The Breakthrough

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
The Breakthrough Music Poster Image
No-nonsense girlfriend talk from a soul queen.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Really supportive messages for girls who need them.


Some sexual innuendo.


"S--t" appears once or twice.


Crest toothpaste insert in packaging.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is some sexual innuendo and a few uses of "s--t," along with a lot of supportive and empowering messages for young women.

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

What's the story?

On her seventh album, THE BREAKTHROUGH, Mary J. Blige turns in another absolutely stunning performance as Soul Queen of the new millennium. An extraordinary list of cameo performers includes Brook, Jay-Z, Raphael Saadig, and Bono, but it's Mary J. Blige's show all the way -- her charisma and presence outshine her stellar supporters. High points are the \"girlfriend\" songs, especially \"Good Woman Down,\" in which she offers comfort to girls in trouble: \"In my life I've seen it all/Now it's time for me to pass on this knowledge to you/All my sisters/My troubled sisters/This is my gift to you.\" There is also a lot of love stuff: passionate and alternating between messages of giving up everything for love and standing up for oneself no matter how hard that may be.

Is it any good?

Lyrics contain some sexual innuendo and a couple of instances of the "s" word -- but with her usual supportive-big-sister good sense, mixed with a heaping portion of give-it-all-up-for-your-love heartbreak, Blige's message is real, solid, honest, and all too human. The instrumental tracks are exquisitely produced, and the interplay of lead and background vocals lives up to standards set by other albums. Sublimely constructed, this exquisite album expresses real feelings in hard times, yet maintains the spirit to keep going no matter what.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not stars really have the power to help young people deal with trouble in their own lives.

Music details

  • Artist: Mary J. Blige
  • Release date: December 20, 2005
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Genre: R&B
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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