Mary J. Blige “The London Sessions” Album Review

I couldn’t wait to sign on here and blog about Mary J. Blige’s latest album “The London Sessions”(hence why I am posting this at 9am lol) I have watched various interviews that she has done in the past couple of months leading to her album release and have been slightly intrigued. I was curious to hear the “different direction” she decided to go in this time around after being influenced by the sounds and artists coming out of London but I was skeptical that this album would sound any different from her earlier ones. Mary is always consistent when it comes to making songs about heartache and resiliency but I figured that the album would have a couple of upbeat tracks like she has done in the past with “Family Affair” and “Just Fine” but the rest would be songs about getting through heartbreak, finding strength from within and loving yourself over soulful R&B tracks. After listening to the album however, I was pleasantly surprised. Mary J. Blige took a chance and tried something completely out of the norm for her by working with UK mega producers such as Disclosure and Naughty Boy and having popular UK artists such as Sam Smith and Emeli Sande co-write on tracks. The result is something I like to call “electrosoul”. The majority of the tracks have a electro dance vibe and 808 beats to match but Mary brings something that few artists today can achieve: even on a dance track, she still manages to stand out over the catchy tunes because of her unique voice and candid lyrics. Although the entire album is amazing, here are the tracks that stood out for me:

Track 3- Not Loving You

In the chorus Mary sings, “There’s only so much I can do. If you’re not loving you” It is a very powerful song about someone who can’t seem to pick themselves up from the pain and struggle that life has brought their way. The lyrics are reminiscent of classic Mary hits but this time around, she’s not the one that needs the support but instead is trying to open someone else’s eyes. I love this track because the lyrics are simple but powerful and stir something deep within.

Track 5- Right Now

This song produced by Disclosure is classic Mary with a modern feel. Although Disclosure’s signature sound is heard throughout the song, Mary’s sultry voice gives the track a refreshing twist . “Right Now” is definitely the strongest and most out of the box out of all the singles she’s ever released and bridges her old school flair with today’s heavy drum bass driven tracks. She sings “They don’t see what it used to be from the outside…this can’t be what it used to be from the outside” The only thing I see is this song reaching #1 on the charts :)

Track 6-My Loving

Here is another uptempo track from Mary (I am so not used to saying this in reference to Mary lol) As soon as I heard it, I felt like I was transported back into the 90′s when my friends and I screamed the lyrics to “Show Me Love” at the top of our lungs. Mary shows that she knows how to get down and party like the rest of us. I want her to perform this track live on stage and do the “footwork” dance so I can really get my life!

Track 8-Whole Damn Year

UK singer/songwriter Emeli Sande flexed her writing chops on this track which resulted in a soulful track that appeals to Mary’s core fan base but the melody is a slightly different turn that highlights the pain in her voice. She sings “Winter took most of my heart, spring punched in my stomach, summer came looking for blood and by autumn I was left with nothing” The metaphors expressed her sorrow and despair so eloquently and made me want to take another listen.

Track 12-Worth My Time

Mary ends the album with a ballad that shows us that even though she may have switched her sound up this go around with “The London Sessions”, she is and always will be the queen of hip hop soul. In the chorus she sings “I won’t give up if you make it worth my time” After listening to this track and the rest of this album, I can honestly say that listening to this album was definitely worth my time and I can’t wait to purchase it on iTunes so I can put it on repeat on my iPhone:)

Make sure you purchase the album in stores and online in the U.S on December 2nd, 2014 . If you live in the UK, you can purchase it a week early on November 24th (lucky!) Click on the links below preorder the album on iTunes and/or Amazon:

* iTunes: http://bit.ly/MJLondonSessions

* Amazon: http://bit.ly/MJBLondonSessions

You can stay up to date on all things Mary J. Blige by following her on Twitter, (@maryjblige) Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/maryjblige) and by checking out her official website (http://www.maryjblige.com/london-sessions)

Make sure you let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Always remember to love and live luxuriously!

Disclosure statement: 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.

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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Beyond The Lights Screening and Cocktail Event with Necole Bitchie and Lala

Hey everyone! I am so mad that I wasn’t able to post about my experience on Tuesday but its been a busy week for me! I told myself I would definitely post about it before “Beyond The Lights” was released in theaters tomorrow because I want this post to convince those people who aren’t so sure that they want to see it because it comes off as sappy, over dramatic, or predictable because it’s none of that and one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while!

I was able to go to the screening because I was one of the winners of the “Beyond The Lights” contest that NecoleBitchie.com had. As a result of winning, me plus one guest (my girl Regina) were able to attend a screening of the movie Monday night and have cocktails with blogger Necole Bitchie and tv host/actress/reality star Lala Anthony after the screening.  Before I get to the cocktails/interview part of the night, I have to rant and rave about how amazing this movie is! I saw a preview for it during the BET Awards this year and told myself that I have to see it! I would summarize the movie for you but I suck at summaries so I will post the trailer below and copy and paste what’s written on RottenTomatoes.com (which gave it 4 stars!)

