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Mary J Blige has been one of the biggest stars in female R&B for more than ten years. She has released nine studio albums In her career which began in 1992 with "What's the 411?". Having sold over 50m albums worldwide and winning countless awards including an amazing nine grammy awards she is one of the most critically acclaimed female R&B/Soul stars thanks to her emotive voice and broad subject base. In the last few years she has seen somewhat of a comeback of sorts.
**Stronger with Each Tear**
This was the ninth studio album from Mary J Bluge and was released 18th December 2009. The album features some all star production from the likes of StarGate, Ne-Yo, will.i.am, Darkchild as well as Polow Da Don, Raphael Saadiq and RedOne. The album also features a couple of very interesting covers of Led Zeppelin classics, "Whole Lotta Love" and "Stairway to Heaven" being covered.
1.) Whole Lotta Love
This is a very interesting reworking of the Led Zeppelin track. Mary J Blige does a fine job on the dance rock cover. There's the vibrant guitar licks of the original and there's some great catchy dance beats. Mary's voice shows great power and this is a surprisingly good cover that keeps the spark of the original. Great work. It might take a little while to get used to this different version though.
This is a catchy track, It's a mid tempo hip hop track which has an interesting mix between ballad and up tempo. This is not one of the strongest tracks on the album, I feel that Mary is holding back a little too much here but it's a decent catchy track. Could be better but not a bad track when all things are considered.
3.) The One
This track features Drake and was produced by Darkchild. It features some of Mary's vocals through autotune and features some excellent club beats which remind me of Usher's recent material. This is a very enjoyable up tempo track which shows another side to Mary's music. Drake does a decent job with his rap vocals.
4.) I Can't Wait
This is another up tempo club joint, It starts like a Dance tune then Will.i.Am comes in with his distinctive vocals. Another impressive up tempo track which could be an excellent club track. This is a decent collaboration between the two and has a vibrant flow which is rather catchy and enjoyable.
5.) Good Love
This collaboration between Mary and T.I Is yet another vibrant opener, Blige's vocals are rather like Ciara on this one and this is a very flowing track which gets better mid-way through thanks to the excellent delivery from T.I. Overall this is a very good collaboration with a natural and catchy flow. A big hit for fans of both I'm sure.
6.) I Feel Good
This track slows things down a little though still keeping a mid tempo. The combination of the pace of the drum beat and the gentle keys makes for an interesting backing. This is a good track which features some excellent backing vocals which add to Mary's lead vocals. This is a StarGate & Ne-Yo Collaboration.
7.) I Am
The most heartfelt track on the album so far, This starts off like a lovely ballad and then moves into a catchy mid tempo. This has an excellent chorus which is telling someone how much you care for them and how good you can be together again. This is an excellent track which was released as the second single from the album.
8.) Each Tear
This is an excellent pop/r&b track which reminds me a little of Beyonce. The gentle piano works well with the catchy beat. This is one of the best tracks so far and shows the variety of Mary J Blige. This track features Jay Sean and he actually adds a nice touch to the overall feel. A very enjoyable toe tapper of a ballad. Good stuff.
9.) I Love U (Yes I Du)
This track was produced by Polow Da Don and you get that style for sure here. It's a catchy up tempo track with some great vocals from Mary. I particularly like the way this song progresses and her vocals soar and get more powerful. This is an excellent track which has a excellent production from Polow.
10.) City on Fire
This is another very catchy up tempo track which has a thumping beat. The backing vocals are excellent alongside Mary's lead vocals. The beat is infectious and this is a great track to dance to and I'm sure you would get a lot of people in the clubs dancing on the floor to this one. Another impressive up tempo track.
This track opens with a gentle acoustic guitar and a heavy beat. This is a lovely ballad which is particularly well put together. This track features Chris Brown who co-wrote the track. it is featured on the soundtrack for the LeBron James documentary film More Than a Game. It's an excellent track with some great vocals.
12.) In the Morning
Now we get to the serious stuff. This is a beautiful ballad dripping with emotion. It's about when a relationship is going wrong and you feel distant between each other. This track is a clear indication of how well she emotes really powerful lyrics. This is up there with the best on the album. Absolutely superb track.
This is another sensational ballad, It's from the soundtrack of Precious. This is a terrific performance from Mary. her voice is just dripping with emotion. Raphael Saadiq does a fantastic job on production as well as co-writing the song. What an incredible track. This is seriously up there with the best of her career.
14.) Stairway to Heaven
This is the second of two covers of Led Zeppelin tracks on the album. This features Travis Barker, Randy Jackson, Steve Vai and Orianthi. This is an absolutely terrific cover version of one of Rock's classic songs. Mary's vocals are exceptional and she is backed by some excellent performances, most notably from Steve Vai and Orianthi Panagaris. It took guts to attempt this song but talent to pull it off. Superb reworking.
15.) I Am - (Dave Aude remix).
This is the final track on the album and is a remix of the albums second single. It's another club style track which has some very good keyboard hooks and some catchy beats. This is not as good as the original but it's still a decent addition to the album. A decent end to the album.
This is another fantastic album from Mary J Blige, It again shows her usual diversity and the ballads are first rate. This is one of her best albums and there is not really any weak track. The final quarter of the album is sensational and just shows how talented she is. Especially the Outstanding moments form Color and Stairway to Heaven. One of the albums of the year there's no doubt about that. My one slight gripe and it is only a slight one, There may be a few too many up tempo tracks.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Whole Lotta Love
3 The One
4 I Can't Wait
5 Good Love
6 I Feel Good
7 I Am
8 Each Tear
9 I Love U (Yes I Du)
10 City On Fire
12 In The Morning
13 Color - From The Motion Picture Precious: Based On The Novel "Push" By Sapphire
14 Stairway To Heaven
15 I Am (Dave Aude Remix)