“Out of Her Comfort Zone”-The London Sessions: Mary J. Blige Album Review

FTC Disclosure: I participated in the Mary J Blige: The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

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Even on Mary J Blige’s 13th studio album she is pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. With everything that I have done this year, this concept of remaining in a state of both professional and personal discomfort resonates with me. Mary was asked 20 questions that led to 20 fun facts for her album launch. My favorite question was: “when was the last time that she felt nervous?” her answer: this morning. Nothing is gained by dancing through life to the beat of the status quo. “The London Sessions” is proof that great things can be achieved when you remove yourself from your comfort zone.

Influenced by the late, Amy Winehouse, Sam Smith, Adele and young talent such as Disclosure, Mary recorded this album in 3 weeks and didn’t miss a beat in the process. The overall feel of the album is soulful, honest, and musically pure. If you’re looking for her usual hardcore Hip-Hop beats this isn’t the album for you. From the first track “Therapy” (co-written by Sam Smith); you get a strong tune with a jazz background that draws you into the album narrative immediately. You certainly fall in love with the range of Mary’s voice all over again. “Therapy” is an evolution from “No More Drama” of 2002 where the message is why be unhappy or bitter when there’s a place you can go heal. Whether it is meant for you to literally go to therapy or figuratively for you to go wherever you find healing- it is a great song.

Mary packs more power in this album with “Not Loving You” recorded with Sam Smith. The strength of this song is the lyrics: “There’s only so much I can do, if you’re not loving you”. This is another song that shows growth and a healed Mary from her earlier music that mirrored her pain and real-life struggles.

Now let’s get to my favorites…

If you are like me and you like to dance, “Right Now” is the jam. It is urban meets melodic synth house beat. Plainly, the beat is hypnotic. If you dance, it will get you dancing. If you’re kind of a background guy or gal, it will certainly make you nod your head. I love this song and have had it on repeat. It’s grown and sexy and what I think Mary fans have been waiting for. “Pick Me Up” is simply whimsical. The lyrics are all about what it is to struggle while wanting to be whisked away to somewhere beautiful to escape it all. It’s a feel-good song that had me smiling the whole time.

“Whole Damn Year” is another track that I adore. When you’ve played an instrument like I have, you tend to hear instrumentals before vocals. This song has a beautiful piano melody with subtle kicks and snares that give it almost a soft rock feel. The song was written by Emeli Sande and talks about the struggle of self-love and trusting when your trust has been tarnished by someone you love. Mary brings her usual depth and soulfulness to this song. You will feel her and her message by the end of the song.

I rarely buy whole albums anymore, unless it speaks to me musically. I am a fan of Mary since “What’s the 411” in 92′. This album feels like Mary and I have evolved together. We started out as kids in baggy jeans with our hats backwards and now we’ve struggled, grown and know a lot more about life. We haven’t lost that urban edge on this album but we’ve evolved into something more sophisticated, wiser and eclectic.

“The London Sessions” is a beautiful journey and I’m urging you to come along with me on it. The album will be available for sale on December 2nd. You can pre-order a digital copy here. Since it is the holidays, why not share the beauty of music with your loved ones. The album will also be available for sale on:

Since we’re a social community here at “The Aristocracy of HR”, here are some links to her social profiles. If you’re a fan like me, you will enjoy her Facebook page and website where you can unlock exclusive, behind-the-scenes content from the album.

This may be an HR blog, but one thing we can agree on is that we HR types love good music. I hope you will love it as much as I do. Check out the official video for my favorite, “Right Now” below. Let’s keep the momentum going on the following hashtags: #TheLondonSessions #HRMusicShare #hrjams

I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

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