For The London Sessions, Mary J Blige headed to London to collaborate with UK artists for a month. One of my favorite songs out now is Sam Smith's Stay with Me, so I looked forward to listening to what he and the others would do with her on this album for this review.
To describe it over all, I'd say London Sessions is grown folks music. At my particular age, I can say I'm grown folks. I want to listen to music that I don't have to change when someone walks in the room and I don't have to worry about explicit content warnings. These songs are about grown folks feelings – missing, loving, healing, wanting to be with that one person. This is what R&B is supposed to sound like.
Folks are probably already familiar with the single Whole Damn Year that's included on this album. My two favorites from the rest of the album are Nobody But You and My Loving. Perhaps it's the authentic feelings of love and longing that are the common factor; that, and the make-you-move beat in both songs.
Dancing is not my strong suit, but every time I've listened to My Loving I can't stop tapping my feet and bopping along – you know how you do the little in-your-chair dance while your supposed to be working? This is the song that's going to have you spinning around, in your chair or on the dance floor. I like the flirty vulnerability of convincing her man that she's the best girl for him: "I can be the girl you like, the one in your dreams… I'll let you try to think about the other girls, but you can't deny, that what you've got is the best in the whole wide world." It has a bit of that Ne-Yo style and for a few notes, she even sounds like him.
In Nobody But You she tells her man that she's thinking about "Running away into your arms, a place where I'm gonna stay." When there's so many songs out about that one-moment of physicalness, it's a welcome change to hear a song about staying for longer than one night. Again, I like the make-you-dance rhythm of this song, too.
The one song I have to say I haven't put on replay is Therapy. It's unfortunate because I like the bluesy beat and tone to it. But there's a small grammatical bug that bothers me – she sings "I can go therapy," and it seems that there should be a "to" in that phrase. Perhaps it was dropped to fit into the right number of beats, but it catches me every time.
There are few artists who seem like they are going to be able to stay around for a long time, for a real career beyond a one-hit wonder. Mary J Blige is one of those artists with staying power, repeatedly coming back since her 1992 debut album. Perhaps, it's the surprise of what she's going to come out with next. Most of her albums, I've liked one or two songs, so even if I wasn't crazy about her last song, I liked the next one. She keeps you interested, she keeps you coming back to see what she's got on the next track. I would put The London Sessions, with her strong vocals and true R&B tone, as my favorite of her albums thus far.
The London Sessions album will be available on Dec. on Amazon and iTunes.
I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.
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