Mary J. Blige- Growing Pains

So whilst I was looking over the new releases, and debating on whether to burn my brain cells listening to Birdman, or Gucci Mane, I thought, why not toss some r and b up in here too. I mean most of it now has a mean hip-hop influence, and besides it can't be as bad as some of this "hip-hop" out here. So the first album I was able to take a grab at is the new one from Mary J. Blige.

Growing Pains starts off with "Work That" which you should know from the Ipod/Itunes commercials from Apple, a quick paced anthem tailor made to fit into the clubs and having the patented "been through it so listen to me" Mary message of positivity. This of course is Mary's calling card, the ability to show how she overcame her past and empower you to do the same, thus the first official single "Just Fine" which is slightly annoying but not so much that you dont want to hear it anymore...yet.

The bulk of the first two-thirds of the album is mid to up-tempo songs with some slightly confusing production behind "Grown Woman" which features Ludacris. It is a unsuccessful attempt at riding the hip-hop turned r and b sound that she pioneered. "Fade Away" sounds like a hybrid of Amel Lieurreaeux (i know that isn't spelled right) and maybe an older 70's funk tune. It's a different sound but it works. Mary steps into the blues area with "Roses"

She returns to her roots and the theme of the album with "Work in Progress(growing pains)" to let everyone know that her life just like any, is a work in progress from the beginning and every day afterwards. The majority of the rest of the album is standard r and B fare however the song "Shake Down" featuring Usher is a strong pairing as their voices mix together well. I can see this being a single in the near future if Usher can get himself together (we all know that woman got the poor brother whipped)

Overall, this is a solid album, and i have happened to listen to some of her lesser offerings earlier this week, such as the one Puffy produced, i can't remember the album title it was so lame, but this isn't one of them. Go Mary, Keyshia Cole ain't ready to knock you off yet.

Rating: 3.5/5


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