A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
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.