Album Review: Mary J. Blige – My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act I)
Mary J. Blige’s recently released album, My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1) does not disappoint and showcases her growth as an artist. She offers music fans her signature soulful style, along with a few elements of modern appeal for the newer generation.
In the original 1994 My Life album, which was Blige’s second studio album, her life became an open book. The Queen of Hip- Hop and Soul expressed her personal pain and obstacles through her music and we immediately embraced her. On this new album, she addresses not only her inner woes, but her triumphs and will to overcome those rough times.
A consummate recording artist for nearly two decades now, Bilge continues to touch listeners through her music. It’s evident on the track Living Proof, as she sings: “Thinking about life been painful/ Yes it was/ Took a lot to learn how to smile/ So now I am gonna talk to my people about the storm”. She reassures her fans that they are not alone when it comes to battling the trials and tribulations of life.
Influences of Blige’s original style are heavily felt on the track Feel Inside, where she expresses her innermost feelings about a troubled relationship. With an intense Hip-Hop beat and guest feature by veteran rapper Nas, she gives us the classic 1994 version of herself.
Creatively, what listeners will find interesting about this album, is the variety that Blige offers in music selection. The track Need Someone is a light, Country Soul love ballad, backed by acoustic guitars and violins. Blige’s ability to test the waters with another music genre and pull it off successfully is impressive. Her vocals on this track are nothing less than breathtaking could introduce her to an even broader audience.
My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1) is an excellent continuation of the original 1994 My Life release. It’s a showcase of Blige’s self growth and maturity, not only as a music professional, but as an individual. Whether you are a long time fan of Blige’s, or a casual listener, this album is highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: “Living Proof”, “Feel Inside”, “Need Someone”
2. Feel Inside (ft. Nas)
3. Midnight Drive (ft. Brook Lynn)
4. Next Level (ft. Busta Rhymes)
5. Ain’t Nobody
7. Don’t Mind”
8. No Condition
9. Mr. Wrong (featuring Drake)
10. Why (featuring Rick Ross)
11. Love a Woman (ft. Beyonce)
12. Empty Prayers
13. Need Someone
14. The Living Proof
15. You Want This
16. This Love Is for You
17. One Life
18. Someone to Love Me (Naked) (ft. Lil Wayne & Diddy)
19. Get It Right (ft. Taraji P. Henson)