Monday, 1 May 2017

THE BIG REVIEW: 'Strength of A Woman' by Mary J. Blige

So I'll bet you're wondering where I've been? Why hath I deserted you once again? I can only apologise folks, but I have two very good reasons for my season of silence...

First, is that since my stint in Bath at the end of October/beginning of November, I have been recovering from the experience; I know it may seem like a long time for that to your lovely selves, but pour moi - 13 chronic, degenerative illnesses work in their own time. The second (way more interesting) reason is that Yours Truly has been working hard on my debut novel! Remember when I told you I had a BIG secret to be revealed? Well this was it - for a taster of what's to come, check out a preview chapter on the ESintheP Facebook Page. Not right now though - now we get down to business.

The Queen of Hip Hop Soul has returned, and I just couldn't let the occasion pass without saying something. I guess you will have all heard by now that Her Majesty has returned to the painful roots that we all know and love her for (not to get in her business, but it's no secret that the Queen no longer has a King, what with her 12-year marriage to Kendu Isaacs imploding after she discovered he was fooling around with her protege on her dime). Whilst she says that she named the album before everything went the southern route, it's clearly evident from standout anthems like Thick of It, the freakishly Faith Evans inducing Set Me Free, and U + Me (Love Lesson), that Ms. Mary put her pain in the music. It's one big cathartic 'cheque please'.

There is not a single dud on this album, each track is as good as the last. It's a GRAMMY-worthy plethora of singles with production for days. An album full of testimonies that see her credit not her own 20+ year, built up resilience, but the Good and Gracious Man Upstairs and his Son for her strength, the overall message also denotes a humility that we can all recognise as true from a Mary who has grown into a mightily wise woman. Without one ounce of the cockiness that some with as many years in the game as she, could justifiably hold; it is definitely this down-to-Earth Diva that so many herald as a true, living, loving, life guru.

Whilst this album is the equative result of the bombastic beats of My Life +  the self-love message of No More Drama; it's beautiful to see Mary's growth as an artist explicitly implied. Unlike the desperation and loss of direction implied in Mary's earlier heartbreak compilations, this one carries a different overall message (hence the No More Drama element) - she's not beaten, and she's not broken; in fact, she's Indestructible. Kudos to her for the personal growth that shines through into the music. Featuring spots from Kanye West, DJ Khaled, Quavo, Missy Elliott, Prince Charlez, KAYTRANADA and BADBADNOTGOOD; let's be honest, the world is always gonna close ranks and support this member of royalty.

'Strength of A Woman' is available from all independent retailers now.

Make sure you come back Wednesday for updates on my shenanigans of the past week; including stops at the London College of Fashion, and Pop PR's Press Day; where I show you some of the latest from their extremely talented list of designers.

Until the next...