Mary J. Blige, aka "The Queen of Hip Hop Soul," has released her 13th album, The London Sessions. The album was released on November 24th in the United Kingdom and just yesterday in the United States. Listen above, via Spotify.
With over 25 years in the music industry, Mary has solidified her place in the books of R&B / soul. VH1 ranked her as one of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Even though she's experimenting with new sounds on this album, she shows her fans that her song-writing ability and vocal range haven't missed a beat.
In an interview this past September with Power 105.1's Breakfast Club, Mary said, "This is my chance to break out because it's time... just to expand and just to grow for myself, I need it, I need to grow."
The title, London Sessions, was given to the album because she recorded the entire project in England's capital city. Mary's remix version of British electronic garage-house duo Disclosure's song, "F For You" was a top ten hit in the UK Dance chart earlier this year. After the success of the song, she was inspired to move to London to record an EP with Disclosure. However, Steve Barnett (the CEO of Capital Records) suggested that she record an entire album and bring in more talent. In addition to production and songwriting from Disclosure, the album features other British acts including Sam Smith, Emeli Sandé, and Naughty Boy.
One big change for Mary on London Sessions is that this album contains no hip hop whatsoever. The album's first single, "Therapy," was co-written by Sam Smith and produced by Eg White. The track featured a doo-wop flavor with simplistic production, a classic sound for the R&B veteran. Other songs, like "Right Now" (produced by Disclosure) and "Nobody But You" (produced by M.J. Cole), contain a peppy, garage, house music style. Another highlight, the Darkchild-produced "My Loving" features a deep house sound.
Now we know Mary for singing her heart out in every song she releases. Her themes of pain, heartache, triumph, and stress have brought massive success in her career. With this new sound, she does not deviate from these topics. In songs such as "Not Loving You," "When You're Gone," and "Worth My Time," we hear Mary sharing her experiences of lost love and failing relationships. However, "Right Now" and "Doubt" show Mary's triumphant side as she pulls herself up by her bootstraps to trudge through the stress she deals with. In the song "Doubt," she sings, "Now you're looking at a leader / Now you're staring at a queen / You said I'll never be someone / But now I'm pulling all the strings."
On London Sessions, Mary J. Blige bares her soul and gives her fans another heartfelt record with a brand new sound.
For more music, news, videos, and tour dates from Blige, visit her Zumic artist page.