Love & Life

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Love & Life Music Poster Image
Soul Queen covers a range of emotions about life.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Some powerful self-image-boosting material juxtaposed with lyrics like "I'll do what you want if you don't hurt me" (in "Ooh!") make the overall message confusing.


Suggestive sexuality --lots!-- but very little that's explicit.


A "s--t" and "N" word here and there, but not all that often.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's "a fifth by my side" in "Don't Go." Love as an addiction is a whole other story......

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mary's message careens from girlfriend solidarity to racial pride to giving up way too much for love. There's some God stuff in there, too. In a way, the songs cancel each other out. Younger listeners might have a question or two.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byshadow0896 October 13, 2010
i love mary she is so cool.
Teen, 16 years old Written bymc2004 April 9, 2008

What's the story?

Mary J. Blige does herself--and her girlfriends -- proud on this stunning CD. The dramatic beginning -- a moody synthesized instrumental leading into the artist's answering machine greeting--might be over the top, as are the rapped accolades by P. Diddy and Jay-Z. But once Mary herself enters the scene, the production and arrangements are interesting, tasteful, and beautifully executed. Especially notable on LOVE & LIFE is the texture of the background vocals, and the way they complement and enhance Blige's well-delivered leads.

Is it any good?

The songs are interesting throughout the CD, though occasionally cringe-worthy. The socially conscious "Finally Made It (Interlude)" delivers a strong "If I could do it, so can you" message. Then "Ooh!" follows, with "I do what you want if you don't hurt me--I'll cook and clean, I'll make you happy." We could all live without more of this particular message in music. But overall, Mary J. Blige covers a range of emotions about life, love, pride, and prejudice with style and beauty -- and with great backup vocals to match.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about artists singing about their personal lives. Do you like it when singers divulge details of their good and bad times? Do you think personal stories add to a song? In what way?

Music details

  • Artist: Mary J. Blige
  • Release date: August 19, 2003
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Genre: R&B
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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