While my initial expectations surrounding Mary J. Blige‘s new album (her 13th!) was mixed, now that I’ve actually listened to The London Sessions in its entirety several times, I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised. Part of me was hoping for a full-album’s worth of Disclosure-produced bangers, and while The London Sessions is most certainly NOT that—what it is something better.
Mary J. Blige is known first and foremost as an R&B artist. There’s no getting around that. Sure, she’s dabbled in other genres but she is and will forever be an R&B singer, so I guess I shouldn’t have been SHOCKED by the amount of SOUL on this record. After hearing and loving the first tease from the album, a rousing Disclosure-produced JAM called “Right Now” to hearing a slow-burning, perfectly LOVELY Sam Smith/Eg White co-write like “Therapy“—I felt a little let down. But when you listen to The London Sessions in full, it sounds completely cohesive, something I absolutely look for in a record. Oh, and it’s VERY British. Those Brits…they just do it better!
While the album’s star is obviously Blige herself, The London Sessions (out now on Capitol Records) wouldn’t sound as good as it does if it weren’t for the boatload of British talent lending their mad skills to the cause. In addition to working with the Lawrence brothers (AKA Disclosure) on a couple of tracks, Blige also hit the studio with Eg White, Sam Smith, Emeli Sandé, Jimmy Napes, Naughty Boy and Sam Romans—who along with Blige, helped her knock the whole thing out in 20 days (10 days writing/10 days recording). PHEW!
What are other people saying about The London Sessions? Good things, obviously, with Entertainment Weekly noting “the result is less a reinvention of Blige’s hip-hop-soul sound than a mutation of the dormant disco-diva gene in her DNA…Her big, emotive voice jells on both the thumping Disclosure reunion ‘Right Now’ and ‘Therapy,’ a harmonious matchup with professed admirer Sam Smith” and SPIN praising her flawless vocals as having “never sounded better.” Complex meanwhile says that The London Sessions “proves why she is a legend in the game.” What about those Brits? What do they think of this album by an American tapping into their sweet and luscious musical honey pot? Well, The Observer called The London Sessions “the most innovative album of her 22 year career“ while The Independent delivered the ultimate compliment, naming Blige the “most important soul singer of our time…the 21st century Aretha Franklin.“ YOWZER! That’s a lot of hype. Luckily, Blige has the talent to back it up.
In the weeks leading up to and following the release of The London Sessions, Mary J. Blige has been on a whirlwind promotional tour, appearing most recently on The Wendy Williams Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the American Music Awards telecast. Next up, Blige is slated to appear on A Very GRAMMY Christmas—a one hour entertainment special airing on CBS December 5th (this Friday!). GO MARY GO!
Check out the videos for “Right Now” as well as the JUST RELEASED video for new single, “Whole Damn Year” which was co-written by Emeli Sandé and Knox Brown. The Mike Ho/Alex Moors-directed video tackles SERIOUS issues like child abuse, domestic violence and coming out of the closet. (WARNING: IT’S A DOOZY. Grab the tissues). Oh and speaking of “Right Now,” download 2 new remixes from Zed Bias and Shadow Child.
To celebrate the release of The London Sessions, I’m giving away 2 copies of the album to 2 lucky U.S./Canadian fans. To enter, please fill out the form below between today (December 3rd) and next Wednesday, December 10th. 2 winners will be selected and notified on Thursday, December 11th. GOOD LUCK!
Enter to win The London Sessions from Mary J. Blige!
THE LONDON SESSIONS
the new album from global superstar
MARY J. BLIGE
Featuring the hit single “Therapy,” “Right Now” and groundbreaking collaborations with UK talent including Sam Smith, Disclosure, Naughty Boy and more!
Available Now! http://smarturl.it/TheLondonSessions