Mary J. Blige is back with “The Breakthrough”, just in time for Grammy consideration. But don’t believe the hype! Other music bloggers are drooling, but there’s nothing new and nothing exciting about the new MJB.
Here’s a confession; I can’t stand the Blige! I don’t like her voice, and I really don’t like her weak-ass production team.
I know, I know; Mary J. recites more than she sings, and her conviction should be enough. But that’s why her production is such a big mistake. Her vocals are pushed way out in front of the instrumentation and pumped up to such a high volume that her performance is turned into an assault. Mary’s like that guy in a teleconference that shouts into the speakerphone.
And Jesus, Mary; just walk into the booth and fire everyone. As an album The Breakthrough is an Adventure in Homogeny. Every upbeat is punctuated by a finger snap, a hand clap, or a triangle ping. In every song.
Except for one: I’m hoping “Baggage” becomes a single and picks up some good remixes. This one has a great beat, but the vocals need to be mixed back down into the music.
And that cover of U2‘s “One”? Hideous! But it’s mostly Bono‘s fault for a phoned-in, hammed-up performance.
I don’t want to hate MJB, really. But there’s nothing special about her voice or her music, and nobody she works with seems interested in making her sound any better. She’ll get by coasting; she always has. But I’d rather see her with a smooth producer that can use her power and her sense of rhythm to her advantage.
In the meantime, I’ll be nasty:
More like Mary J. Bilge! Ha ha ha!