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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although Mary J. Blige's songs are deeply rooted in personal experience and she doesn't treat emotions or relationships lightly, the lyrics don't get too heavy or explicit. Older tweens and teens (and parents!) will enjoy the positive lyrics about rising above life's hurdles, and embracing individuality, self-esteem, and confidence -- and the fact that any sex talk is subtle and in good taste.
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What's the story?
This album from Mary J. Blige, appropriately titled GROWING PAINS, is an ultra-positive set of tracks dedicated to embracing yourself. These are lyrics from a survivor -- someone who has been through the rough times and come out that much stronger (\"It ain't all roses, it ain't all candy\"). Blige orchestrates this narrative with direct sincerity and some light touches of sass, and seems more concerned with self-love than drama-filled relationships. The lyrics \"I hear you've been running from the woman you could be becoming…I just want to be myself, don't follow me, be yourself...it's okay to show yourself some love\" (\"Work That\") are part of the hip-hop infused anthem for girl power.
Is it any good?
Blige is one of the chief writers on this album and is at her best on the solo tracks where her mature, controlled voice truly shines. She can turn a phrase with a class that most of her contemporaries wouldn't have the vocal presence to pull off. Blige's ultimate message is a powerful one of self-acceptance, which should be especially relevant for tween and teen girls ("Sometimes I get depressed trying to be complete/just understand we are all just a work in progress").
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media portrays women and what Blige is saying about these images. How does advertising contribute to low self-esteem? Is this an issue exclusive to women or are men and boys also affected? Does Blige examine these stereotypes or conform to them?