Over the last 30 years, Mary J. Blige has been in search of self-discovery and freedom. And although she admits to being numb to love on “Love Will Never,” you sense from her newest batch of songs that Blige’s current state in life is loving on herself.
Picking up where she left off on Strength of a Woman, Mary manages to stay on par with today’s landscape of R&B by keeping all the songs under four minutes in length. She also has a host of features lending their assistance on the 38-minute album. It’s not that the features don’t make sense, they’d make more sense if they were friends and peers in age proximity, and in resemblance to those of Usher’s caliber. The two made magic once again for the breezy and flirty “Need Love.”
Good Morning Gorgeous is far from trite. It offers subject matter that matters. From the feisty opening track “No Idea” to singing about her alimony payout and lack of reciprocity stemming her public divorce from husband of 12 years Kendu Isaacs in 2016 (Rent Money,) to only wanting the good parts that love has to offer on “Love Without Heartbreak,” which has the makings of a fan favorite along with “Come See About Me” and “Failing In Love.”
Blige sounds confident and like her old self on GMG. The album’s material is a great balance of happy Mary and sad Mary as it speaks to both audiences-old and new. The dancehall infused “Amazing” will find itself on the list with other birthday anthems. As the title track provides an introspective journey through affirmation. However, the ultimate joy is Blige talking like a living legend throughout the album.
Although she’s still dealing with the woes of her divorce, Good Morning Gorgeous not only serves as Mary’s fifteenth studio album, but a notable testament to her debut album, which turns thirty this year. That doesn’t mean the LP doesn’t offer classic Mary (Enough) to accompany the solace. Some will argue GMG sounds experimental, but Mary managed to present a new mature sound to her core fanbase, while staying true to herself and orchestrating the vibe that’s trending in today’s climate of music. Three decades later and she’s proven to be an R&B artist of a generation who’s still honing and raising the bar in the genre she birthed. In 1992, Blige asked us “What’s the 411,” well I’m sure her fans would answer with an extension to her quoted affirmation: Good Morning Gorgeous, let us help you straighten up your crown