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"Share My World" was the third album from the R&B singer Mary J. Blige. Seen as a return album for her, it was her first since 1994 and saw her displaying all of the transitions that she had been through over the years to this point where she had overcome all the problems which had inspired her '94 release (including depression as a result of addictions and an abusive relationship) and so she brightens things up past all the gloomy material that had come before it towards much cleaner R&B with the typical injections of Soul and Hip Hop which she had brought since her 1992 debut.
2. "I Can Love You"
Getting things underway, here we are taken into one of the big single from the album. I thought that it was a killer track and it did a lot at the time, and still manages to retain the freaky swing that it had from the time when it was recorded. We see that she comes with a rather mild starter, but as it has so much quality to it, it ensures that you will want to continue through the thing as she does her thing like only she can.
3. "Love Is All We Need"
The lead single to the album, here we see that we get a straight killer tune and one that has her going for a powerful tune to capitalise upon her raw vocal talent and show that this time around her music is going to be much more uplifting. It makes for a tune that I really couldn't see any faults in and the guest appearance from the Queensbridge, New York MC Nas seems to give it that extra additional something to ensure that you can't complain.
4. "Round and Round"
With the Trackmasters and DJ Premier on the beats here it means that you know that her work is in good hands and that solid foundations have been set for her to build from. We see that she does nothing but come with that soulful stuff to make it sound just as effective as it should and excite the listeners further as she does her thing and drops a record that has her able to view her bad relationships in a nice light.
5. "Share My World" (Lude)
6. "Share My World"
After coming off an interlude which sets the mood for this one, here we see that things are taken a little further as MJB gets into things and hits us with another quality piece designed to show how the artist has been able to retain all of the thing which initiated her career, in spite of the fact that her personal life had changed rather significantly since the last time that we saw her. There's a lot to like about this smooth cut, and I can't see where you can fault it.
7. "Seven Days"
For this one she decides that it's about time to slow things down and go for a little something which sounds as though it takes on a bit more of the more traditional end of R&B as she takes lots of her influences from the Golden Ages in the seventies and eighties (aided by a George Benson feature). From here we see that we manages to make it fit into the contemporary world, but I felt that it was a little step down from the tune which came before it.
8. "It's On"
Here we see that we she gets into a little something that I thought was an expected direction for the artist as we find that on it she comes to sing on a track which is produced by, written by and features the R&B singer R. Kelly. It's a very nice one and sees that it was recorded just before Kells' big string on hit ballads as he branched-out massively and reached out to many after having success with Michael Jackson.
9. "Thank You Lord" (Lude)
10. "Missing You"
Here we find that she gets into another track where things are handed over to another, in that we have a track which has Babyface take on a number of roles in the music and giving Mary J. All she needs to go on in order to come up with a powerful ballad. He does all that R. Kelly did on the last apart from actually singing on it, but with his distinctive style injected into it, it doesn't really matter that he isn't featured here.
This was a real stand-out single from the album and one which seems to really represent the overall feel that you get from this record. I thought that it was a big one and one that you should really look out for as we see that on it we seem to get a nice mix-up of lots of various things which have shaped her sound. It starts interpolation of "Sukiyaki" before moving out towards more original work and it makes for one of her best tracks.
12. "Keep Your Head"
The Trackmasters are back on the album as they take the credit for the beats on this one and they come up with a nice little composition which I felt gave the artist the chance to make another hit and the sort of thing which acts as a nice inclusion into the main body of her album and show that the thing had so many options available for the singles which were chosen to promote the thing.
13. "Can't Get You Off My Mind"
Here we see that she comes to deliver a straight banger of a tune and one that has her bringing much more Hip Hop into her set as we see that here she goes for a freaky one where Darkchild comes to bring the beats and he lifts the pace to seemingly challenge the singer and see how well she comes with the material. From here, we have The L.O.X. rapping with her and getting the most out of this one.
14. "Get To Know You Better"
The pace slows back to a more manageable tempo here, and it seems to make for the kind of thing that you expect to get more from her as it is the kind of thing which completely dominated her first two albums. It makes for a heavy piece and one that I really can't see too many making many problems with as it take son all the sorts of characteristics which were prominent in her most successful tunes.
This track is simply too much as I really can't see how they managed to control this one. So much is packed into this one and somehow they ensure that they are able to tame all the elements of it to make it sound as strong as it is. On it, we see that she jumps on over some classic Hip Hop breaks from Darkchild and is seen to have the legendary Acid Jazz innovator Roy Ayers coming to assist her on the piano beside her.
16. "Our Love"
Things are calmed right back down to a much gentler state and it seems to get her coming with a little something to show just how far she has come in the time she took to put this record together (which was a pretty long break since the album prior to this one). It makes for a very nice one that I can see many being drawn to and although it may go against the R&B sounds of the time, it's a great inclusion here.
17. "Not Gon' Cry"
The album ends with this one. We see that for this one we get an emotive piece where she appears to get right to the bottom of her relationship problems and from it she sings about just how much thinking she's been doing about that period in her life and why exactly she knows that she's in a much better place now that she's moved on. The context behind it makes the track what it is and acts as the perfect way to end the album.
In spite of the fact that she decides to do a lengthy one, she manages to fill this album with a hit at every step along the way and it shows that she still has a lot more to give and is a new beginning for the artist (as it would be seen to be). It has a lot to offer and any fan of hers needs this album in their life.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 I Can Love You
3 Love Is All We Need
4 Round And Round
5 Share My World
6 Share My World
7 Seven Days
8 It's On - Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly
9 Thank You Lord
10 Missing You
12 Keep Your Head
13 Can't Get You Off My Mind
14 Get To Know You Better
16 Our Love
17 Not Gon' Cry
18 (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman