MUSIC: CD REVIEWS - CD OF THE WEEK
Sunday 29 August 1999
With her raw, earthy tones, Mary J Blige has the most distinguishable voice of all the current generation of American soul singers. Her diva credentials are impeccable. She started her musical career singing in the church choir in the Bronx at the age of seven and, steeped in the soul music of her mother's generation and the hip-hop of her own, she quickly and deservedly became known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Mary, the multi-platinum singer's fourth album, is designed to establish her popularity in Europe. It's a slick, seamless tribute to all her influences, produced with the help of a few friends. Lauryn Hill of Fugees fame wrote the opening track and current single, "All That I Can Say". There is a superb version of "As", the Stevie Wonder classic that Blige sings as a duet with George Michael. (Incidentally, this song was dropped from the US version of his Greatest Hits album following his unfortunate coming-out). She duets with Aretha Franklin on "Don't Waste Your Time" and her "Deep Inside" has Elton John (a big Mary J Blige fan) playing a Benny and the Jets intro. Yet despite the roll call of musical heavyweights, the album lacks the originality that would make it a memorable one. It's almost as if she has become a victim of too much sampling and covers, and I can't help feeling that her special song still has to be written.
A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend
A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women