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The Breakthrough

Mary J. Blige

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iTunes Review

From the updated Philly soul of “No One Will Do” — built around speeded-up O’Jays samples — to the closing takeover of “One,” with Bono and U2 collaborating in the usurping of their anthem, The Breakthrough stands as first-tier Mary J. Blige. As necessary as My Life, Share My World and “Family Affair,” this long-player never slips to the level of ordinariness while making clear once more what Blige has done to make soul music matter for a hip-hop generation. Carrying her ’70s favorites into a new century, proclaiming herself the beneficiary of real real love this time, and assuring the sisterhood that they can still lean on her, she makes some of her most aurally and emotionally sticky music ever. And not that anyone’s seriously questioned her continuing relevance, but it’s worth noting that the marvelous single “Be Without You” topped the R&B chart for 15 consecutive weeks.

Customer Reviews

Blige Delivers A Masterpiece!!!

I've been a fan of Mary J. Blige since the beginning, and I did admit how awful "No More Drama" and "Love & Life" albums were. This album is the best R&B album released in 2005...bar none. Mariah, John (Legend) and Kanye ought to be thankful that Mary's album isn't eligible to compete in this year's Grammy show. This classic album combines the soul she delivered in her earlier work as well as the freshness of the contemporary sounds without trying to sound a certain way to fit a mold. Her rapping skills as Brooke is comparable to the skills and styles of Eve and MC Lyte. There is not one filler song in this album. Mary J. Blige showed Mariah, Beyonce, Amerie, Whitney, Toni, Ashanti, Keyshia, Fantasia, Lauryn, Brandy, Monica and Alicia how to complete a well-rounded R&B album.

Anybody Who's Ever Loved You Know Just What I Feel

Long before every R&B artist was infusing hip-hop elements into their songs, there was Mary J. Blige who created a new genre onto itself. But unlike her imitators, Blige has something they don’t, soul. While they relay too heavily on the hip-hop the reason Blige has stayed on top is that she finds the right balance between that and soul. Mix that all together with the heartbreak that seem to seep into most of her songs and you have a recipe that’s worthy of a first ballot into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even though Blige declared No More Drama on her last album, luckily for us the listener, there is still enough to fill her latest album, The Breakthrough. The drama of finding, and keeping, a good man are at the center of Enough Cryin’, Baggage and Father in You. And the music doesn’t faulter when she migrates into more traditional love songs such as No One Will Do, About You, and Can’t Get Enough. Very rarely does the hip-hop beats drag down the album except on the bongos on Ain’t Really Love overpower the song. But Mary does sample both old school and new school tracks. As for new school, Mary builds MJB da MVP around 50 Cent’s chorus from Hate it or Love It. Then on Gonna Breakthrough Blige sings overtop KRS-One’s Step Into a World (Rapture’s Delight). Then instead of settling for sampling, or even bringing in studio musicians, she gets U2 to make an appearance on the cover of their classic One from Achtung Baby. They even brought along a choir which helps convert the song into a gospel song much like they did on I Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for on Rattle and Hum. Mary even outshines Bono, who trade verses, and hits the line “Love is a temple, love is a higher law” like she finally found what she’s looking for. That passion carries over to her new song like Be Without You and I Found My Everything, a duet with Raphael Saadiq of Tony Toni Tone fame.

I'm really Surprised

I'm just a regular guy, and the last full album i bought was Life and Love. All the hype with P.Diddy i caved in and just bought it. I was disappointed and havent bought anything from Mary J since. But to my surprise Mary is back in vocal form, with less rapping and hip-hop noise. Mary is back with great vocals that sing to us. Thanks Mary

Biography

Born: January 11, 1971 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

When her debut album, What's the 411?, hit the street in 1992, critics and fans alike were floored by its powerful combination of modern R&B with an edgy rap sound that glanced off of the pain and grit of Mary J. Blige's Yonkers, New York childhood. Called alternately the new Chaka Khan or new Aretha Franklin, Blige had little in common stylistically with either of those artists, but like them, she helped adorn soul music with new textures and flavors that inspired a whole generation of musicians....
Full Bio

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