Beyond the Lights is the story of Noni, the music world’s latest superstar. But not all is what it seems, and the pressures of fame have Noni on the edge – until she meets Kaz Nicol, a young cop and aspiring politician who’s been assigned to her detail. Drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz fall fast and hard, despite the protests of those around them who urge them to put their career ambitions ahead of their romance. But it is ultimately Kaz’s love that gives Noni the courage to find her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.

Without giving too much of the storyline away. I loved the connection between Noni and Kaz. It felt like we were outsiders looking in on a real love story and I loved how Kaz was romantic without being over the top or too intense. My favorite parts of the movie were the scenes without dialogue because the background music and their mannerisms spoke louder than words. Many people would write this off as a “chick flick” but I can see guys going to the movies and enjoying themselves because of the story itself. Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw were the perfect actors for their roles and I felt like I was watching a documentary instead of a blockbuster movie because their story seemed so realistic and I feel that Noni’s over sexualized persona at the beginning of the movie can be seen in a few of the hot female celebrities out now (cough Rihanna!) Sidebar: Many celebs and notable people make cameos in this movie and Noni’s “boyfriend” at the beginning of the movie is played by rapper MGK who I have a bit of a crush on lol so I was pleasantly surprised to see him in the film!

After the screening, Regina, my new buddy that I met at the screening named Mildred and myself took a train to the Meatpacking District where we went to STK restaurant and waited for Necole and Lala to arrive and enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres. When the lovely ladies arrived, they sat down and had an intimate conversation about “Beyond The Lights” and Necole also asked Lala questions about fame, family and how she remains grounded and sane. I had the opportunity to ask her about the best piece of advice she gave but I will wait until Necole posts the video of their interview on her site for you to hear Lala’s answer ;)

Overall, I had an amazing night and I am happy that I entered the contest even though I didn’t think I would win. Pessimism has been a running theme in my life lately and having this opportunity showed me that I need to start thinking positively and look at life from a different perspective because you never know what will happen! Thanks to Necole Bitchie of NecoleBitchie.com and Lala for the advanced screening and cocktails night that was much-needed! Check out some pics below and remember to go to the theaters this opening weekend and use the hashtag #beyondthelights so we can spread the word about this stellar movie!

Always remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

Just Hold On . . .

Excuse me while I blow the dust off the keypad of my laptop. I know it’s been awhile, but that thing called ‘life’ tends to be something serious every once in awhile. Life can be a beautiful thing at times. Yet, these past few weeks has been one big challenge that has been a thorn in my side since the day it started. I kept contemplating on whether or not I should post about it, not wanting to seem like a whiner, but I’m slowly realizing that someone else could be going through something remotely close to my issue. So why not blog about it with the hopes that it at least touches one person.

Since starting my senior year at Penn State University, BLUE & WHITE!, I’ve been thinking of nothing but life after graduation. I guess you can say I have been making a game plan as well as creating some sort of legacy to leave behind like Senior Class Vice-President of the Student Government Association as well the President of Confident Natural You, just to name a few. I have my last year of college all planned out with positive vibes being the fuel.

And then comes that big dark cloud of misery that pours down fat raindrops of B.S. and makes things complicated for me. I don’t want to get too much into my life , but just know that life comes with this on going cycle of good and bad days, but SHEESH there are times when breaks are needed! The amount of stress that was thrown at me in just two days was just enough for me to breakdown in tears just to see the brighter things in life. It sucks that things like that needs to happen; crying, I mean. I hate that life has the opportunity to get just that crazy that an emotional breakdown is all that a person can do. I’m not too quick to cry, so facing the reality that this particular moment was indeed the time to bring out the box of tissues and a good shoulder to cry on was a bit hard to come to terms with.

As a result, I feel better — for the most part anyway. I had to tell myself that these bad moments are just reminders that something great is about to happen. I don’t know exactly what this ‘great’ thing is, but confidence in God is all I have. Of course, stress/depression sucks at that current moment, but I’m telling you, God doesn’t give you things that He knows you can’t handle. They’re all just tests. One challenge after the other to give you that appreciation at the end of the road. At some point in my life, I know I’ll be able to look back at my senior year and all these problems will make sense.

For all those who are currently down and out and lost in life, it won’t last for long. Just have confidence in the man upstairs and you’ll be okay. He will never lead you astray if you trust and believe in him. He got you. Just hold on …

- Fenominelly

Random Thoughts Webisode 1

Hey everyone! I have racked my brain all last month trying to figure out how to post more consistently and last week, I finally came up with a great idea: get back to vlogging. Back when  the site was called “The Angielala Experience”, I would do monthly ustreams/Spreecast chats and would record YouTube videos where I would rant about a particular topic. Unfortunately, I felt pressured to think of topics to discuss and lost interest in doing the video part of the site but I realized that there is no pressure when I share events from my life and all the things going on inside my head. I figured that doing a “Random Thoughts” webisode series would be the best way to stay connected with you guys and hearing your opinion would give me ideas on what to talk about in future videos and posts. This first “Random Thoughts” webisode is basically an intro and my current dating life lol…Check out the video below and let me know what you think!

 

 

Love and live luxuriously!