In Defense Of... Mary J Blige's "25/8"

Mary J. Blige has always struck me as a more well-balanced and humble singer than her contemporaries. Instead of overpowering the music with diva crescendos, Mary lets the music flow with her. This anti-diva approach is the reason she's abided twenty-plus years and two generations of boisterous divas from Whitney Houston to Beyoncé.

The last I heard from Mary was her Red One-produced cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" in 2010. I wanted that track to be an earnest rock cover that displayed Mary's genre range, but it ended up sounding like a bad Lady Gaga track. I was disappointed.

Fortunately, Mary J's Electro-pop track was just a fling.

Her tenth studio album with a wordy subtitle, My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act I), released last week. While a couple of guest tracks in the album sound tacky and hasty, My Life II's got a lot of her Soul-meets-Hip-Hop past and a few teases of the present.

A highlight of My Life II is the single "25/8". While the name sounds like the flowery expression out of a teen's SMS message, this track has an old-school soul sound with samples of a full band. A couple other pop artists have tried to emulate this sound lately (I see you, Beyoncé) but Mary floats effortlessly through it.

The lyrics to "25/8" follow the joy of the track. It's a good break from the often heart-rending themes Mary covers. Almost makes you wish there were more days in the week for Mary to write more soul tracks like these.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send: