Strength of a Woman

Strength of a Woman

by Mary J. BligeMary J. Blige


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On Strength of a Woman, Mary J. Blige covers a lot of lyrical ground familiar to anyone who has heard her 11 previous studio albums. A significant fraction of this set's sentiments are clichéd. There are self-help platitudes such as "You gotta love yourself before you love someone else," along with timeworn redemptive declarations like "I was lost but now I'm found" and "Now I'm finally free to be me." In fairness, the stock phrases are delivered with conviction, understandably weighed with a sense of "Not this bull again." The alleged extramarital antics that dragged Blige back into this darkness, after all, are as clichéd as it gets. Clearly the time wasn't right for Blige to record a bunch of feel-good jams, but in the listener's favor, the anguish has also inspired the singer and her co-writers and producers -- Brandon Hodge, Darhyl Camper, Jr., Prince Charlez, and Jazmine Sullivan, along with many others -- to illustrate these ballads of confrontation and perseverance with enough specifics to distinguish them from the past work. Take "Set Me Free," where a swanky, winding backdrop supports stinging "hmph" lines like "You musta lost it -- n*gga, you won't get a dime," followed by "There's a special place in hell for you" in dismissive high register. A clinking Kaytranada collaboration ("Telling the Truth"), a back-stabbed weeper that bares Sullivan's unmistakable touch ("Thank You"), and a machine-soul ballad worthy of an extended 12" mix ("U + Me [Love Lesson]") likewise could not have been made at any other point in Blige's career. A few songs do depart from expressing pain and the documentation of recovery. Brightest of all is "Find the Love," pure early-'80s boogie throwback. Just beneath that is the title track, a theatrical empowerment anthem that would likely close just about any other album. Instead, extra punctuation is provided by "Hello Father," another gem. It contains one of the hour's best grooves, provided by Hit-Boy, and is all devotional finesse.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/28/2017
Label: Capitol
UPC: 0602557261486
catalogNumber: 002610002
Rank: 175557

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary J. Blige   Primary Artist
Paul Cartwright   Violin
Peter Jacobson   Cello
Aaron Draper   Percussion
Eric Gorfain   Violin
Jenny Takamatsu   Violin
Timothy Loo   Cello
Leah Katz   Viola
Songa Lee   Violin
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson   Conductor,Soloist
Marisa Kuney   Violin
Lucia Micarelli   Violin
Caroline Buckman   Viola
Jazmine Sullivan   Background Vocals
Alison Bjorkedal   Harp
Kevin Woods   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Ina Veli   Violin
Chris Woods   Violin
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith   Cello
Derrick "Bigg D" Baker   Guitar
Thomas Lea   Viola
Mary Sloan   Violin
Prince Charlez   Background Vocals
Alexander Sowinski   Piano,Hand Clapping
Chester Hansen   Synthesizer
Darhyl Camper   Organ,Piano,Drums,fender rhodes
Daniel Caesar   Background Vocals
Louis Kevin Celestin   Percussion,Drums,Synthesizer Bass
David Brown   Background Vocals
Eric Whatley   Bass
Yesseh Furaha-Ali   Alto Saxophone
Frank Rein   Trombone

Technical Credits

Mary J. Blige   Composer,Executive Producer
Michael Frenke   Engineer
John Goodison   Composer
Teddy Riley   Producer
Gavin Taylor   Art Direction
Phil Wainman   Composer
Richard Butler   Composer
Eric Dawkins   Composer
Missy Elliott   Composer
Vincent Berry   Composer
Kanye West   Composer
Jaymz Hardy-Martin   Engineer,Vocal Mixing
Dwayne Nesmith   Composer
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson   String Arrangements,Harp Arrangement
Sergio "Sergical" Tsai   Engineer
Jazmine Sullivan   Composer
William Tyler   Composer
Priscilla Renea   Composer
Tremaine Neverson   Composer
Cainon Lamb   Composer
Davion Farris   Composer,Engineer
Benjamin Wright   Composer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Theron Feemster   Composer,Producer
Charles Hinshaw   Composer
Marshall Bryant   Engineer
Chauncey Hollis   Composer
Alexander Sowinski   Composer
Chester Hansen   Composer
Darhyl Camper   Composer,Producer
Matthew Tavares   Composer,Engineer
Quavious Marshall   Composer
Brandon "B.A.M." Hodge   Composer,Producer
Cameron Graham   Engineer
Cortni Elisa Jordan   Composer
Steven "Q-Beatz" Kubie   Programming
Ashton Simmonds   Composer
David Brown   Composer,Producer
Louis Celestin   Composer
Dave Hoddell   Composer
Spike Hoddell   Composer
Derrick Baker   Composer
Elese Russell   Composer

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