Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dear Mary J. Blige: You're Too Grown For This

It's not that I don't like to hear Mary J. Blige do uptempos, because I do. "Just Fine" still makes my treadmill mix, and "Enough Cryin'" was my favorite Breakthrough track for a bit. But this "Nothin on Me (The One)" is trying way too hard.

Mary has managed to transition from 20-something to near 40 in the music industry with ease. In fact, her fanbase has argubably grown over the past decade, as her last two albums have been among the most successful in her career. That's not easy, ask Janet and Mariah. So why is she backtracking with "The One?"

The Breakthrough and Growing Pains have been Mary's most realized records to date. While 411 and My Life were instant classics, Mary's never sounded as confident or capable as she has since 2006's Breakthrough. But "The One" wreaks of desperation. It has Love & Life written all over it, and y'all should remember how well that went.

"Them other girls you done been with, they ain't got nothing on me....Way I walk, way I talk. My swagger."

No, you're 36. Your "swagger" should speak for itself. And it does. Mary's easily one of the classiest chicks in the game. Save these lyrics for Keri Hilson.

And the Drake feature. I just don't get it. There's no reason for him to be on this track, other than his current commercial appeal. See: wreaks of desperation.

But everyone else seems to love it, so check it out for yourself. Leave a comment, let me know if I'm just misguided on this one.

Oh, but when Mary is still a movement by's fine.

"Why R U" Sleeping on Amerie?

Cute headline, right?

I'm convinced that Amerie's "Why R U?" will be the most slept on single of the summer. Already I've heard more negative reviews than good surrounding the singer's first Def Jam single, and those opinions are perhaps as misguided as Amerie's decision to sign with Def Jam in the first place (If your name isn't Rihanna or Mariah, you aren't getting anywhere with Def Jam).

Amerie's voice isn't the strongest, but she'll sing any song like it hurts not to. Because of that effort her "Why R U?" delivery caters toward the track's relaxed 90's production perfectly. Think, Mary J. Blige crooning over "Reminisce" or SWV's slick approach to "I'm So Into You." Not that Amerie is as engaging as Mary, or matches SWV's new jack swagg, but she's singing "Why R U?." Not hiding behind production tricks or vocal gimmicks. Not T-Pain'ing her way toward a hit.

The track's oldschool production is contemporary enough to work as well today as it would have in '92, and that my friend is what we call a timeless record. That's right, I said it.

Don't think that "Why R U?" is groundbreaking, or particulary originial. In fact, it's quite comfortable. But a good song is a good song, and "Why R U?" works well in that capacity.

Checkout the stale ass video.

Oh, but nobody matches her fly.