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Stronger With Each Tear CD
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Stronger With Each Tear is the ninth album from the "Queen Of R&B", which comes two years after her Growing Pains and once again she surrounds herself with a pool of production talent including Darkchild, Ne-Yo, Stargate and The Dream. Parts of the album have a deep, techy sound, with the track "Tonight" seemingly inspired by '90s new age acts Enigma and Deep Forest. Includes the single "I Am".
Mary J. Blige returns like the elder stateswoman that she is with this, her ninth album, and first since 2007’s Growing Pains. Released in the States before Christmas, it rushed to number two – charting just a week after Alicia Keys’ The Element of Freedom, many saw its timing as instigating a direct battle of the soul divas.
For this international edition, two Led Zeppelin covers have been puzzlingly added, which somewhat corrupts the overall smooth grooving RnB flow. That said, the hugely fun, stomping electro version of Whole Lotta Love, which opens the album, certainly acts as a palette cleanser. Blige is no stranger to rock balladry after her version of One with U2, but the all-star version of Stairway to Heaven here is quite exquisite. With its full orchestra and Stevie Vai playing Jimmy Page’s solo, it’ll have some old Zep fans tearing the heads off chickens – but Blige adds a soulful gravitas to Robert Plant’s mystical lyric.
However, the Zeppelin bookends are little more than novel diversions, as elsewhere it is business as usual. Tonight is a fine atmospheric groove, and I Am is a classic Blige single: pathos, style and simplicity in equal measure. The One features Canadian rapper Drake and the requisite 2010 beeps and bleeps; although the sound of Blige going through an Auto-Tune filter is like getting Rembrandt to paint by numbers.
While producers such as Rodney Jerkins, will.i.am and Ne-Yo keep it feeling contemporary and demonstrate their considerable chops throughout, the scene stealer comes from Raphael Saadiq: Color, from the film Precious. Shorn of the tricksy effects elsewhere on the album, it is simply Blige accompanied by a mournful Hammond, an electric piano, a simple beat and some gospel backing. It is truly outstanding.
It is easy sometimes to take Mary J. Blige for granted; neither as showy or attention grabbing as some of her peers, she is adding to a body of work that is one of the strongest in RnB. Although Stronger with Each Tear may not be one of her greatest works, it ensures that Blige remains as relevant as any of her more recent contemporaries. --Daryl Easlea
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms J. Blige's finest in a long and distinguished career.
'What Love Is' and the sublime 'Come To Me (PEACE)',
particularly the latter, were unforgettable highlights.
I had high hopes for 'Stronger' but this release is a very
different kettle of catfish. Things really don't get started
until about halfway through the recording and by then I was
already feeling more than a little disappointment.
I'm a fan you see. I really do love this woman's voice and
this is far away from the best of what she is capable.
The opening four tracks really are very lacklustre.
Things just don't catch fire. Mid-paced, middle-of-the-road
unmemorable melodies and hackneyed arrangements.
'The One', a very ordinary composition is further damaged
by guest Drake's truly dreadful rapterlude.
T.I.'s interruption to 'Good Love' is no better.
Both contributions, whilst doubtless intended to add to the
music's urban credibility, drag it down into the most
mundane and predictable of territories.
Things start looking up on track five, 'I Feel Good'.
Suddenly the voice, like an exotic flower opening,
bursts into full bloom, largely due to the fact that,
at last, she has a solid melody to hang on to.
A cracking song, beautifully sung!
'I Am' keeps us in a good place. Another strong tune
carried off with style and incandescent conviction.
The vocal harmonies are stunning.
'Each Tear' is a somewhat run-of-the-mill love song.
Nice enough in its own sweet way but hardly classic Mary.
'I Love U (Yes I Du)' is about as upbeat as things get.Read more ›
Out of 15 tracks, I love 5: "I Feel Good," with its positive, upbeat message, current single, "I Am," love song "I Love U (Yes I Du)," lead single "Stronger" and the classic Mary track, "In The Morning."
Whilst I loved Mary's U2 duet, "One," her rockier sounding tracks "Whole Lotta Love," "City On Fire," and "Stairway to Heaven," just aren't as good. "I Can't Wait" with will.i.am is awful, Jay Sean ruins "Each Tear" and the "I Am Remix" just isn't necessary.
The main problem is that the whole album sounds disjointed and it doesn't flow like the Stronger US version does. It definately seems like they chose a few weaker tracks that they thought the UK market would like (more Rock/Pop/Dance) and just stuck them on. If that wasn't bad enough, they omitted the best R&B tracks (Kitchen, We Got Hood Love). I would definatley recommend the US version over this one if you are a true fan of Mary.
I downloaded the album before the CD arrived (obviously) and I was not let down! this isn't what I would call a classic (My Life, Share My World) but the album really shows how far she has come!
The album contains a strange (but amazing) some called Kitchen! a good song but always makes me hungry!
The only song im not that keen on is "I see in color" all the rest are amazing!
In the morning is my fave tho!
Mary has been on a real journey and progression since her very first album and the last 3 albums have moved her to a different level both musically and fame wise, so maybe I expected too much, I thought that this time she would just blow stuff up, that she now had the artistic and financial freedom to deliver the Mary album she has been threatening the last few times. Instead we get a drab, uneventful and middle of the road album.
I hate to say this, it pains me to say this but the album sounds like the slow tracks that weren't good enough to make it to the last 3 albums, almost like a contractual obligation album.
There is not a single track that will grab you on first listen unlike every previous Mary album. Not one track where the vocals will remind you of what the word soul really means, why when Mary sings we all must listen. Even the duets are uneventful and pretty insipid.
I wish this review was a 5, I wish I could just urge you to rush out and buy this, but I can't and maybe even 2 stars is generous because I don't want to believe Mary would just churn this out.,
If you are a fan I suppose you have to buy it like me, if you have heard about Mary and are wondering what the deal is then check out The Breakthrough because this is not really a Mary album - maybe next time
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The cd had the song on that my wife wanted the cd for initially, which she plays constantly :-)Published 14 days ago by Tongester
i could write a review for all MJB albums but dont need to.this amazing lady of soul never fails to deliver and each and every album is a masterpiece.Published 21 months ago by Neil Crowley
Very pleased with my purchase, I love this album! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Product described perfectly, seller extremely highly recommended. Thank you very much.Published on 1 Mar. 2014 by S Warmington
This is a great album this was an excellent purchase I would say one of her Mary J Blige best albums.Published on 23 Dec. 2012 by G PEART