeli Sande, Disclosure and Naughty Boy for a fresh new sound on her thirteenth studio LP “The London Sessions.” Alongside them, Rodney (Darkchild) Jerkins executive produced and Mary co-wrote.
The albums leading single “Therapy” was beyond fitting for the music legend. Over the years many have referred to her music catalog as therapeutic, and honest. Mary has indeed tackled the right title for a song. Stating she’s not in the best state of mind, and understanding if one doesn’t want to be bothered with her, Blige realizes it’s time for some much needed therapy. She offers her lover some reassurance on “Long Hard Look,” by professing that things will be alright and she’s willing to put the work in. She again speaks of the same subject matter on the albums closing track “Worth My Time.”
Although she has explored with electro-dance and house music sound in the past with remixes. This time Blige went all out, but has managed to remain true to herself with her own personal sound and lyrical content. Serving fresh vocals on “Nobody But You” and bragging about her sex game with lyrics like…
“Cause nothing brings the fire, and nothing gets you higher, Aint nothing good as my loving, my loving, my loving, and I’ll make you surrender, nobody’s gonna give ya, a love as good as my loving, my loving, my loving”
On the track “My Loving,” but these dance tracks blend well with the albums sound.
Known well for her broken hearted anthems over the years, Mary once abandoned that kind of material. However, she revisited it for ole time sake on “Whole Damn Year.” Singing about her trust issues, bruised heart, and having trouble moving on, Blige conveys “that thing” that’s made her the singer she is today.
“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, it took a whole damn year to repair my body”
One song that stands out the most is “Doubt.” The track will serve as an anthem to many. The song has everything that good R&B is made of, melody, lyric, and a great message to follow.
“I made it to the end, I nearly paid the cost, I lost a lot of friends, I sacrificed a lot, I’d do it all again, cuz I made it to the top, but I can’t keep doubting myself anymore”
Other great tracks are the non-traditional ballads “When You’re Gone” and “Not Loving You.” Mary spoke on the album and it’s recording process while visiting the Wendy Williams Show…
“If felt like I was recording “What’s the 411?” I just felt fresh off the block.”
The twelve-track project offers a range of sound, but it’s rich and colorful. Mary has been known to explore musically, and has never disappointed. Then again, she is the only artist who has been nominated for Grammy’s in more genres than any other artist. “The London Sessions” is a true statement of an artist who trusts and believes in herself. R&B artists often toy around with electro-dance records, and it doesn’t always go too well. However, Mary’s path was genius. Enlisting fresh new writers and producers for the job was key, more so, ones who obviously studied her career catalog. You’re able to hear in the songs material that they knew exactly what direction and lane Blige comes from and needs to travel in. The annoying part of the album is the intermission transitions from most songs to others. Others, besides when Sam Smith states that Mary is “this untouchable goddess.” This LP truly showcased a confident and brave artist, which is reason why Mary J. Blige was named “The Most Successful R&B Artist of the Last 25 Years” by Billboard.