I’ve been trying to listen to the Mary J. Blige My Life II: The Journey Continues album since it was released two weeks ago. Every time I start to listen something happens to keep me from giving it my undivided attention. I’m surprised at myself for not making it a priority because I am a Mary fan and I was really excited about this album. It was a sequel to a classic album … to an album that many consider one of the greatest albums of all time. I pre-ordered it and couldn’t wait to listen, but the closer it go to the release date, the less excited I became. Why? Because the songs that were being released seemed very NOW and not CLASSIC.
As P. Diddy says in the intro to the album, My Life is a classic album. You can pop it in at any time and be blessed. It would be hard to follow that formula and many critics, including my 20-year-old sister, believed Mary was setting herself up for bad reviews by naming the current album My Life II. Undoubtedly people were going to compare the new My Life to the original, and as much as I can appreciate Mary saying My Life II wasn’t a competitor to My Life (she says in the intro that its a sequel and extension of My Life), it is still a part of the My Life brand. As such, her fans expected songs with a soul, great production and songs that would stand the test of time.
After giving the album a full listen, I don’t think we got that. Here’s why:
- There are too may guest appearances from right now hip-hop artists. I love a great collabo and I love Lil Wayne, Drake, and Rick Ross, but I believe they are hot artists right now with little classic appeal. These collabos were used to support record sales of a younger hip hop audience. As a former publicist for a well-known R&B and soul artist I understand the marketing math, but I believe their presence takes away from the classic appeal. I also believe it alienates Mary fans who were looking for another classic My Life album … you know the kind that relies only on Mary, her soul singing, strong lyrics, storytelling and great production to sale records.
- Some collabos that weren’t needed. In my humble but expert opinion, I believe collaborations should enhance songs. I believe that many of the collabos on the album weren’t needed – Beyonce, Busta, Nas. Having these artists on the song didn’t add any value in my opinion.
- The production and soul of many of the songs just isn’t there. You can put on any song from the original My Life album and you can FEEL what Mary is singing about in the song. There are only a few songs on the new album that have a soul. This dilutes the My Life brand, which is built on the soul of the songs.
I will always support Mary and I think this would have been a great album by any other name, but as a sequel to My Life this album sucks!
Conclusion: I do love the album … just not as a representation of the My Life brand.