I Can't Call It: Mary J Blige The London Sessions

Posted On Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I've been done with Mary J. Blige for at least the past 14 years. I stopped rocking with her after that "Mary" album she dropped back in '99. I blame Mary falling off on so many things I don't even know where to start. I mean, her song writing, her production, her marketing and sometimes I even blame her happiness. I mean, come on we ALL know Mary is on point when she's unhappy and obviously that hasn't been the case for the past 14 years. Again, I'm not saying Mary hasn't had a dope song here (peep "Wonderful" off the Think Like A Man Part 2 soundtrack) and there but come ya'll, this is Mary J! This chick is the founder of this hip hop/R&B ish! She's not the dope song here and there chick, she's suppose to be dropping 5 mic albums left and right! Hell, even the Mary knock offs like Ms. Jones had a good song here and there...naw, I expect MUCH more from Mary. So when I saw some new Mary songs floating around, I didn't pay 'em any mind. I mean, you'd literally have to tie me down on some come clean chinese water torture ish to get me to listen to some new Mary. So, the other day I'm chopping it up with my homegirl & she's telling me that this new Mary single is dope and that she really thinks I would dig it but to be honest, I never got around to it. Now, fast forward two weeks and I get the new Mary album in my inbox and I was about to delete it til I saw the name of it..."The London Sessions." Word? What's that all about? So, after some wikipedia searching I peep shorty went over to London to work with some writers and producers from the other side of the pond to create a new sound. Now, THAT piqued my interest and before you know it I've listened to an entire Mary album three times in a row without the chinese water torture. So, if I listened to it 3 times in a row, that must mean it's dope, right? Just hold tight on that one playboy....

"The London Sessions" sets things off with the album's first single "Therapy" with Mary asking "why would I spend the rest of my days unhappy/why would I spend the rest of this year alone/when I can go therapy two times a day" over an ill doo wop track that Amy Winehouse would've been right at home over. "Doubt" has Mary singing about self doubt over an ill piano, "they said I'd never be a leader/they said I'd never wear a crown/if I wanted to be someone/I should learn to settle down/(you should know better) I'd tell myself/(you'll never go further) I warn myself/(you'll never be better) don't know me that well/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, cause I made it to the top/but I can't keep doubting myself anymore" while "Not Loving You" has Mary asking her man "so what you gonna do now, now that you're falling, you're falling down/there's only so much I can do, if you're not loving you." "When You're Gone" has some ill spanish guitars in place for Mary to speak on how much she's missing her man, "Right Now" speeds the tempo up for Mary to speak her peace on how her love won't be the same no mo' and "My Loving" reminds me of some classic Ce Ce Penniston and you can't go wrong with that.

"Long Hard Look" has Mary telling her man, "everyday is different, like every love is different/I said from the bottom of my heart/you're my true fantasy, my daily covenant/I swear I would never bring your harm/just because you think we're loss, don't make it true/I know ain't no rules to this game/I'm not gonna give up on what we do/every time you go searching for pain/take a long hard look, grass is never greener on the other side", "Nobody But You" featuring Sam Smith and "Follow" are more of that underground London house scene and "Pick Me Up" has Mary channelling her inner Michael. (this chick even says "shamone") But the banger of the album for me is the Naughty Boy produced "Whole Damn Year." First off the piano loop he uses is CRAZY and Mary is just dropping those "Mary" jewels on us, "trying find a way to explain this, why you can't touch me tonight/I can feel you getting impatient, but I really can't let you inside/bad how deep the pain is, ooh you just couldn't believe/and yeah I seem good on the surface, but I'm a mess, I'm a mess underneath/see winter took most of my heart, and spring punched me right in the stomach/summer came looking for blood, and by autumn he was left with nothing/it took a whole damn year to repair my body, took a whole damn year/it took a whole damn year to repair my body/it's been a bad 5 years/gonna take a long long year for me to trust somebody, gonna take a long long year/gonna take a long long year for me to touch somebody, it's been a bad 5 years." Yeah...this is the Mary I want in 2014.

To be honest with you, I didn't think Mary could EVER make another dope album. I felt like the 90's were her time and her best years were behind her but with these "London Sessions" on tap, Mary proved me wrong...big time. But if you know me I've grown past the "I gotta be right" all the time stage. Hell, half of the time nowadays when I'm chopping it up with people, I tell folk "I hope I'm wrong" and trust me, I'm SO glad I was wrong about Ms. Blige. Now don't get it twisted, this is in no way "My Life" part 2, so don't even think that's what you're getting. I stopped wishing for a "My Life" part 2 after that travesty she dropped that had the nerve to be called "My Life Part 2." But I will tell you this, "The London Recordings" is a SOLID more mature Mary album and to be honest, that's all I want from Ms. Blige. And after sitting with this album for a minute, I've come to the conclusion that Mary better NEVER record another album in the states if this is what she's gonna be cooking up overseas. She can be happy all day long for all I care but if I even hear about her back in Yonkers, in a studio...me and shorty got beef again.

3.5 outta 5

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